Wednesday, April 17, 2013

School life: Busy, busy, busy!!

I'm so pooped, we've been to classes and registering for different courses! Sooo much to do,

I could write a bit about how this stuff works, I know some people are going to go to Waseda from next semester who probably would want some info, hehe.

1. Orientations, orientations, orientations..
    You will receive the when-and-wheres for the first orientations before you even leave for Japan, and it's really nice to know that they have stuff sorted out from the beginning. Pro-tip: When in the area/campus, ALWAYS have a map in your bag or pocket. You will get lost.  There is no system where the different buildings are, and why they are placed where they are. So yeah, just bring a map until you feel really familiar with the place:)
At the orientations you will get info about the dormitories, the academic programs and of course what to do if an earthquake occurs. Always with the earthquakes, the Japanese.. And with good reason! I've already had 2-3 minor (and I mean minor) earthquakes, so it's comforting knowing what to do if a bigger one hits.

2. Class Orientation Week
    This bit is pretty nice, actually. The first week of classes are pure orientations and placement tests, there to guide you to what kind of classes you feel you should be taking :) The ones I went to seemed 90% okay, that the teachers seem really nice and forgiving (lol).
The classes I'm taking are (among others)
- Keigo Communication
- Japanese sentence patterns in communication
- Learn Japanese through blogging (YES, BLOGGING.)

These three are what seem to be my favorite classes based on the teachers' level of awesomeness. I can't wait to start the blogging course, I will link the blog here later to show you how bad my Japanese is, LOL. I think the norm on that class is actually using Blogspot, but the teacher said I also could use Ameba :) Yay!

3. Regristration
    Now, this is the part where I kinda fucked up. lol. Later.
The program I'm on is called the Japanese Language Program, or JLP for short. I've found out later that it's easier to say I'm a BEKKA student, most people haven't heard of JLP, which makes no sense. Oh well. The Japanese Language Program contains several subjects for you to choose from, with one "main" course with 5 credits. Most other classes are 1 credit. The credit amount you have to have by the end of your stay is 26, according to Waseda University. But, according to UiB, I have to have 30 credit by the end of my stay. This means, I have to take classes outside the JLP program, so-called "open courses". This can be anything between heaven and hell offered by the university, and this is where you have to be careful.
How do you register?
Online, of course. The registration is in three parts, where you can add and drop any courses as you go to the different class orientations.
Thomas and I were registering for classes together one night, and for the one 2-credit open course we had to take we just picked random, because we could just drop it in the second or third registration.
Oh boy we were wrong.. It turns out, you can't drop courses that aren't offered by Waseda University itself, because the class thomas and I signed up for doesn't really belong to Waseda University. So now you are probably guessing what kind of class we signed up to, or?

Fucking English tutorials.
Yep, I now have to take English classes that are meant for Japanese students who want to learn English.
And no, I can't drop it. Thomas and I have tried, again and again, almost begging the school administration to let us drop the subject, but noooo. Can't be done, under ANY circumstance. Sometimes I reeeaally dislike the japanese and their love for following rules. Too damn strict.

Moral point of the story: If/when you register courses at Waseda, BE 100% SURE of what classes you're taking! :P

Other than that, I also managed to actually register to an English course I wanted to take! And it's not an english language tutorial class, lol. It's actually a class about Anime and Manga! I know I know, weeaboo etc. But even though I don't really watch that many animes or read a lot of manga, I still want to learn more about the culture, how it's popular and have a bit more discussion around the topic instead of just reading and watching. I think it'll be exciting. And next semester I'll be taking something called Earth & Space Science. We will there learn about the solar system, about galaxies, star clusters and even fucking PSEUDO SCIENCE, I'm dying of excitement!!

4. Schedules, periods, lunch hours
    The first period starts at 9.00 am and the last (5th) period is finished at 6.00 pm, so you could have pretty long days. i have two days where I'm at full throttle from 9 to 6, it's exhausting! But absolutely worth it, I really need to get more into the Japanese way of studying and working, and not the lazy Norwegian way.
    Each period lasts for 90 minutes, without any breaks. It's twice as long as I'm used to, so if I have a class in 5th period I usually am half asleep by the end of it all! After the 2nd period there's a lunch break for 50 minutes, which usually is enough to stop by the uni cafeteria to get a dirt cheap meal!
I'm serious. around 200 yen for a portion of japanese curry. LOVE IT. And it's a big enough portion for you to actually get full :) Good deal!

5. ......
    I don't think I have more to say regarding Waseda school life right now, my brain has turned into mush, becaaause...
The second (and last draft) for my bachelor thesis is due on Monday, so now I've finally opened the document and started writing again. Hurray! I hope I can write something real good and real fast until then, がんばります!High hopes and a bit more will power will do it! I'm only about halfway through already, so I'm not at the finish line just yet. But I'm guessing more of my fellow exchange student classmates are having the same problem.. Heh. Good luck to you! がんばってね!
That's all, folks! Have a great day :)


  1. Waseda's Japanese courses sound so interesting!

    What was the placement testing like?

    1. The placement test wasreally hard, lol! I hadn't been studying any Japanese since January, so I was pretty rusty. We we're given two A3 sheet, equal to 6 A4 pages with different questions, like putting in the right article, katakana, right verb conjugation etc.. not really any kanji testing. I thought it was hard, but it was within my level (3, ((pre-)intermediate)

    2. Oh and you had to score between 40 and 80 points to fit into that level, if you got over 80, you should go up a level, and if you got under 40, drop down a level.

    3. So, there's only 3 different levels? o_O

    4. Ah, no no XD There are 8 levels. There 1-2 is beginner, 3 is intermediate 4-8 are different levels of advanced. (8 is like.. crazy high.) I think you'll be put in the 4 or 5 level :) You're so good :D

  2. So they sort of decide what level test you're taking before actually testing you? or is it based on how many classes you've taken before arriving? I'm assuming, since you said the test was easy, and you could only drop or go up 1 level from it, you didn't get the chance to be placed higher? Or is it like, if you scored above 80, then you take a harder test or something?

    Sorry for all the questions! Was just really curious how they decide the levels and what they test.