Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kyoto Sangyo University

The Kyoto Sangyo University (京都産業大学) is the university where I am currently studying. It is located in the Kamigamo ward, north of Kyoto city.

It was created in 1965 and evolved a lot since then. At this time, it was made of two departments : Economics and Science. Quickly, other faculties have been added to the two existing ones : Law, Administration, Foreign languages...

Before 1998, the university didn't have any foreign students. However, along with the creation of the Center for International Programs, the university decided to allow students from all over the world to study in the university, according to a special program only for aliens.

Nowadays, the university counts approximately 13 000 students, 320 persons working in the academic staff (teachers, lecturers, assistants...) and 396 persons working in the administrative staff.

Those are the different departments available at the Kyoto Sangyo University as of 2012 :

Undergraduate schools

Faculty of Business Administration
Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering
Faculty of Cultural Studies
Faculty of Economics
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Foreign Languages
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Science

Graduate schools

Division of Economics
Division of Management
Division of Law
Division of Foreign Languages (Master's courses only)
Division of Science
Division of Engineering
Law School

Research institutes

Institute of Japanese Culture
Institute for World Affairs
Institute of Advanced Technology
Centre Institute of Comprehensive Academic Research


Global Japanese Program

The university campus, in its most recent form, is quite huge. More than being simply made of buildings with classrooms and offices for the administration and academic staff, it also hosts many other facilities to make the students' lives more practical. Here are some examples of the things we can find in the university :
  • A huge sports department
  • A hair salon
  • 10 different restaurants
  • 2 combini (convenience stores)
  • A post office
  • A book and multimedia store
  • A library 
  • Computer rooms
  • An astronomical observatory (open only on Saturday nights)

Apart from that, the university also allows and encourages students to create or to join clubs and student circles to be able to live their passions or hobbies with other people. There are actually more than 100 clubs in the university, gathering hundreds of people. Club life is extremely important for Japanese students. The way they are organised and the way they actually work is like a foretaste of how it is to work in a Japanese company : there is a strict sense of hierarchy and respect of the superiors.

Regarding my classes, as an exchange student, as I am taking the Global Japanese Program, my "major" (if we can call it like this) here is the Japanese language. It means I have 4 courses of 1h30 each week about one of those 4 points : Writing and reading skills, Grammar, Speaking and Listening.

Apart from that, I also had to choose at least 3 classes taught in English among the 10 different ones that were proposed to us. I ended up choosing Japanese Technology (sustainable development), Japanese Culture (focused on the History of Kyoto and its heritage), Japanese Economy (from WWII to nowadays) and Japanese Management (its aspects and how it has evolved). Some other courses were pretty interesting to me, but they were in the same time as the others (Politics, Current topics and Sociology).

Because of this, it is a littlebit hard to describe how life is in this university, since I am not "really" living what the Japanese students actually live. But still, in Japanese classes, the teachers do not behave like French teachers at all. To describe briefly what the differences are... Let's say that the teachers want you to succeed. They want you to improve your skills and to get better. This is why they often congratulate you when you do something successfully. However, when you do something wrong or bad, they will never tell it to you. They will either try to make you understand that you have made a mistake, or just don't say anything. I know this is more related to Japanese people's behaviour in general, but since it is also applied in the classroom, I had to talk a bit about it.

Regarding the population of the university, I have to say that it's not what I was expecting before coming. In France, when people talk about Japanese students, most of the time, they think about people who work hard, who are serious... It is absolutely NOT the case. It doesn't mean they are bad students or anything : they are just not the "beast of studies" I've been told about ! The majority of them even look quite lazy. I could write 1000 pages about the behaviour of Japanese people, but let's just say that they are probably not that much serious than French students, but that they are still really competitive because of the whole school system : there is no competition between students and they don't need to have good results to get a job or to graduate : In Japan, (of course, I'm just writing a quick recap) most of the time, when you finish your studies, you are NOT ready to work ! It's your company that will have the task to teach you how to do your job and be part of their company.

Being a foreigner in this sea of Japanese people is really strange... but being FRENCH is even more awkward. Wherever you will go, people will stare at you. Everybody know you, because you are one of the 30~ exchange students. They know your name, your country, your age, and many things about you, because you are "so special". It can be really funny, but also quite disturbing !

Anyway, this was a brief presentation of my university ! I have to say that before coming to Japan, I couldn't imagine that such places existed. It's the paradise for any student in the world ! I really can't imagine I could fail my studies in such a flawless atmosphere and environment !

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