Why did you choose this program?
I browsed the internet. Since there were a lot of schools, I couldn't choose the right one for myself for a long time. I got my eye on Meiji Academy since it was the closest to Busan (South Korea).
I was worried about my choice since usually all language schools in Asia are oriented to Chinese/Korean students. But after I arrived, I changed my mind. The teachers were friendly and responsible, the whole program was easy to understand. The majority of teachers could even speak English fluently.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I’m Russian, and it was mandatory for me to make a travel visa to Japan. They sent me official documents through EMS without a delay, so I applied for my visa with no problems.
On the first day, we had a small tour around Tenjin Station (Fukuoka downtown) with Meiji Academy's staff. They showed us shrine, different kinds of shops and currency exchange counter.
Meiji Academy provided us with weekly news about different events nearby/inside Fukuoka (strawberry picking, festivals, language exchange meetings and etc.) Once in two weeks, they have small parties inside an academy (for example Nabe party, Takoyaki party, Chocolate fondue party for a Valentine day and etc.)
Since I didn't want to disturb the staff, the only thing that I organized by myself was going to a hospital. Thanks to that, I got a great experience talking with doctors in Japanese Hospitals.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Buy an adapter for all your electronic gadgets, since in Japan the power plugs and sockets are of type A and B. I'm sure you don't want to explore Japan with your dead phone. A smartphone in Japan is your best "friend" and navigator.
Get a SIM card with a PHONE NUMBER. I know that everyone in Japan is using LINE (app for online communications/online text messenger). But sometimes you really need a phone number for reservations (especially during weekends) and emergency cases.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Meiji Academy has morning or afternoon classes during weekdays (3-4 hours every day). After classes, I was spending my time with friends outside (restaurants for yakiniku (grilled meat) party, shisha bars, arcades, izakayas) or visiting bars or language exchange meetings to apply knowledge in practice.
Sometimes we were taking small trips to other cities nearby.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
Since I didn't know anyone there, my biggest fear was not to find friends. Right now I feel like I was really lucky to see how everyone in the academy was kind and helpful. I met people from England, the US, France, Italy, Spain, Czechia, and Germany, talked to Japanese people, spent my best winter vacation with all of them. In addition to it, improved my English. :)
What’s your overall thought about Fukuoka?
To be honest, I didn’t have big expectations for Fukuoka since it is small and not popular in comparison with other major cities in Japan. But again, I was wrong. Fukuoka (and Kyushu in general) is a pure gem.
Meiji Academy gave me an opportunity to experience life and culture in Japan not from a tourist perspective but as a temporary resident of this city. That is why these 7 weeks of my life are precious for me.
I’ll definitely come back again!