said: Hi! :D I've been following your blog for a while so I was thinking you could help me... I'm 21 and I'm going to apply for a scholarship to study in Nagoya University, so I've been reading some articles about life in Japan, which have made me realize studying abroad is not as easy and pretty as I though it was. So please, based on your experiences, how difficult do you think life is for a foreign woman living alone in Japan? I'll be VERY grateful for your help <3
Hi, I sent the last question :3 I forgot to add something— my japanese is at a basic level D: Even though the postgraduate course is completely in english, the language barrier would make daily life more difficult isn’t it?
Generally speaking, life can be pretty difficult but whether or not it has an effect on how much you enjoy
life here depends entirely on the person! Experiences vary greatly; there are some people who came here with basic language skills last semester who had fun at times but mostly couldn’t wait to go home, and there were others who absolutely loved everything about Japan and living in Japan and didn’t want to leave even though they could barely understand a word of Japanese. Even with people who know their way around the language and culture, there are those who feel totally at ease here and others, like me, who don’t and never will feel comfortable or at home. Those of us who don’t feel at home tend to be a minority, though.
I guess it’s a difficult question to answer, since I don’t personally know you, and even if I did, you can’t always tell how well someone is going to cope with the change of cultures and the language barrier. Someone might be an incredibly resilient, adaptable person who adores Japan and is near fluent in the language, but that doesn’t
necessarily mean that they’ll breeze through their time here and love every second of it.
Personally, I find the language barrier one of the easiest
things to deal with - it’s the little differences like costs of items, lack of availability of certain things, being treated differently because you’re non-Japanese, different teaching styles at uni etc. that can be the hardest to cope with. Language can
be an issue, but there are ways around it, like making friends who know a little more Japanese, or getting creative with other means of communication like gesturing. Most people who are at a basic level can still get around fine, because they know most of the really important stuff (like how to order food or ask for directions), and even if you can’t speak
well, after a while living here your listening and understanding skills will improve a lot
Anywho, it’s just important to remember that studying abroad anywhere is almost never
easy. Even in places where the language and culture are basically the same, people still get culture shock and they still get homesick. You’ll be living thousands of miles from your home and friends and family, so of course it has it’s moments when it’s hard! You’re entitled to find it difficult.
, just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean that it won’t be enjoyable or rewarding. Even though I have days where I feel awful and want to go home, I’ve also had plenty of days where I’ve experienced things that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and I’ve done a lot of things that I’ve dreamed of doing since I started studying Japanese. Has it been difficult? Hell
yes. I’ve had some really
shitty days and hit some all time emotional lows while being here. But, when you put everything in perspective, when I go home it’ll all have been totally
I hope that’s useful, I’m sorry I can’t be of more help. ^^;