End of the first Semester

Hi guys,

Sorry I haven’t been posting anything at all here lately 😅 Been somewhat busy/lazy at the same time so, sorry ah.

I’ll promise to write a bit more during the summer holidays or when I want to hehe. It’s been a really hectic week for me here, so I thought of cooling off a bit by writing some stuff here.

Okay, so it’s been about 4 months since I’ve came to Japan (Kure National College of Technology) and I guess I can say that things are going well. So far I’ve gotten used to living in this huge personal dormitory (which comes with a personal fridge and a shareable kitchen) along with my new found Mongolian friend and my Malaysian senior. In terms of living in an international block all to ourselves, I feel that I’m given the opportunity to learn different cultures and to learn to tolerate at the same time. Not only that, I get the benefit to try out Mongolian dishes which I can never get to taste back in Malaysia! When I first moved in, my Malaysian seniors really helped me out in terms of feeling okay, bringing me out for weekend outings, and giving me advice whenever I need it. I owe them one.

In terms of studies, I was struggling a bit to catch up with everyone else in the beginning (as they’ve been studying certain subjects for 2 years) but I can say that it’s getting a bit better now, with the help of my teachers. Since I’m majoring in Mechanical Engineering, it’s challenging for me to learn all the technical terms in Japanese and too, write my practical reports in the language. ((though I have an exception to write out certain reports in English for my special classes – dedicated to international students only))

In the first semester, we have practical work 「実習」once a week, and it’s where we learn to make programs for machines, learn about engines, make casts for flowing 800 degrees hot aluminum, make personalized screws, you get the idea. It’s one of the classes I ((kinda)) look forward to every week because you get the hands-on feel you don’t get in normal high schools, (btw I’m still considered as a high school student here despite my age hahah – sorry old hag coming through) as one of the pros of attending a technical school.

We get mechanical drawing classes as well 「製図」for the first semester, and that’s where we’re divided into 4 big groups in the class, (drill press「ボール盤」, lathe「旋盤」, milling cutter「フライス盤」, prize game (a.k.a. those UFO catchers you see in entertainment centers)「プライズゲーム」then to other smaller groups to do our drawings of our respective chosen machines. I had totally no idea of this mechanical drawing subject, what more to say working with the Japanese 2-D autocad software (JWW) when I first came, so I had to start from ground zero, when all my other classmates had attended 2 years of classes regarding this subject. Now to recall, I really had problems with it at first and I always felt like I was a bit ignored because I was literally annoying everyone else with my never-ending-questions on how to work the software. After a while, I gave up on troubling others and tried to learn everything on YouTube, which helped me out in a way (despite all the tutorials being in Japanese). Well after about a month of struggling with that class, I finally gotten used to it and managed to help out with some drawings to contribute to my drill press group. Just a few days ago, we just finished our group drawing so, 「お疲れ」(Otsukare- a Japanese term said to congratulate you/your peers on your/their hard work) to us! I’m still amazed by how they’re able to think of designing a machine from scratch though, I couldn’t even do stuff like these when I was eighteen!! (It kinda sucks how there’s a age gap between them though, because I spent that time with my other 76 friends back in Malaysia to study the language and also prepare ourselves to come here to study) Hats off to them 😊👏🏻

We have other specialized subjects 「専門科目」like Metallurgy  「金属材料」and Material strength「材力」which I find interesting at times. Well I guess it’s all part of the challenge of studying abroad, throwing yourself into a whole new environment, pushing your mental strength to a new level and just accepting things as you go.

As for my social life here, I can say that the language and culture barrier has been one of the biggest challenges yet. Up till today, never have I completed a day without misinterpreting /misunderstanding what I hear from people or vice versa, which sucks in a way, because I am constantly having that feeling of ‘not good enough’ for my Japanese level. I can say that my speaking level really boosted up when I first came, but I can feel that it’s still not enough for me to fully understand 100% of the conversations I hear everyday. People here are generally shy, I guess, especially when your class consists of only 4 girls (inclusive of myself) out of the total 41 students in the class. I can get into conversations with some of my classmates now, which is a good thing but I think its mostly happening because I’ve been putting an effort to foster a relationship with them. Well, I can say that it’s either they’re shy to approach new people (if I think of it in a ”perasan” way), or they just don’t bother to do so as they’ve already formed their own cliques (being in the same class for 2 years).  On the bright side, I’m lucky to have a few friends who are willing to make the first move to talk to me as well, so I guess it’s not that bad when I think of it. It’s just that when I’m away from home, and away from the good company of friends and family I used to have everyday, I tend to crave that sort of Malaysian friendly spirit we all have, and actually expect my friends here to be like the ones back at home, which is like waiting for durians to grow out from the ground. I do still feel lonely at times though, because the extrovert in me just can’t stand not being loud enough as I used to be. Nevertheless, I’d like to take it positively and hope for a better second semester ahead!! 🙂

A few highlights of my life here since I came:

Introducing… the Hiroshima Castle!!

Went for a tour of Akitakata City under the city’s sponsorship, and met new friends there!

Gave a brief introduction on Malaysia to a few of my friends here in Japan during the International Exchange Party! My Mongolian friend- Maral, too, had the chance to introduce her country to everyone

Travelled to Osaka with my Malaysian friends studying here in Japan during the Golden Week holiday

Got to meet the Malaysian community in Hiroshima on the second week after coming here

My Malaysian seniors- Hidayah and Afif!

If you’re pursuing the same preparation course or planning to study abroad, just be reminded that it’s not going to be a bed of roses, but it’s going to be worth the experience! There are definitely pros and cons of studying abroad or locally, so I hope this post will more or less give you an insight of my experience here so far 🙂 


2 thoughts on “End of the first Semester

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