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So... this is awkward...

but I've been granted approval by the faculty to defer my ICS to 2013.

Of course, the problem is not "What am I going to do with my LJ name?!", it's "HOW AM I GOING TO FIT MY MAJOR INTO ONE YEAR?!"

Because, UTS being UTS, it's not actually possible; and the reasons for my deferral will be completely debunked. I have seven subjects left;

                    21036 --->
21510 -->  21512 --->    HRM capstone.
                    21037 --->
                    21440 --->

21407 [can be completed whenever]

I had planned all my subjects two years ago but they discontinued other subjects this year; at that point, I was fairly sure that I'd done the only prerequisite to all of these subjects, and the HRM Capstone didn't exist at that time. Moreover, the HRM faculty doesn't offer summer school subjects and there's not even a point in me overloading; I need three semesters to finish this and I only have the two next year before I go overseas. Fuck my life, I'm so fucking pissed about this right now.

The point of my deferral was firstly to save more money and second to make sure that I would be able to finish my capstone subject before I went cavorting about Japan. But this really, really, really royally fucks things up. If only, if only ... won't get me anywhere now. But seriously, I don't even get why they need requisite subjects for this major, it's all over the place. Ahh... too pissed off to study or think properly right now. And I'm kicking myself for not having checked the requisites properly for the capstone subject earlier. I don't even know if I could have managed this semester with four subjects...

So I want to break things now.




A bit of information about Kaizel (most likely against her will, but anyhow) ^^
Degree: IT and International Studies
Level of Japanese pre-ICS: Level 4
University: Hakodate
Arrival date: 26th April 2011

The one thing I seem to get out of conversations with Kaizel-sempai currently is dormitory dramas (which will not be disclosed here) and language class dramas. "Study more!" seems to be the one thing she emphasises (sometimes with colourful language) and kind of gives credence to stories that, unless you attend a foreign studies university, normal universities in Japan do not cater for intermediate levels for 日本語を勉強している留学生. You're either clueless or fluent; there's nothing in between, so buckle up. There's always time to work on your photographic memory ...  Of course, not only that, listening skills are important in getting your point across in the first place. I actually watched a movie where an exchange student from Bhutan (or so they said) used a mini voice recorder to get a better grasp of what was going on around him, and learn more practical things and casual words. 

There's a little log book in the dorm for 'missing things' -- she has yet to elaborate on this, but I imagine perhaps misplaced things, like (warning: Kathy goggles) "I've lost my favourite pair of socks in the washing lol. plz help."

She's recently had a dorm meeting, where people suggest how to make dorm life more comfortable for everyone, raise complaints and everyone's allocated super specific duties. For example, "if the sinks and things are getting dirty, you know who's not doing their work". Ouch. XD 

Hakodate girls' dorm has three floors, but according to Kaizel-sempai, everything interesting is on the first (ground) floor -- kitchen, bathroom and a barely used common room (how sad). The dorm itself is situated about a 30 min walk away from the campus, so she's invested roughly AUD$100 to buy herself a good bike. ^^ 

"I'm so glad I didn't bring a lot of stuff with me because clothes are cheap as" T.T I wish it were the same in Sydney.  

Settling in purchases:
Rice cooker
Futon covers/slip?
Coat stand
Clothes rack
Garbage bin
Extra blanket
------------------ [plus food and the like, roughly $400]
"60 dollars on a phone + 90 on a fridge + 100 for a bike + 200 on groceries" [Current expenditures... XD]

A note on the bike: Seriously the snow here is so bad. Ice is everywhere apparently and you can't even ride your bike unless you have special tyres. If you can get your bike ASAP, then that is really good because the walk to uni is a bitchhh.

The phone cost $60, and she's able to keep it, but she has to buy $30 prepaid cards -- it's apparently the 'ryuugakusei phone' because they all have it. Very cute. XD I almost considered changing the display pic for that. Screw it, I will. XD 

Well, isn't this awkward?

The more and more I think about it, I feel like the best decision at this point would be for me to defer my ICS trip until 2013. As much as I love my current cohort, there are a lot of issues being raised by the people around me -- the least of which are my parents, who present concerns (constantly) about the state of Japan in light of the earthquakes, tsunami and radiation hazards. Which are valid concerns, I guess, from an outsider point of view.




Amidst obligatory textbook pimping emails (seriously why do these people NEVER LEARN! I'VE DONE THOSE SUBJECTS YOU'RE A THIRD YEAR STUDENT NOW!), we received an email from the ever present and somewhat mysterious Lilly Bian.

