Studying in Japan/Japanese
東京国際大学留学生 Studying Japanese: MyStory 日本で学ぶ・日本を学ぶ vol.7
Name: Low Jiong Hong（ロウ・ジョンホン）
“My dream for the future is to set up my own business in both Japan and Singapore.”
Currently Studying at: Tokyo International University, English Track Program, School of Economics/Third-year Student
- Park View Primary School, Loyang Secondary School
- Kaplan Higher Education Academy, Asia Bunka Kaikan (Language School)
Q. What is your life like at Tokyo International University?
I think my university life here may be similar to any student living inTokyo. When I have classes I normally take the train to school, and after class I hang out with my friends. We sometimes go to karaoke, play card games, or go to the computer room to do assignments together. In TIU there is an open space, a huge area with private rooms that we can book called the English PLAZA, where students and teachers can relaxand chat in English. There is also a Japanese PLAZA where Japanese language teachers are always there to answer our questions. I usually goto these plazas just to have a casual chat, ask questions, or make new friends.
In Japanese universities, there are many clubs and “circles” with different kinds of activities, as well as events and festivals that are primarily organized by student committees. Through these activities, students not only further enjoy their university life, but also learn to demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills while deepening their friendships. I am currently in the photography club, and having a great time going on day-trips or sometimes even overnight trips with my fellow club members.It’s a great chance to explore different places in and outside of Tokyo, and take pictures of a variety of things from beautiful scenery to local events.
Q. Why did you decide to study in Japan, and, more specifically, at TIU?
I was interested in Japan since I was young, having grown up watching Japanese Anime. I also loved Japanese pop songs, but of course I could not understand the lyrics or sing them with the correct pronunciation at that time. Then, I actually visited Japan with my parents when I was 13 years old and found its culture unique and intriguing. I had a dream that someday I would understand Anime without subtitles and be able to explore Japan freely without a language barrier. As I grew older, my interest in Japan also grew, speciffically in the way of Japanesebusiness culture. It seemed so different from other countries, and that really drew me in.
I chose to study at Tokyo International University because it offers courses in English. I currently major in Business Economics in the English Track BA Program, and I take Japanese language courses included in the program at the same time. Many of the courses in Business Economics cover Japanese business history and culture, which really makes the courses feel relevant and interesting. The Japanese classes in TIU are also excellent in the sense that the teachers are experienced and the classes are conducted in a very warm and welcoming environment.
Q. When you came to Japan, what was your initial impression of the country and the university?
At first, I was under the impression that Japanese people were not so fond of foreigners, but after a while I realized this was a misconception. From the outside, the Japanese culture values humbleness and politeness which can make people from different cultures feel unwelcomed at times, and the people may seem hard to approach. However, once I understood the culture and opened myself up to them, they instantly became very friendly, kind, and welcoming. I found most Japanese students quite mature compared to students in Singapore. They are mature in the way they dress and present themselves to other people. Furthermore,they seem to take things quite seriously – for example, the way they take leadership roles in club activities.
Q. What is your plan after graduating from TIU?
After graduating from TIU, I would like to work in Japan at first. Perhaps in a Japanese multinational company, to gain as much hands-onexperience as possible with doing business in Japan, and further improve my business-level Japanese language skills, so I can communicate with clients and partners more freely. After acquiring these skills, my dream for the future is to set up my own business in both Japan and Singapore. Through my business, I hope to contribute to a stronger relationship between the two countries and the two cultures, with a better understanding of one another.
Q. Do you have a message you would like to share with students studying Japanese in Singapore, or students who are considering studying at a university in Japan?
If studying in Japan is your dream or a goal, do not hesitate – you never know what awaits you! At first your dream may seem unattainable, or the challenge may seem insurmountable, but the first step is always the hardest. Go for it anyway, and you will immediately feel you are half-way through already.
Don’t worry about your level of Japanese ability too much. I have friends that attend Japanese classes while taking their core major courses, and they are really enjoying it. It is an advantage that they get to use what they’ve learned in the real world right away. The application process ofJapanese universities may seem daunting, but applying for the E-Track Program is quite simple and available online. Once you are here, the school offers help finding an apartment and settling down too. It has been a fun, fulfilling, and thankfully smooth journey from the start, and I’m definitely looking forward to what’s in store for my remaining years at TIU.