We Are Here!: The School of Japan Studies from Abroad

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, students were not able to start the 2020 spring quarter together in one place. Because of this, TUFS switched to remote learning, and began online classes from April 20. Both returning students and those new to TUFS have since been participating in said online classes. This includes the School of Japan Studies, which is only in its second year of operation. For this time’s TUFS Today, we want to introduce you to the new international students who have started their SJS studies from both abroad and in Japan.

[MESSAGE] New SJS students

The following messages have arrived from 9 new students of the School of Japan Studies who started the new quarter from either overseas, or here in Japan.

Chantelle Bamba

Mabuhay! Greetings from the Philippines. My name is Chantelle Bamba, I’ve recently begun my studies as a first-year student in TUFS. The current situation, however, did not allow me to attend classes firsthand in the university. As of now, we have online classes which are a bit tough because of the varying time zones and internet connection. Regardless, the lessons are lively and very interesting. Once the global condition recedes and as I come to Japan, I would be more than glad to meet new people, my classmates I’ve only met online and have a tour around the city.

“Vigan”, a famous Philippine tourist spot that showcases old Spanish buildings and road.

Veronica XINYU GU

“Talkative” (話しやすい) is one of the most common words used by people, to describe who I am. Before I came to Japan, I’ve lived in China, Australia, the United States, Spain and also some time in Indonesia for my volunteer work, most of the time on my own. Given that, communicating has taken a great part of my life. To me it contains much more than the action “talk”, it is the way I get information, make friends, explore the diversity and inclusion of this world.

I am supposed to introduce my hometown. The pictures I chose were shot at a place called Shangri-La, in Yunnan, China. I lived there for about two months as a volunteer, mostly teaching and running around. It’s really a great place worth trying out.
I know, taking classes online is not easy for anyone. I had all kinds of issues coming out in the last three weeks, mostly internet connection and the time differences. At first, I even got a little bit dizzy after staying up all night. But with all the help and understanding I received from my teachers and friends, nothing seems unbeatable now. I have the faith that all of us will eventually overcome this corona issue.

If you have any issues or things you want to talk about, please don’t hesitate, I am willing to meet anyone as always.

Shangri-La, Yunnan, China

Madeline Luke

Hello everyone!
My name is Madeline Luke, and I’m a first year in the School of Japan Studies. I am 20 years old and came from Michigan, in the United States of America. I love Japan and Japanese culture, and am very excited to be studying at TUFS and making lots of new friends!
I’ve already arrived in Japan, and have been living in the dorms for about a month now. However, due to the virus, I have not been able to go outside campus much at all. Once things settle down, I am looking forward to sightseeing around Tokyo, and visiting the Japanese country as well.
So far, classes have been conducted through Zoom, an online platform in which teachers are able to teach directly to the students via computer camera. Although this is not ideal, I have still been able to enjoy their classes and understand the material they teach. For me, the network connection has also been acceptable. However, I am looking forward to being able to learn in a classroom and experience the normal TUFS student lifestyle. I hope in the future if there are students who wish to take classes online, there can be a bit more of a sense of being in a classroom.

Matheus Motta

Hi, I’m Matheus Motta, a Brazilian freshman of the School of Japan Studies. I’m a resident of Rio de Janeiro, a city with a difference of 12 hours from Tokyo. Because of this time difference, I had to reschedule myself in order to attend all the classes in time. The experience of having online classes in general is not really comfortable for me and the big time difference added to this pandemic situation made it even harder at first. However, I believe I’m starting to get to the grips with it. When I chose to study at TUFS, living in Japan and interacting with people from different backgrounds were a major factor, so I am looking forward to travelling to Tokyo and meeting everyone in person.

