Wim Naessens - 2015 Program Participant
Why did you decide to apply for an international program?
I am interested in living abroad, and after studying language and culture, this was the next step to test if I really am interested enough to actually live in Japan.
Why did you choose World Campus International?
When the program was introduced I was immediately interested because you get the chance to interact with locals I lot. I wanted to get to know the locals personally.
Performing a demonstration of Kendo, which we learned the day before!
What was your favorite part about life in Japan?
You could feel a part of the community.
What made your program experience unique?
The contact with the locals. Everything is organised by locals!
How difficult was it to communicate with locals?
I’ve studied Japanese at a university for a year, so that made it a lot more easy. I probably said weird stuff like “the buying of commodities, I like to do” when I wanted to say “I like shopping,” but overall it went very smoothly.
What surprised you most about Japan?
That the negative clichés seemed wrong every single time. Japanese didn’t seem to distance themselves, they seemed very open. It wasn’t super-expensive, food was actually cheap. On the other hand, the positive ones seemed right: Japanese were very helpful, trains were always on time, etc.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
Maybe I could have been a little more proactive from the beginning. I kinda let everything come to me a little bit.
Do you have any packing tips for students headed to Japan?
Check the weather reports. Japan is very hot and humid in summer, so pack light clothes!
What was your accommodation like?
I stayed with a host family. I had a room for myself but spent most of the time in the common areas. I had everything I needed; they even did laundry for me.
Describe a day in the life of your program.
Get up and shower at your host family home. Have breakfast with them and then go to an activity with the group. For instance, one day we made lunch together with a group of locals, all the host families came and we ate together. In the afternoon we made long and colorful kites together and then flew them towards the evening. Then we'd go home, eat together, maybe play a game or go swimming or something like that.
What is one of your most memorable moments from your time abroad?
I made pancakes with my little host sisters. I felt like part of their family, and that felt great.
What was the hardest part about studying abroad?
I liked that the program was very intense. Nevertheless I sometimes got a little tired out.
This was by design and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it was still a little hard sometimes.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in Japan?
The trip was about discovering, so there wasn’t really anything I would have wanted to know in advance. That would have taken away from the discovery, except perhaps that I should have brought a bigger suitcase.
There’s a little bit of time for sightseeing too.
What do you feel the biggest benefit of studying abroad is?
It changes your view on life. It can give you a new direction and change your perception.
How has studying abroad impacted your future?
I'm planning on moving to Japan for at least a year and am hoping to start a family (there).
Would you recommend World Campus International to other students?
Yes. It’s a great experience and I liked how things were organized!
If you could study abroad again, where would you go?
My interest lies in Eastern Asia. My next stop is definitely Taiwan. Mainland China is also on the list and Korea comes next.