Neon nightlife with Sophia
Initially, I have been contemplating about doing an exchange to Japan and have made the decision not to. During my final year I have decided that I would like to do an exchange as it would be a once in a lifetime experience I will ever be able to come here as a student. I am glad I have come here to fulfil my dreams and enjoy this wonderful adventure in this beautiful country.
I started my exchange with a short holiday to explore the biggest city in the world. I started my journey by going to tourist locations like Asakusa and Meiji Temple during the day to sightsee. Food in Japan is delicious and there is a large range of food everywhere making it a dilemma to decide what you should try next. Finally the best part of Japan is the beautifully lit streets during the night making it a sleepless city. There is just so much to explore!
Dorm at Sophia Soshigaya International House
When I first entered my dorm I was welcomed by my other students known as the Living Group Leader (LGL). They are volunteers to help with managing the dorms, helping students and create fun activities for other students in the dorm to join. It was straightforward and easy to enter the dorms, while they help ensure everything in your room is ready for you. Overall, it was a pleasant experience with the warm welcoming from the LGL and the dorm administrators.
After you have settled in at the dorms you will have an orientation, which will explain some helpful tips and laws to ensure you have a safe and wonderful time. They will also help you go through documentation in Japanese to get an ID card and insurance during your stay in Japan.
From Sophia Soshigaya International House, it will take about one hour to travel to Sophia University with public transports. It is recommended to get the commuter pass as soon as you are given the opportunity to do so. It will not only be saving you a lot of money travelling back and forth, you will be able to go to any station in between with a commuter pass.
University life with Sophia
In my first few days off at my host University, I have been given the opportunity to learn how different the University is compared to Australia. The first thing I noticed was a high pace environment, because classes at Sophia are in periods leaving you time in between to have lunch or prepare for the next classes. After classes are finished many students rush to the cafeteria to get a hold of the cheap lunch available, so try to go to the cafeteria as soon as possible. My overall experience here feels very similar to going to high school in Australia, which is motivating, fast pace and fun.
Cafeteria Food in Sophia University (Curry Rice)
Recommendations before arriving in Japan
Since there are lots of fees in Japanese banks and there are many requirements you have to meet to make a bank account, I recommend you make a Global Currency Account such as Citibank or HSBC. Since there is no fee when withdrawing money from an ATM in Convenience stores. Similar to the banks, sim cards in Japan are extremely difficult to get, so I recommend making a sim card with Sakura Mobile before arriving. Sakura Mobile has plans specifically for long term stay in Japan as a foreigner, which really helped me with my travel and it is extremely easy to apply. Finally, it is always important to stay safe while travelling!
Chi Yiu Jason Lo
Bachelor of Information Technology
Global Exchange Student at Sophia University, Japan
New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant Recipient
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