College Life in Japan

College life is different depending on where in the world your university is located. That being said, college life in Japan comes with its own set of rules, expectations, and trends. While each
different Japanese university has its own atmosphere, here is a little bit of insight into the lives of Japanese college students.

The academic year in Japan starts in April and has two semesters. Your typical undergraduate student will take four years to get their degree, modeled after the American system. However, the stress that many of these Japanese students experienced in high school tend to not be as severe in
undergraduate school. In many universities, there are very few tests per semester, taking the stress of the students. The hard part is getting into a university, but once you’re in, GPA doesn’t
matter in the long-run of getting a future job, all you have to do is graduate. For this reason, many students take easy classes. For many of these students, undergraduate school is their first real opportunity for freedom away from home.

For many students in Japanese universities, this is the first time where they can freely date, party, and have fun without the judgment of their parents. In fact, they usually spend more time
partying than studying. Additionally, instead of studying, many Japanese students focus on their interests – whether it be martial arts, engineering projects, music, or art. While this may seem concerning, it is actually a great way for these students to discover their passions and develop
real-world skills rather than the ability to ace a test.

In Japanese universities, there are two categories of extracurricular activities known as “sakuru” and “bu.” “Sakuru” refers to social groups such as friend groups. “Bu” refers to teams that focus on everyone having fun in their activity, such as a tennis team that also goes out to bars together. In many ways university life in Japan is a way for students to discover themselves and learn to be independent.

By Kayley Hill

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