Hello! Welcome to Exchange Student Stories. Here I shall document my journey in Japan as an exchange student in Tokyo. Do not be mistaken, I will post cosplay stuff here still, this is just for the four months!
Okay! So let's begin. This is going to be mostly text, no pics this time!
Firstly some background of myself that you get the idea what kind of human being I am so you, reader have slight understanding of why I do things or know stuff etc.
I am a Finnish girl.
I've loved Japan since I was a little child.
I am currently 24 years old.
I am a seamstress and currently studying of becoming a designer.
I am a introvert.
I have a condition that compromises my immunity system.
I've studied Japanese about an year.
This is my second time in Japan.
Overall a positive person, but very Finnish, I love my own space.
When I applied to University I had one thing in my mind. I want to study in Japan for a while. So this has been in my mind for the last 3-4 years. I found out some information about applying before it was even my time to go. I am familiar with Japanese culture because of my hobbies.
I applied to my schools system around year before the exchange student period. It was pretty straightforward mission. Firstly you apply to your school system and after you're accepted by your school, you apply to your desired school. I wanted to go to Kyoto first but since I had a chance to apply to Tokyo I chose Tokyo as my first choice.
I do not speak fluent Japanese. I can understand Japanese but talking is still hard. When I applied to school there was clear information that I wouldn't have any lessons in English. I was prepared for that and took few Japanese courses.
Making sure you've done all the paperwork can be stressful but I think the most stressful part was figuring out all the ''real life'' stuff.
YOUR LIVING SITUATION (KELA)
WHAT TO PACK
FLIGHT TICKETS AND VISA
I took traveler insurance and also insured my luggage. More about this in the later post!
I am fortunate to live with my boyfriend and roomies so I didn't have to figure anything specific out. My school offered my a place to stay in dormitory.
Money things can be stressful. I stressed about the rent since I had to pay 4 months rent at once to Japan, in cash. I decided raise the money from Japan and not travel with hefty amount of cash in my pocket. I also got support money from school, parents and ofc the best, student loan. I also have credit card just in case.
HEALTH CHECK & MEDICATION & VACCINES
I had health check and consulted with my doctor and made sure I had everything under control. I also made sure that I had enough medication with me. You can buy prescription medication for 6 months at once in Finland but you wont get the medical insurance discount for the 3 months so you need to file the receipts to KELA to get the money back.
When you bring more than one month of medication to Japan you need to apply for Yakkan Shoumei to sort of import the medication to Japan. I did it super late but I sorted it out with email in few days. In the end they didn't even really need to check my bag for medication. But I felt good that I did everything according to plan.
WHAT TO PACK:
I packed one big luggage with me, I knew I would buy most kitchen stuff from Japan. I just packed comfy clothes and essentials. My ticket covered for two big luggage but I knew I would die if I had to take two luggage with me.
FLIGHT TICKETS AND VISA
This was my first time buying flight tickets and I was super nervous. Applying to visa was nerve wreaking because first I sent the application to my school, which applied to Japanese government. Then Japanese government sent the application paper to the school, and school sent it to me. THEN I sent a application to Japanese embassy in Finland and after seven days I got mail that I can go to Helsinki and pick up my visa. So, getting the visa is a longer process. But the best advice I can give is if you can't do anything except wait, you've done nothing wrong, try to chill.
Whoa! That was a lot wasn't it. I will continue my journey in my next text, it's going to be about flying and settling in Japan. More pictures YAY!