Your Guide to Meiji

Personal Experiences At Meiji

Danino Fabrice

Jongsutjarittam Pornwisa

Second-year student, Graduate School of Information and Communication

Growing up in Thailand, Jongsutjarittam Pornwisa developed a certain familiarity with Japan. Now as an international student in Japan, she is helping other people who are interested in studying here. Jongsutjarittam talked to us about her student life at Meiji University.

Educational materials in International Exchange Lounge

"I often go to Shibuya to shop for my favorite brands"

Enjoying Japan and Pursuing My Interests

My mother was a teacher at a Japanese language school in Thailand, so I had a number of opportunities to visit Japan since I was young. With every visit, I became more familiar with the country and I am a big fan of Japanese food and anime. I wanted to study in Japan if given the opportunity, and when I graduated from high school in Thailand, I received a scholarship that I applied to enroll at a university in Nagoya.

After graduating from the university, I wanted to go on to graduate studies to pursue a wide range of research relating to information society. Since it is a fast-changing field, I wanted to get back into school as soon as I could. I chose Meiji University because it provides an environment where I can pursue research on information and communications, which is my area of interest, and because it is located in Japan's most advanced city, Tokyo.

In graduate school, I am majoring in media studies, pursuing research on smartphone and Internet specifications. I enjoy the classes because I am studying subjects that I like.

Jongsutjarittam Pornwisa

Some Mix-Ups at First

Even though I had been to Japan a number of times before, living here is quite different from visiting. When I first came to Japan as an international student, I couldn’t speak very much Japanese and I had trouble communicating with the people around me. Japanese has keigo (honorific language), which is difficult to use. There is no keigo in Thai or English, and I still get tripped up sometimes.

Thailand and Japan are also different in terms of the culture and customs. For example, most Thai tend to be open and unreserved with other people and they drop formal greetings, whereas Japanese use proper greetings at all times. Thailand also has a “ladies first” attitude, whereas that is not always the case in Japan.

Crammed trains were also a new experience when I got to Japan. In Thailand, trains only exist in central parts of the country, and I didn’t have many chances to ride trains back home, and only for short trips if at all. The trains in Japan are very convenient for getting everywhere, but I was surprised by the crush during rush hours.

Pornwisa's room with some of her favorite things

Pornwisa's room with some of her favorite things

Enjoying Life in Japan

Although I had my share of mix-ups at when I first got to Japan, I gradually got used to it and am now enjoying my daily life in Japan.

The food in Japan is great and I love sushi. For breakfast, I have onigiri (rice ball) and yogurt. I eat lunch at the school cafeteria and for dinner, I either eat out or cook a meal.

I like shopping in the fashion districts of Shibuya and Harajuku.

I also like to travel, and if I have an extended period of time off, I sometimes take trips abroad. In Japan, I’ve been to Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Shizuoka, and Yamanashi as a tourist. I can’t choose a favorite place that I’ve visited, because they were all attractive.

This year is my sixth year in Japan, including my first four years here as an undergraduate student. Maybe it’s because I go home to Thailand during summer break, but I’ve never once felt homesick.

Jongsutjarittam Pornwisa

Helping People Who Want to Study in Japan through Social Networking Service

Thai people generally have a positive image of Japan, and many Thai visit Japan as tourists. They all want to visit Japan, and when I tell them that I am studying in Japan, they tend to admire what I am doing and wish they could do the same. Naturally, there is a lot of interest in studying in Japan, and on my social media page I get questions about it from friends and acquaintances as well as people I’ve never met before.

When someone says they are interested in studying in Japan, I first ask them the following questions:

Jongsutjarittam Pornwisa

Monthly living expenses

Scholarship ¥50,000
Part-time salary ¥100,000
Total ¥150,000
House rent ¥65,000
Utilities ¥3,000
Communications expenses ¥7,000
Food expense ¥20,000
Social expenses ¥15,000
Savings ¥30,000
The others ¥10,000
Total ¥150,000

Have you ever learned Japanese?
What do you want to study?
Which university are you interested in?
Are you eligible for any scholarships?

I try to find out about the person’s current situation and provide as much advice as I can, in recommending whether they should study in Japan.

My Turn to Assist Other International Students

There are many talented students at Meiji University, and every time I attend a class I get a lot of motivation from my classmates. In the Graduate School of Information and Communication, we have international students from many countries including China and elsewhere. I really enjoy hearing different things from them and interacting with people from different cultures. It is a living opportunity to interact and learn from others through day-to-day contact. I have really gotten a lot from studying in Japan, and that is why I can give positive advice about studying in Japan through social media.

I currently have a part-time job at a Japanese language school, where I look after Thai students. After finishing graduate school, my plan is to join the staff at that school, so I can provide whatever advice the students need, no matter how minor—from moving and finding a place to rent, to getting admitted to school, arranging entrance exams, or gathering information. I want to assist international students who are in need of help and lack Japanese language skills.

It would be great if I could leverage my own experience from when I first came to Japan, to in turn help other international students.

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