University of Florence
The Siebold program has been an incredible opportunity to learn and get to use Japanese. There are plenty of courses aimed at particular language skills, and many others that helped me to experience everyday life in Japan. As big as Sendai may be, after a while I noticed how welcoming the city really is, and I learned to be much more comfortable with talking to Japanese people in every situation, be it during class, interviews, or simply after casually meeting in a bar.
Also, Tohoku is an amazing and easily accessible region. Travelling across the Tohoku region has been the most amazing part of my experience here, as even places that are very close to Sendai, like Yamadera or Hiraizumi, proved to be truly wonderful sights.
Sapienza University of Rome
What I really enjoyed is the chance to attend classes in Japanese. It was quite hard but it turned to be really useful to improve my skills. Attending Tohoku University in general has given me the chance to get involved in many activities and of course, meet people from all over the world.
I'd say that my 8 months here represent maybe the best experience in my life until now, and this made me realize that everyone should have this kind of experience.
University of Venice
The Siebold program gave me the opportunity to take any classes I like and to participate in extra activities that were decided and scheduled all together to fit our preferences. Thanks to the Siebold program I met people from all over the world who have become my family here in Sendai.
The most valuable experience I had was a 2-day trip to Iwate to visit sites destroyed by the tsunami, but above all to volunteer in helping people still living in emergency housing. Meeting the survivors gave me the chance to try to better understand the national trauma.
The other experience I enjoyed the most was attending an Ochakai (tea ceremony) at Rinno-ji temple. It was amazing to see the preparation of the tea and to learn from a proper sensei how to move and act during it.
Buddie van Ruth
As I study Japanese language and culture, it is important for me to know what these actually are. The Siebold Program offered me an inside perspective into the life of a Japanese university student. Because of the freedom the program offers, I can study any subject offered by the university. It gives me the chance to combine studying actual academic topics offered in the classes with observing Japanese students and the Japanese academic way from a close viewpoint.
Studying a year at a Japanese university means much more than just learning academic information. I've learned a lot about Japanese customs and values, and this is useful every day. Also I've been getting aware of cultural diversity, different customs and values of not only Japanese people, but all kinds of people from over the world. This makes you look at yourself in a different way. An exchange like this can make you more aware of yourself and the environment you live in.
As I study about Japan, the Siebold Program has given me a chance to see all the things I've learned about up close. This is the best thing ever. Combine this with all the amazing people I've had the chance to meet and it has been an experience that will change me in a good way, and will always be a special time in my life.