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Studying business in an international environment

University of Hyogo Global Business Course
Bayyuz Merdan

Why did you choose to study abroad in Japan? What made you choose Kobe in particular?

I started living in Tokushima Prefecture when I was 4 years old because my father was studying abroad in Japan at the time. I went to a Japanese elementary school until fourth grade and studied together with other Japanese students. My elementary school teachers were very kind, and I made a lot of freinds. I had lots of good memories of my time in Japan as a child.
Afterwards, I spent my middle and high school years in Turkey, but I continued studying Japanese while I was in Turkey, and I kept thinking that I’d like to come back and live in Japan again someday.
I also felt attrached to the richness of higher education in Japan.
I chose a university in Kobe because I knew another Uighur person in Kobe, and he told me about this department.
The Global Busines Course I’m currently studying in is a new course that just started in 2019, in which Japanese and international students study together.
The classes are generally taught in English, and since I can get credits as an economics major, and there are chances to do intensive Japanese study, too, I thought it was perfect for a global job in the future.
I had also visited Kobe during the time I was living in Tokushima, and as the first big city I’d visited, the calmnness and the beauty of the buildings stayed with me, and even though they were memories from my childhood, that may have had some influence, too.

What are you studying at university now?

I’m studying economics and management.
My management class is especially interesting, where we take classes as a team. I have opportunities to present every week, and it’s a great to stretch myself.

What do you like most about life in Kobe/Japan?

I’m living in a dorm now, and one dorm unit is home to both Japanese and international students living together, so we have this sense of international-ness in our daily lives. In my unit, there are students from Japan, Romania, and Thailand living together.

Have you noticed any changes in your character or way of thinking since coming to study abroad in Kobe?

When I was living in Tokushima, I was studying together at the same school with Japanese people, and living with the sense that Japanese was my first language, so I thought I was very much like a Japanese person. But there are actually a number of ways in which I feel international students and Japanese students are different.
For example, things like Japanese students value rules, but non-Japanese students value how they feel in the moment. I feel like I’ve learned more about our cultures, and more deeply about myself, personally, too.
As for Japanese, since I’d continued to study in while in Turkey, I’d already gotten N2 on the JLPT, and I’m currently studying for N1.

How do you spend your days off in Kobe?

I meet up with friends of my father or Japanese acquaintances, or help out my friends with shopping.
The course I’m studying in requires a test to measure English ability, but some international students start to study Japanese after starting school here, so I sometimes help out other friends with Japanese.
I tried a part-time job, too. I also use my language skills volunteering to help other non-Japanese people with Japanese language support. Kobe is a port city home to lots of foreign people, so there are a lot of opportunities like this.
In the city, Sannomiya is one of my favorite places. I like the vibe. I go to hang out there with other international or Japanese students, and we do some very student-y things, like staying in an internet café. We sometimes go bowling or for karaoke, too.
Kobe is convenient for visiting other cities, too, so I go to Osaka two or threes times a month.

How do you plan to use what you’ve studied in Kobe?

My main goal is to use my experience being raised in Japan and Turkey, and the language skills and multicultural sensibilities I’ve gained to be a sort of bridge between Japan, Turkey, and Central Asia.
At university, I’m offered job-hunting support from Hyogo Prefecture, and I have a wide career range to take into consideration, from returning to my home country and acting as a cultural bridge, starting my own business, etc. Kobe is also home to a lot of global companies, so while I’m a student I want to consider all my possibilities.

Please share a message for students from your country who might be thinking of studying abroad!

I recommend studying abroad in Japan, not just because it’s a country with cutting-edge technology, but also from the point of view that it’s a country contributing to peace in the world!