Alumni Voices 01 Job Hunting 19.03.29

Van and everyone
Name: Ta Thi Van
Place of Birth: Vietnam
School and major: Department of International Liberal Arts, East Asian Research

Q1: Why did you decide to study in Japan?

The reason I studied abroad in Japan is that I have a longing for Japanese education. Unlike in my country, in Japan, it is considered essential to nurture one's character before the transfer of knowledge. As a result, I believe that is why the Japanese people — polite, united, and hospitality-minded — are loved by the world. I wanted to receive such an education, and thus, I decided to study in Japan.


Q2: What is the reason for choosing Fukuoka as your study abroad destination?

I chose Fukuoka because my favourite school, the Fukuoka Women's University, is in Fukuoka. Before coming to Fukuoka, I had lived in Kagoshima for two years. People were kind and warm, and I had a very fulfilling time. As Fukuoka is the same Kyushu region, I felt a sense of security when I chose Fukuoka. The cost-of-living is reasonable, and I think it is also just a comfortable place to live. Another attraction of Fukuoka is that there are many international students. Although I share the status of international students with others, our perspectives and feelings toward Japan differ, so I looked forward to meeting other students, exchange ideas, get inspired, and broaden my outlook; Thus, I chose Fukuoka.


Q3. What did you do to prepare for your studying aboard in Japan?

I studied in a Japanese language school for about half a year. And there, I studied JLPT N4 level Japanese. I had to memorize how to read 2000 kanji characters. Also, I asked my seniors about looked up information about the place that I was headed to. I asked my seniors for advice about what type of clothing I should bring as the climate in Japan differs from that of Vietnam. I had also prepared medicine for cold and fever in case I get sick.


Q4. What was the entrance exam like?

To enter any university in Japan, one must pass the Examination for Japanese University Admission. Since this examination is aimed at international students, everything is conducted in Japanese. As a result, one's Japanese level is of utmost importance. For those who wish to study in 'Bunkei' (Arts and Humanities), besides Japanese, there are also integrated subjects (a combination of politics, economics, geography, history) and basic mathematics. I think the math was easier than what I had learned in Vietnam. Since there are multiple subjects within the integrated one, it takes time to master the content. I think it is better to make a plan and stick to studying every day rather than cramming everything right before exams since it is really ineffective.


For those who wish to study in 'Rikei' (Sciences, medicine, etc.) besides Japanese, there is also science courses (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, or Biology)

I recommend to mentally prepare yourself ahead of time and study for the science courses concurrently with your study in Japanese after you arrive in Japan. Rest assured because the content is mostly the same as what is taught in high schools back in Vietnam. Although the requirements for admission exams differ between universities, most require a TOEIC or TOEFL score; therefore, it's a good idea to bump up your test scores ahead of your necessary entrance exams.


Also, since there are also interviews and short essays, it is essential to practice interviews with teachers at a Japanese language school. As the number of foreign students increases, the teachers won't be able to look after all the students, so it is necessary to take the initiative and visit the teacher for guidance.


Q5. What did you find worthwhile about studying in Fukuoka?

My days in Fukuoka have been blessed since I entered the Fukuoka Women's University. I had bonded with friends that I made at the university, and we studied, played, and worked together. Since the campus is compact, the teachers really look after their students.  Also, since I shared rooms with three Japanese students, not only was I able to improve my Japanese ability but I have also gained a better understanding of Japanese culture. I observed how Japanese people behaved around others and came to understand their way of thinking. By living with Japanese people, I feel that I have grown a little by following positive aspects of their practices.


Besides, since there is an international student support center in Fukuoka that assists international students with their daily lives and job-hunting, I was able to adjust quickly to living here with confidence. I widened my circle and met other international students and locals at exchange events organized by the center mentioned above.  Through the encounters, I was able to examine myself at that moment what I could do and what I could not do. I realized the importance of understanding myself before starting my job-hunting process.

Furthermore, since the relationship between Fukuoka and Hanoi and/or Vietnam goes back a long way, many people are interested in Vietnam, which lead me to set up a Vietnamese cafe at the university. Not only was I able to teach the Vietnamese language but also the charms and cultures of Vietnam. I was able to see my country in a new light and have a fulfilling time during uni. I'm so glad that I made the decision to come to Fukuoka.


Q6. How did you overcome challenges?

After coming to Japan and before getting used to life here, I was troubled by my studies and my part-time job. I became quite anxious because I couldn't land a part-time job, I was running into problems within my studies, and I just couldn't comprehend Japanese. At that time, I even thought about giving up. But my seniors and my teachers were there for me, advising me along the way. I believe it is crucial to consult the people around you instead of holding the worries to yourself when you run into problems. While Japanese people feel strongly not to trouble others compared to Vietnamese people, no one can really survive on their own. Therefore, consulting others for advice becomes indispensable. As most of you will be living in Japan for the first time, there will be lots of things that you won't understand, and it's especially during those time that you should open up and consult with the people around you.


Q7. What would you like to say for those who are considering studying aboard in Fukuoka?

I think anyone who lives aboard will have worries about cultural differences and language barrier, but the key here is not to be afraid and keep moving forward. Take on various challenges while you are young because all of those experiences in Japan will help you grow. In Fukuoka, there is the Fukuoka International Student Support Center, which fully supports international students so you can rest assured. And since there are many Vietnamese international students in Fukuoka, and various exchange events taking place, there is no need to hesitate but to join in. I am looking forward to meeting you in Fukuoka.