Dear Student,

This is to advise you that your first briefing meeting about your In-Country Study year will be held in the following months. Please see below for time and location for your major.

This is the first of the three meetings you are going to have this year. These meetings is a compulsory part of the ICS program so please come.  At these meetings you will receive vital information that will help you in your preparation for your In-Country Study year. Travel Officer will start working on fight tickets booking soon, so please bring a photocopy of the details page of your current Australian passport to the first briefing.

If you have any questions or are unable to attend please contact your ICS Major Coordinator as soon as possible.

Japan Major

Date: Friday 18 March
Time: 2pm to 5pm
Room Location:

Wait. FIGHT TICKETS?! I'm there. XDD You can tell I'm totally mature.

I'll see you all there, kids. :D 

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Source: LJ FAQ #318 

For a second there...

Tentatively your ICS cite for 2012 is Hokkaido University of Education.
We are still negotiating some universities and may have more cites by 2012.
When new cites comes up, we will let you know.
Please do not hesitate to talk with me if you have any questions.

ICS Preference List

1. Yamanashi
2. Hokkaido University of Education - Hakodate
3. Gifu
4. Niigata
5. Kyushu University

Hmm... honestly, I'm not too fussed about where I end up. I'm not too sure where my friends are going (but I'm fairly sure Sapporo is a favourite with a lot of people.) Nishogakusha was so close to being on this list, primarly because of the study of Chinese Classics (come on, Romance of the Three Kingdoms) but ... rent was quite expensive. So, you know, I ended up choosing Niigata because of the Fuji Rock Festival and Kyushu because it's in Fukuoka.

Information Request

Have a sticky question you can't really find any information on? First check out the tags; they might help you find your topic; for example, if you want to find out how much it will cost you to stay at a dormitory in Yamanashi, head to 'accommodation' or 'Yamanashi'. However, if you cannot find anything... you've come to the right place. Hopefully.

Please fill in the following form with all of the relevant information and I'll annoy a sempai or five until I find an answer. :D If you know any answers, feel free to offer your opinion. If you have a useful idea you'd like to share, please head to the useful information post.

<b>Topic:</b> eg: General/Culture/School Life/ICS/Accommodation etc

Useful Hints and Tips

I've been to a few information days and met a few former exchange students -- and they're a somewhat hilarious source of information, so here's a list of some things that I thought were useful. If you have something you'd like to add on, please leave a comment. :)

International Student Identity Card -- Transport and entrance to museums, galleries etc.
OS-Help -- a loan from the government that's added onto your HECS/HELP debt.
Youth Allowance -- If you qualify, you can receive youth allowance for each semester. [Source
Scholarships -- UTS has a few scholarships and grants available; some are region-specific while others can be faculty specific.
Alien Registration Card/Gaijin Card -- this usually takes about 2 weeks to process! Ask for an interim certificate in the meantime, so you can get all of your affairs set up in the first few weeks.
Residence Card -- this will be in place from July 2012 onwards [Immigration Bueau of Japan] [Article: Japan InfoSwap Blog]


Bring a powerboard if you're bringing a few electronic goods from home. Ths way, you only need to buy one travel adapter, as opposed to buying a separate one for everything you bring.
Bring your own clothes! Some body shapes are hard to shop for in Japan
Bring your own toiletries; things like deodorant and feminine hygiene products


Memorise your address as quickly as you can -- this will make filling in legal forms easier in the first month or so
In terms of finding a part time job, there's the gaijin pot website (but that tends to be quite competitive); networking tends to be very helpful in finding work.

Yamanashi University

International Students Centre and Office of International Exchange Site -- Japanese

There's a really good guidebook available for download (the first .pdf file on the left hand side of the page) 「留学生の手引き」
It outlines the program, semester times and housing, all sorts of useful things. Since I'm strapped for time, I might come back to this later (and all of the others, to fill in more information). The point is...

Rent: 5900円 per month plus monthly gas bills (1500-2000円 ), quarterly water bills (1500-7000円 ) These are from a student who did ICS in 2003.
Communal kitchen, shared by the floor (12 people) but you do have your own (very small!) bathroom.


Welcome to Kathy Lieu's In-Country Study Blog, a compilation of personal stories, experiences, and hopefully helpful hints about studying on exchange in Japan.

This blog is anonymous-friendly, and Facebook-friendly, so feel free to comment!


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