• Undergraduate Students, Mai Masuda Gylseth from Norway

    College of International Studies, Undergraduate

    Voices of International Students

    Kyoto during the winter holidays

    Currently I am majoring in International Studies and I am in my third year. Being Japanese-Norwegian, but having been raised in Norway most of my life, I wanted to live in Japan for my undergraduate degree in order to understand more about my motherland and improve my Japanese language skills. The reason why I chose Tsukuba University is because my degree is offered in English here. Now, having completed more than half my time here in Tsukuba, I have experiences more than I expected when I applied two and a half years ago. As the classes offered are quite varied I have been able to explore many fields within International Studies, such as cultural studies, economics and politics. I have also taken classes in other fields of study such as sports and the arts. I have also decided to focus my graduation thesis in the field of business anthropology, which I am becoming increasingly interested in. I have made many friends here, both Japanese and foreign.

    In addition to school, I participate in club activities, dance and volunteering, and also do part time work. It is very common for students in Japan to do this, and there are many activities offered. Part-time jobs are also not so difficult to find, especially if you speak a little Japanese. Personally, I do not find it so difficult to balance both academics, extracurricular, work and social life, but it is of course up to every individual to decide how one would like to spend one’s university life.

    As I have been speaking Japanese at home in Norway since I was a child, moving to Japan was not such a challenge for me compared to some other students. However, I have learned much more about the very special characteristics of the Japanese society and the unique culture during my time here. Living in Tsukuba one is able to experience both the local life at the country side, but also the hectic Tokyo metropolis. Japan is also a great place to travel as a student with it’s rich nature and cultural heritage. I have had the chance to travel quite a bit during the holidays and long weekends I have off school and I can assure you that there are endless things to see, do and also eat.

    At a shrine in Kamakura

    Autumn leaves at a park in Tsukuba

    Wearing a yukata in Kamakura during summer

    Koi fish at a pond near university

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