Alumni Spotlight: Francisco Farias


Why did you choose this program?

I wanted to enroll in a Japanese program in the most student-friendly city in Japan, and stumbled upon the various course options Meiji Academy offers. Seeing previous students' reviews convinced me that Meiji truly helps their learners get inmersed in the culture and become a part of Fukuoka. In the end, I chose the course that better suited my learning needs and still left me with enough time to do other activities.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I reached out to Meiji Academy myself, my university took no part whatsoever, but the staff members at Meiji were able to clarify all of my doubts (and I had a lot!) along the process. Proper guidance was provided regarding accomodation, transportation, pricing, payment, visa-related questions, etc. At no point did I feel lost.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would advise future students to take their time to really think about the type of accomodation they want for their stay in Fukuoka.

Take into consideration the lenght of your stay and whether you enjoy being with people all the time, or rather having time for yourself. Remember that you can choose more than one type of accomodation for your stay.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

On weekdays, you will have a set class schedule, which will usually stay the same for a period of time. You will get to Meiji Academy and see the lively staff members and teachers, as well as your classmates and friends, and once class is over you will most likely make plans with them to stroll around the city, go watch a movie, go shopping, try new restaurants, or even go on mini trips to nearby places! Meiji also plans weekly events for their students held within the school, which surely are worth attending.

Once the weekend arrives, you will undoubtedly have big plans with all of your new friends, Fukuoka is the perfect city to do a variety of activities, and it allows for you to visit other not-so-far places!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

One of my biggest insecurities was the thought that maybe I wasn't ready to live so far away from my family, but little did I know that I was going to feel at home within the first day. I eventually became close with most of my housemates, and it was clear that it was not only me who was away from their family for the first time, so it became an adventure to start figuring things out by ourselves and collectively putting into practice our Japanese knowledge. It's clear to say that this experience made me a more autonomous and independent human being.

What's something you really miss?

Enrolling in this program allowed me to become friends with people that not only had similar interests as me, but that also were going through the struggle of learning Japanese. Something I really miss is being able have fun with friends talking about things related to life in Japan and how we had made terrible mistakes when speaking Japanese and interacting with native speakers.