Students' Voices

In our Students' Voices series, we interview international students at Kwansei Gakuin University, providing them with a platform to speak openly about their experiences at KGU in their own words.


Oriol Navarro Guimera, Pompeu Fabra University (Spain)

I really like Kansai-ben. I had always studied standard Japanese, and when I came here I found out that there was this amazing dialect. Another thing that impressed me was, "Eehhh?" The sounds that Japanese people make when they're surprised are really different from in Spain.

Eloise Matthias, University of Queensland (Australia)

I have a Creative Writing class in Japanese that I would really recommend for people who want to apply the Japanese grammar and vocabulary that they know. It's a great way to move out of your comfort zone and use your creativity.

Lei Huang, Sichuan University (China)

In addition to my specialized Japanese classes, I'm taking regular classes with Japanese students, like Psychology. After class, I go to the training center or the pool to exercise, which is fun.

Yi-Hsuan Lee, Tunghai University (Taiwan)

There are a lot of classes that I wouldn't have been able to take at my home university without majoring in the subject. If you're interested in taking classes that aren't in your field, you can choose them and have fun.

Meng-Wei Lu, Fu Jen Catholic University (Taiwan)

I heard that KGU had a buddy system - the Nihongo Partner program. I did work as a buddy when I was in Taiwan, and I felt that for exchange students, it's necessary to get assistance from local students. There is such a system in place here, and that's why I chose KGU.

Andiline Pranasari, Satya Wacana Christian University (Indonesia)

There are really open-minded students here, so you can learn not only about the image of traditional Japan, but also about liberal and modern Japanese perspectives.

Muhammad Zaki Aulia, Padjadjaran University (Indonesia)

My first month here, I only studied. But after one month, I got used to Japanese, and now I have more activities than ever before. Bit by bit, your life at KGU gets happier and happier every day.

Wilhelm Kvalnes, Norwegian University of Science (Norway)

My student exchange coordinator told me to check out these four universities, and as soon as I saw KGU, I fell in love with it. I've met so many people here, and we're all just the same. We want to explore this beautiful country.

David Szabo, San Francisco State University (USA/Hungary)

I've learned an immense amount while I've been here at Kwansei Gakuin, not only in my classes, but from my friends. What they taught me here, I can give to my students as a philosophy teacher.

Bryan Pereyra, Texas A&M University (USA)

I want to work for a game developer in Japan, so I wanted to study and practice my polite Japanese and technical terms.

Jacob Gioffre, San Francisco State University (USA)

Some practical advice I'd give someone about coming to KGU is definitely to apply for scholarships. KGU has multiple scholarships that they offer, so take a look at them, and make sure to learn some Japanese before you come.

Benjamin Rozek, Dublin City University (Poland)

I think over here, students are a lot more diligent. Also, we have a lot of exchange students from different cultures, who have more serious attitudes about studying. I think we motivate each other to try different things, like exploring and exercising.

Marleen Bracht, Ruhr University Bochum (Germany)

I think I prefer the way that student life is in Asia, compared to the way it is in Germany. Here there are a lot of activities, and you enjoy staying on campus for longer. You sit on the green and meet up with your friends, and you see a lot of people, so you are able to meet a lot of people easily.

Lukas Schwartz, University of Dusseldorf (Germany)

Definitely make Japanese friends. Don’t be afraid. Most of my friends are shy, but if you just speak Japanese, even if you fail or make mistakes, it’s no problem. You will get better so fast, maybe within a few weeks. It’s more useful.

Wenjun Lu, Fudan University (China)

Here in the exchange program, people are at different levels in the classes, and we all have discussions together and learn about each other’s cultures. Compared to my home country, I can relax a bit more.

Jorge Eduardo Nieto, University of Nebraska at Omaha (Colombia)

Be outside as much as you can and travel as much as you can. Talk to as many people as you can. Here I find myself somewhere different every day, because whenever someone asks me to do something I say “Sure, let’s do it.” I’m trying to live as much as I can here.

David Michael Hudson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA)

I don’t know if it was my coming to Japan, my reading class or a mix of both, but now I take my kanji more seriously. It’s gone from something that was onerous to more enjoyable. Part of it was cultivating an interest in Japanese reading material, like light novels, that I’d like to read.

Lea Roberts, San Francisco State University (USA)

I’m so glad I went with the host family option. I really wanted to have a kind of landline with things I didn’t understand at school, or things that I needed help with. The family I was paired with is just amazing. I could have never have asked for a better connection.

Sarah Carmona, San Francisco State University (USA)

In order to actually use my Japanese I had to participate in lots of different events like festivals and concerts, so I think it definitely improved my public speaking skills, because that made me go out of my comfort zone. When I go back, I think I can do that with ease.

Steven Mayes, Mt. Allison University (Canada)

My Japanese has gotten so much better, I learned more in these four weeks of schooling than I did in one year back home. When I first got here I didn’t really understand what the professor was explaining, but now I'm learning in Japanese. I actually don’t know if the professor speaks English or not.

Jose Bodden, KGU Institute of Business and Accounting (Dominican Republic)

There are lots of exchange students, so you can meet people from all over the world. You can learn about different cultures and ways of thinking, and I feel that by taking those lessons in, you can grow as a person.


Nandalita Rezti, Padjadjaran University (Indonesia)

Almost all TV anime programs in Indonesia come from Japan, and many anime characters speak a Kansai dialect. Since I wanted to learn a Kansai dialect, I decided to study at KG, which is close to Osaka and Kobe.

Tracy Bian, Mount Allison University (China)

When I was in Canada, I worked as a volunteer to support KGU students at MTA. I came because I wanted to see my friends again and learn more about Japanese culture.

Bo-Young Pak, Hanyang University (South Korea)

I always chat a lot with my friends and I’m interested in the Kansai dialect and unique abbreviations that are only used in Japan.

Sandra Dunska, University of Latvia (Latvia)

I’d like to further improve my Japanese and join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia to take charge of East Asian affairs in the future.

Julius Segguja, KGU School of International Studies (Uganda)

I want to use my knowledge and skills that I’ve acquired in Japan to help children in Uganda and other African countries achieve their dreams. After graduation, I will join a major Japanese mini-vehicle maker, so I want to absorb as much knowledge and skills as I can.

Taru Tolvannen, KGU School of Business Administration (Finland)

I want to help reconstruct northeastern Japan and also want to do volunteer work in Southeast Asia. I hope that volunteer activities will help me learn more about the areas I will work for and discover something new.