1) Why did you choose to Japan for your semester abroad?
I really wanted to experience a country that’s totally different from Estonia and one I hadn’t visited yet. That excluded Europe and Japan also stood out because I had thought of going there beforehand. I must admit, watching “The Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift” as a child sparked my interest as well.
2) Many fear that a semester abroad will extend the normal study period. Did you manage to transfer all your credits and subjects?
Usually, if you spend a semester abroad, it’s still possible to graduate in nominal time. You might just have to take an additional subject. If you spend two semesters abroad, you’ll probably have to study for an additional semester. I managed to complete 24 ects out of 30 and even took an extra subject since it seemed too interesting to miss out on.
3) What are your tips on how to stick to your budget while studying abroad?
You should do some research or ask a friend/another exchange student how big the expenses usually are. I had read online that Japan is a very expensive country so I was prepared to spend quite a bit and some more, so I could live comfortably. I was surprised to discover that several things were much cheaper compared to Estonia and I managed to spend less than I had planned.
4) Tell us three things that differ from EBS.
1)In order to pass, you have to score at least 60% on the exam, no matter what your other results are. Also, they say that at least someone ”must” fail the subject (though it mainly applies to the local students)
2)The range of subjects is wide. The most unique and interesting course I took was „Precarious Japan“ (it doesn’t really sound that great), which focused on contemporary society issues in Japan e.g. the lack of social life amongst the youth, the aging population and the nuclear energy.
3)They sold ice cream with fries in the university cafeteria. It’s quite good actually.
5) Do you plan on going back to Japan?
I definitely plan to, but not in the near future because I’d like to explore some other country which is a lot easier now thanks to the many international contacts I got there. I’m probably going to travel to Istanbul next to visit a fellow exchange student with whom I studied with in Japan.
6) It takes a lot of courage and independence to go and study abroad. What would you say to those who are doubtful about going?
There’s nothing to be afraid of, because you’ll either discover a new environment where you fit in much better or you’ll start appreciating Estonia more. The issue is rather that whether you want to come back. As they say in Estonia, it takes time to take off but then it’s difficult to stop.
Translated by Triin Tikk
Edited by Kärt Mättikas