If you have any concerns as an Internation Student in Japan, Go to your School Office
When I first arrived in Japan half a year ago, I knew nothing about this country, nor did I speak its language. As you can imagine, although I was excited about exploring new cultures and starting my campus life here in Tokyo, I still felt very insecure. Who should I turn to when I need help? Who should I talk to when I get confused in confronting Japanese culture? Unfortunately, soon after I arrived in Japan, I realized that most Japanese people don’t use English, which means you could only end up with a failed conversation when you ask for help.
However, I quickly found a right place that is devoted to supporting students like me at anytime. Well, this place is your school office. Usually in Japanese universities, every department has its own office, which handles the application, the entrance registration, the course arrangement, the scholarship application and other daily management. What’s more, remember your school office is much more than an administrative agency, and it’s definitely not a ‘bureaucracy’.
I was welcomed by an office staff on the first day in school. To my surprise, she speaks perfect English and so does everyone else in the office. Without language barrier, we talked a lot in a free atmosphere. Our topics ranged from school facilities and school circles, to Japanese language and Japanese culture. Before this conversation, I never knew I could talk so much with faculty members, who was once labeled as merely administrators in my mind. Apart from this causal meeting, our school office also held an official welcome party to all the new students. In the party we introduced ourselves and enjoyed food and drinks, and most importantly, we gradually got familiar with this department and started to fit in.
Now looking back at my first few days in the graduate school, I don’t see a confused and timid figure, but a student ready to learn. And that’s exactly what my school office have brought about. It greeted us with warm welcome and patient guidance, paid sincere attention to our questions and tried its best to answer them. After the entrance period, my school office continually offer help to new students. Every time I go there, I can always notice students with problems and staffs with patience and kindness.
Well, after hearing my story, I believe you may have a new image about Japanese school offices: they are responsible and caring, and they never push you away.
So, if your have problems in your school life, please don’t feel bothered and stressful. I recommend you to go through that door and be ready to hear: Good day, how can I help?
(Photo1: The Day of School Opening Ceremony)
(Photo2: The Welcome Party)