Oshani de Seram

Hello, My name is Oshani de Seram but I like being called Oshi, which is my nickname. I am 20 years old and from Sri Lanka. I am a 1st year student at TUFS majoring in School of Japan Studies.
I was really looking forward to arrive in Japan last April but unfortunately due to the current Covid19 situation I couldn’t arrive on time. So, for now I am currently in my home country, Sri Lanka. But once I happen to come to Japan, I wish to meet up with my Sri Lankan friend who is a 2nd year TUFS student living in Japan. I also want to taste Japanese food and try O-Sake. The most interesting thing I want to do when I arrive in Japan is to physically attend classes at university, to meet my friends and to get to know all the senseis who teach us.
At the moment we attend classes online on Zoom and it’s so much fun than I had expected it to be. But at the same time I sometimes feel tired as I have to wake up so early in the morning.
Every weekday I get up around 3:40 in the morning to attend my Intensive 100 level Japanese class which is held during the 1st two periods of the week.
The time difference between Sri Lanka and Japan is 3hours and 30minutes. So, for me classes start at 5am from our time and the last period ends at 2pm for me.
More than waking up in the morning , what really stresses me out is , the network connection which keeps reconnecting or disconnecting during lessons.
Despite the problems, I am really excited and happy to receive classes from the university.
I really can’t wait to come to university, to meet everyone and to experience Japan. I hope to see everyone soon. Thank you so much.

‘Galle Fort’

Pakeenee Xu

Hello! This is Nenee from Thailand. Currently, I’m enrolling in School of Japan Studies as a freshman. Unfortunately, I can’t go to the campus as the situation. So I’m studying through Zoom online class. There were some issues at the beginning. For instance, as the time difference, I must get up at 5:30 a.m. every morning. Sometime, my network even got disconnected. But at the end of the day, special thanks to TUFS staffs and professors, I can study comfortably and really enjoy all my classes.
After arrived in Japan, I really want to meet all friends and seniors in TUFS. I also want to explore around Tokyo!

Lumphini Park, Bangkok

Rina Sakai

Hello, my name is Rina Sakai and I’m a first-year student in the School of Japan Studies. I am coming from the United States, California, and am extremely thrilled to be attending TUFS. I am currently still residing at my home in California with a 16-hour time difference. In an attempt to get over this obstacle, I’ve managed to adjust my internal clock to Tokyo time and attend the online classes regularly. (I wake up at 3 pm and sleep at 8 am) Upon my arrival in Japan, I’m hoping to tour around the campus as soon as possible and meet my friends that I’ve created online. Looking forward to the day I can meet all of you!

Santa Barbara, California

A student from Singapore

I am a first-year student in the School of Japan Studies. I arrived in Japan before the state of emergency was declared, so I am currently taking online classes while residing in the TUFS dorms. Though taking classes online is new for everyone, both teachers and students are doing their best to ensure that classes can proceed as smoothly as possible. I’m looking forwards to meeting my classmates and teachers on-campus when the stay-at-home period is over!

Uriel

Hello!! My name is Uriel. People usually call me as “Yuri,” and I also prefer Yuri much better than Uriel! I spent my childhood mostly at my grandmother’s house, California. My grandma’s mother tongue was Spanish, so I learned English, Korean, and Spanish at the same time. However, I would not say that I am trilingual. (Rather, I am much closer to a semilingual!) Currently, I live in sunny Jeju since I was a middle school student. I SERIOUSLY LOVE THE ONLINE CLASS! Frankly speaking, I am truly a homebody, so the online class is certainly perfect for me. My goal after the quarantine was to make international friends. However, I realized that it is unquestionably possible to be friends regardless of what kind of class I take. No one would deny that the random assigning system of zoom offers us more various chances to meet “new” friends. I highly believe that choosing the online class was the best choice for both everyone’s safety and individual development. I hope from the bottom my heart that everyone can be safe!

Jeju Island

[MESSAGE] Ms. Ishida, supporting coordinator from TUFS

Early March, they must have started to pack themselves with excitement. But by mid-March, the situation turned for the worse. Within days, the visa issuance was stopped, travel restrictions were imposed, and the flights were canceled. However, TUFS was quick in its countermeasures. Four weeks have already passed since the classes started online. Students still face many problems, adjusting to the time difference, and the network shutting down from time to time. Those who were able to travel to Japan are asked to stay home, unable to meet their classmates. But with their continuous effort, they are quick in adapting to this situation. They are the pioneer of this new learning and sure know how to communicate remotely. While I am eagerly waiting for their arrival, I am wondering, how shall I greet them when I first “meet” them here on campus. But for the time being, See you all soon!!

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