Since I passed all my subjects and I’m preparing for my exchange in Japan next year, I think it would be nice to make a series of post on how I’m preparing for the In Country Study (ICS). It would be useful for my future kouhais should they be doing the same thing as me. Keep in mind that the procedure for going on exchange may be different depending on your university. So, I’m going to write out the information for people who are from the University of Technology, Sydney and are doing Bachelor of Arts in International Studies along with another degree ! (Business for me, and learning Japanese)
In your 3rd year, you will continue studying Japanese as well as any other subjects in the other degree. There are briefing meetings that you should attend as they will assist you in your preparation for ICS. The first meeting is the most important, which occurs around March. This is when you have to submit a photocopy of your passport that does not expire until 6 months after completing the exchange year. Additionally, you will also be given a list of universities that you can go to. Below is the map of Japan with the universities UTS partners with. (there are loads of universities you can choose from !!)
This is where things get interesting/weird. You have to choose three universities that you have the least interest in going to, and provide legitimate reasons. This is probably because UTS wants to be able to transfer students to as many partner universities as they can. You can state which university you want to go, but keep in mind that you may not get it.
You may have to switch universities either because you want to or because of something that is beyond your control. Upon submitting my preferences, I initially got placed in Kansai Gaidai University. My senpais did go to Kansai Gaidai for their ICS, so I thought “Hmm, I should go there”. But my coordinator emailed me and said that I should change university, because at the time, Kansai Gaidai announced that all students from their secondary campus (the campus that most ICS students go to) will be transferred to the main campus, effectively next year. Another reason why is because at the end of my 3rd year, I’ll be completing Japanese 10 (Transcultural Communication in Japanese), which is the highest Japanese class UTS offers, and my coordinator thinks that I would be communicating in English most of the time during my exchange as they will be a lot of international students should I continue to be in Kansai Gaidai.
I let the coordinator to decide where I’ll be, simply because I have not gone to Japan and it doesn’t matter where I’ll be placed in, I JUST WANT TO BE IN JAPAN. So the decision was made, and I got put into University of Yamanashi. I’ve heard great things about this university, from its strong relationship with UTS, to having one of its alumni win a Nobel Prize for 2015. It’s much closer to Mt Fuji and I can go to Tokyo on the weekends. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this change in preferences.
In terms of allocating students, you may be going to the university with another student. I know a few people who are going along with another UTS student, but in my case and most of my friends, we’ll be going alone. I was nervous at first, but I quickly made friends with people who are from the university I’ll be going to. (HORRAY FOR CONNECTIONS!)
Basically, have a look at what each university offers through their website or ask people who have gone for ICS about their experience. And remember that you may not get the first preference so always have a few other universities to consider.
Once you’re settled with the allocation, you should be ready for the next step. More on it in the next post !