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Enjoying Study Abroad in Kobe! Part 1.

What exactly is life like on study abroad? Do you picture it being very expensive? Will you have plenty of free time to spend? We asked 30 international student recipients of the Kobe City International Student Scholarship about their experiences.

Why did you choose Kobe as your study abroad destination?

“Before coming to Kobe, I studied Japanese in Okinawa Prefecture for two years. I didn’t know anything about Japan’s big cities, but my going to Okinawa became an opportunity to go to big cities in Japan, and Kobe is my favorite.”
This student reported learning that Kobe was a comfortabel place to live after asking the people of Okinawa about Kobe and hearing that it was originally populated by foreigners.

“Kobe people are friendly, and the cost everyday items is relatively low.”

“Before I started to study abroad, I traveled to a number of places in Japan. Not just to Tokyo, but also to the Kansai area. I made a lot of friends during that trip, and it made me want to live in Kansai. Out of the other cities in the Kansai area, Kobe is a beautiful city with a lively atmosphere, so I decided I would study here.”

What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with after coming to Japan?

Study abroad can be a great experience, as it opens up so many possibilities. You may encounter many challenges while living in Japan, though.

“It’s pretty difficult to explain what I want to Japanese people. Once, when I was shopping I tried to speak to someone who worked there, but at first they didn’t understand me. They finally understood me in the end, but they had to fix my accent with the local Kansai dialect.”

Japanese onomatopoeia (“giongo” and “gitaigo”) can be confusing, too. I understand how international students must feel. Onomatopoeia may make Japanese very easy to understand, but on the other hand, it makes studying Japanese very difficult.

“Everything aside from kanji (Chinese characters) is easy!”
Everyone laughed at this. It seems many international students feel the same way.

Do you have a favorite place in Kobe? Have you traveled outside of Kobe?

No matter where you live, I’m sure you’ve got a favorite spot, whether it’s an energetic night club or a quiet park. Kobe is full of places where students can relax.

“I love hanging out at Rokkosan Pasture. When I touch the sheep, they’re so soft and it feels so nice. It’s a wonderful spot.”

“I love the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens. I’ve already been there twice. It’s close to Sannomiya, so I really recommend going.”

“Meriken Park has Kobe Port Tower, the BE KOBE monument and other pretty spots. It’s my favorite, because it’s a good place to go for people who like taking photos, or people who just want to kick back. You can enter Kobe Port Tower for free with the “Happy Memory Pass,” which international students are eligible for.”
*Learn more about the Happy Memory Pass

“I have my part-time job on Saturday, so I often go to academic conferences in Kyoto or Osaka on Sundays. On my days off, I go on trips in the Kansai area to Himeji, Nara, or Okayama with my friends. All of them are easy to access from Kobe.”

If you study abroad at a university or graduate school in Kobe City, you can apply for the Kobe International Center for Cooperation and Communication’s Kobe City International Student Scholarship through your school. For details, see here.

Continued in part 2