Doshisha University is a beautiful campus located in the heart of Kyoto, directly across the street from the Imperial Palace, though its campus is quite western in style. It was the first private university in Japan to accept women, and is one of the top ranked schools in the Kansai Area.
Well, my first semester at Doshisha University is officially underway! I have a pretty full course load, though it was fuller last week. I’ve decided to drop two review courses in an attempt to give me more free time for exploring and general enjoyment of being in Japan. That being said, I have about ten American units of Japanese, ranging from general study, written expression, debate, oral and reading comprehension. Somehow, I managed to get placed in Doshisha’s Level VI Japanese, which is one level shy of fluent, so I’m pretty surprised. Of course, that doesn’t actually reflect my skill. I have trouble with a lot of the vocab and kanji, mainly because my vocabulary has never been stellar, but at least now I have the chance to improve.
In addition to my general Japanese classes, I am taking an International Accounting Standards class to help with my prerequisite coursework to Simon Fraser University (which is, as expected, terribly boring), and a Japanese Arts and Culture class which focuses on the Cultural Aesthetic of Japan. This is probably my favorite course, as every other week or so, we take a field trip around Kyoto to explore the heritage sites. This class is conducted entirely in Japanese, however, so I only understand about a 1/3 of what the teacher is talking about. Even so, I think I’ll make it through.
The campus itself is very pretty, if a little small, but then again, I’m used to Cal’s sweeping acreage, so maybe my point of reference is a little skewed. It was also founded as a Christian university, so there are several chapels throughout the campus that I would like to visit at some point, though truly the school isn’t too rigid on the religious aspect these days.
Overall, I’m sincerely looking forward to my year in Japan, and will take my studies seriously! I think if I really try, I will be literate in Japanese, at least, by the time I leave.