- Home Institute:
University of Leeds
Why I picked the Summer Session:
I wanted to combine my passion for travelling with enriching my understanding of Japan's economic and business climate in a setting that comprises of an international group of like-minded people; as well as being in the heart of the most populous metropolis in the world. My decision to choose Waseda University was also based on the classes on offer, as well as the high level of academic staff for my chosen classes.
Classes I chose:
I opted for business 1 and economics 1. I chose the former to gain an understanding of the Japanese style management that has been the underpinning factor of Japan's economic success and a source of real intrigue for foreign countries. This particular class superseded my expectations, building on my current knowledge, as well as explaining the simplicities that the Western world has perceived Japanese principles of management. The topics included cross-cultural management and how foreign companies’ best engage with the Japanese. We also went to the Japanese stock exchange, which was very insightful, gaining an understanding of how the stock markets work in Japan and relating this to the unique structure of Japanese corporations.
As for the economics 1 module, I was also extremely pleased as the class looked at aspects that I have never considered before such as the instrumental role of the transportation system in Tokyo and the future of robotics. The topics covered contemporary issues such as the current demographic crisis, which has implications for the country’s labour market as well as discussing the current situation facing Tsukiji market I would like to also note how I liked the assessment style for both classes, a lot of it was team-based assignments or presentations as well as field reports.
Japanese language class:
I have studied Japanese before but I found the language too difficult. However, the Waseda Summer Session Japanese language class made the language enjoyable and I found the level 1 course interesting, engaging and I was especially impressed with the quality of the teaching of who were all very patient and enthusiastic.
The course has been structured in such a way that allows enough time for taking trips on the weekends. I made the most of this opportunity, visiting Kamakura, Yokohama and Kawagoe all of which are accessible from central Tokyo and are a worthwhile day trip. The course also included a trip to Nikko which was a great experience, staying in a Japanese style Ryokan and eating a Japanese style dinner. The trip was a great opportunity to meet and socialise with different people whilst immersing in the Japanese culture. The trip included visiting the Toshogu shrine as well as Edo wonderland.
Initially I thought staying in one of the bed towns of Tokyo (Ekoda) was going to be tough, especially as my first morning ride to Waseda was on the Yamanote line at 8am (an interesting experience to say the least). Thankfully I found the bus that went directly to Waseda that has free Wi-Fi and was cheaper and it was a 45 minute journey that allowed me to complete my Japanese homework so the disastrous trip from the beginning turned into something of a saviour. Ekoda itself was a nice place to stay, especially as there was a large group of us from the summer program staying at “FlexStay Inn” and so we were able to explore the area and we used Ekoda as a base to meet up and then go and explore the rest of the city, going to Shibuya, Shinjuku and Rippongi to name a few. I also found many good running routes around the area.
I was fortunate to be part of a course that has people from all over the world and has been one of the most beneficial outcomes of the course, meeting new people and creating relationships with international people of whom I intend of visiting in the near future.