Management, Communication & IT student, Laura Schlatter, spent the winter semester 2020/21 at our partner university in Nagoya, Japan. She completed the courses in the 1st half of the semester online from Tyrol and spent the 2nd half on site. In an interview she tells us about this unique experience!
Laura, why did you choose Nagoya University of Commerce and Business (NUCB)?
I wanted to do a semester abroad in Japan because I was always interested in the culture of the country. I was glad that the MCiT department has a partner university in Japan. When I took a closer look at NUCB, it was clear that I wanted to spend my semester abroad there. The university has a great offer of many different courses and is a well-known university in Japan with a good international environment.
Where do you see the biggest differences between your partner university and MCI?
This is definitely in the teaching method. NUCB lecturers use the so-called case method. Students are given a case study for each lecture, which they have to read and work through. Afterwards, the case is discussed in the lecture, which is why in most courses at NUCB ‘participation’ is the biggest part of the final grade. I was especially happy about this teaching method during the time of my online study, because I was constantly asked to pay attention and think along.
What is it like to spend a semester abroad during COVID-19?
At the beginning, it was very nerve-wracking because the entry requirements to Japan are very strict. In Japan, each university can decide for itself whether to have face-to-face or online classes. Even though NUCB decided to go for the online classes, there were some cultural events for exchange students. The events took place on campus, following the recommended hygiene measures.
There was no real lockdown in Japan. In general, at the time I was there, the infection numbers were low, everything was open and you didn't really notice anything about the pandemic. You are only supposed to wear a mask as soon as you leave the house, which everyone sticks to. Wearing a mask scared me a lot at first, but I quickly got used to it and soon I didn't even notice it anymore.
What excited you the most?
Definitely the Japanese people and their way of communicating. In general they are very polite and respectful. The fact that you're not allowed to have phone calls or loud conversations on a train shows how respectful they are. Japanese are also very helpful. Even if very few of them speak English, they always try to assist you.
Another thing that really excited me was the NUCB campus. It is incredibly large. It takes about half an hour to walk from one end of the campus to the other. Moreover, the buildings are all very beautiful, from the glass building by the small lake to the huge entrance gate, the campus is really breathtaking.
Thank you Laura for the exciting insights into your semester abroad in Japan!