Your Guide to Meiji

Personal Experiences At Meiji

Danino Fabrice

Woo Chulgi

Sophomore, School of Commerce

Woo Chulgi first came to Japan to study the language, and in the process discovered various interests that convinced him to enroll at Meiji University and study toward a future job in international trade. He tells us about his colorful student life.

There are so many accessible eateries here in Japan

Transitioning from Vocational School to Meiji University

I got the idea of studying in Japan from my older sister who works in Japan. She suggested that I come to Japan to study Japanese. After I arrived and studied for one year at a language school, I still found it difficult to communicate well in Japanese, so I enrolled in a vocational school for the hotel industry thinking that I could continue learning Japanese through other schooling, rather than just doing language study. However, the curriculum at the vocational school turned out to be different what I had been expecting, so I faced another quandary.

Right around that time, an employee at the hotel that I was working at as an intern mentioned to me that it was fun to learn at university. That sparked my interest in enrolling for university. After giving it careful thought, I left the vocational school and went back to South Korea to start preparing to pursue studies at a university in Japan.

I chose Meiji University because it is part of the “Global 30” Project and the school accepts many international students. From my studies and experience in the hotel industry, I had developed an interest in how food is distributed, and the fact that Meiji University has a School of Commerce with the opportunity to study distribution and marketing decided it for me.

I was determined to start over in terms of both learning Japanese and about Japan, together with other international students from different countries.

Woo's dormitory room. The building was previously a company dormitory

Woo's dormitory room. The building was previously a company dormitory

Making Many Friends as an International Student

South Korea is not very far from Japan, so we have access to a lot of information about Japan. As a result, when I started living in Japan, I wasn’t surprised by any of the cultural differences or differences in daily life, nor have I run into any problems in daily life. I have made many friends here and sometimes we go out to an izakaya. I love Japanese food. I can even eat natto * and just had it for breakfast this morning.

* Natto is a fermented soybean product with a strong smell that even some Japanese do not like.

However, there is one difference from South Korea that surprised me. I think it also surprises many people who visit Japan, but the people here are very orderly, such as when waiting in line to get on public transportation or lining up to get into a restaurant.

I have never run into language problems. Of course, there are times when I find it difficult to express subtle nuances in Japanese, and at times I’ve felt that I wasn’t able to fully express myself. When that happens, my university classmates and other members of my group seminar are very understanding and they try to read my thoughts.

Although I’m not involved in any extracurricular activities at the university, I am studying English with a study group that we formed with other members of my group seminar. I am also teaching Korean through a language course offered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, on a short-term contract. In addition, I am involved in a non-profit organization that provides microfinancing for people in developing nations, which I learned about through the professor of my group seminar. I am gaining experience that I can only gain as a university student, in addition to what I am learning at school.

Woo Chulgi

Aiming to Work in Japan in International Trade

As a university freshman, my interests leaned toward distribution and marketing work, but as I began to study more at the School of Commerce, I have become attracted to international trade. That is why I am currently in a group seminar for the Global Business Course. Since we will stream into different courses in our junior year, my plan is to advance to the Global Business Course and try to get a job involving international trade here in Japan after graduating.

When I first arrived in Japan, I was impressed at how developed the country was and how everyone seemed so earnest. It also seemed culturally advanced. However, due to the extended recession, Japanese companies today seem to lack the same spark that they previously had. Furthermore, since the Great East Japan Earthquake, I’ve heard my friends and family in South Korea say they are worried about Japan’s future. That is why I hope that Japan can rebuild and change. Japan is like a second home to me, and I believe that it still has a lot of potential. It would be great if I could take what I have learned in Japan, and apply it to help Japan restore its vitality.

Woo Chulgi

Monthly living expenses

Scholarship ¥70,000
Allowance ¥30,000
Total ¥100,000
House rent including utilities ¥8,000
Food expense ¥40,000
Transportation expense ¥10,000
Communications expenses ¥10,000
Savings ¥20,000
The others ¥12,000
Total ¥100,000

Choosing the Right University for You

When deciding to study at a Japanese university, I think it’s important not to choose a university based on name alone. Each university has its own character, so you should thoroughly research the university to find out what it is like. Try to determine if the university will enable you to pursue the studies you are interested in and do the things you want to do.

If I had to pick a color to characterize my own university life, I would choose the color white, because it can become any color and offers unlimited possibilities. Meiji University accepts a broad spectrum of international students and brings a variety of people together. You get to meet many unique and interesting people, which opens up many new possibilities. It is an environment where you can grow and take big steps toward accomplishing what you want to do.

Woo Chulgi

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