Country: Hungary; University: Károli Gáspár University of the Hungarian Reformed Church
Period of Study: October 2019 to September 2020
My name is Naji Renata and I'm from Hungary. I came to Fukushima three months ago to study Japanese. I've had a lot of experiences so far, thanks to the many opportunities that international students have at Fukushima University. Most of my classes at the university are in Japanese, but I've also taken classes in English such as "The Future of Fukushima," "Japanese Culture," and "Pop Culture." I think the most valuable thing for studying Japanese is Japanese conversation class. Japanese assistants participate in this class, so we can practice speaking Japanese correctly.
I've taken part in various events outside of class. Shortly after arriving in Fukushima, I went to Iizaka to see the Kenka Matsuri (Fighting Festival) with other international students and our Japanese buddies in a program run by the Rotary Club. This was my first time to visit a shrine, participate in a festival, and enjoy a hot spring. I later went to Iizaka a second time, where I was able to wear a yukata and experience a tea ceremony.
Thanks to the university buddy program, life in Fukushima is more fun and convenient than I had imagined before coming to Japan. My buddy has been to Hungary and can speak Hungarian, so we practice Japanese and Hungarian together. If I have any problems, he helps me out. We've had a lot of fun and gone places together. We international students have made a lot of friends through the buddy program, and traveled with them to Yonezawa and Sendai.
I've participated in various events in Fukushima City as well. The Vietnamese fashion show on November 5th was a great experience. It was a lot of fun working with my international student friends preparing for the show.
This year the Olympic Games will be held in Japan, so special events are being held everywhere. The city of Koriyama, which is near Fukushima, is the host town for the Hungarian Olympic swim team, so there are a lot of Hungary-related events. I was invited to give a talk about famous Hungarian things at an elementary school in Koriyama, and had a chance to interact with Japanese elementary school students. Until then, I had no idea what Japanese elementary schools were like, so it was a new world to me. There are quite a few differences from Hungarian schools--I didn't know anything about taking off shoes or school rules. I was able to learn a from the elementary school students.
During my time here, my ideas about Fukushima have changed. A year ago, before I arrived, I thought Fukushima seemed like a nice place, but I didn't understand what a beautiful city this is until I actually came here.