Cultural Discovery in Japan
My dad is a driver and works seven days a week, so we hardly had time for holidays. The furthest I had been was to Malaysia. It was not until I took the General Studies module “Discover Japan” that I had the chance to go on an exchange programme. I applied for the Financial Assistance Scheme for Overseas Programme (FASOP) and spent a week in Ryukoku University in Kyoto. We stayed at their hostel. I thought it would be spartan but it was surprisingly beautiful and well equipped.
Over there, I saw for myself how serious students are about their lessons. They were also very polite, adding a “san” to my name whenever they addressed me. We had classes every day, learning Japanese business practices, culture and language. I learnt that recycling is a big deal in Japan and everyone separates their trash. People hang on to their trash until they find a bin. When we went to McDonald's, we had to separate our liquids, wrappers, plastic covers and paper cups into separate bins. I think we can learn a lot from them.
That week, Typhoon Jedi disrupted many of our plans. But that gave us a chance to bond with other classes and strengthen our friendship. We still keep in touch with each other.
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