Study abroad is the dream of many students at Setsunan University. On December 6th, ten students returning from their study abroad at the University of Calgary shared the stories of their school lives overseas. It was exciting to hear these stories because they were the first group to do a long program in Canada since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Those considering studying abroad in the future could get a lot of valuable advice from the presentations such as how to handle money and how to respond to sickness while overseas.
The students also shared their homestay experiences. Each student had homestay families that were very different from each other. However, they all agreed that staying with a host family enabled them to come across adventures and events that they would not have had in the classroom. For example, one student mentioned the importance of dinnertime communication with the host family, which really helped improve her speaking skills. When staying with a host family, students are a part of the family, not guests, so it was interesting to hear about the chores and responsibilities that students had from being a part of their host families. Of course, there were also fun activities such as picnics, camping, shopping, movies, and day trips.
The students shared their experiences on campus as well. The program the students joined consisted of a short spring language and culture course, a full spring semester, and an intensive summer program. For those who were interested, there was also an optional TOEIC course that could be added. Students mentioned that there were many opportunities to participate in group work and that speaking was a main feature of classes. Outside of class time, students often went to the library to study with classmates or went to the gym to relax or work out. They expressed that they enjoyed the University of Calgary because it is close to the city center and there is a lot of nature in the city of Calgary. Although, the students did say that it gets very cold in the winter.
Calgary also offered the students rich cultural experiences. Students seemed particularly impressed with the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo that also includes fair rides and food and fireworks. The chance to experience cowboy culture was truly something that they could not get in Japan.
All in all, the students expressed that studying at the University of Calgary was a valuable experience because everything they did there made them stronger and more independent. So, if you are a student at Setsunan University, why not study abroad? It will be an experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.
（Todd Hooper 講師）