Travel report NUCB
I am a Master’s student who went on an exchange in Fall 2022. This semester, we had to take 6 courses. After getting admitted by NUCB, the host school sent a Google drive where all of the students could access all of the information regarding the school and course selection. The course selection is taken place 2 weeks before the first course of the term, so I had 2 course selections in total.
Regarding the courses, for weekday classes, which are taken place from Tuesday to Friday, the group discussion starts at 10:20 am and stops at 11 am, which is when the class starts; the class then ends at 17:40. The 40-minute group discussion was very usually in discussing the cases. As for the weekend classes, the discussion starts at 9:20, class starts at 10, and the class ends at 16:40.
For the course content, the students had to read the cases provided by the teacher before each class. Every day we had to read anywhere from 2-3 cases, and then answer the questions provided by the teacher. The participation accounts for anywhere from 40-60% of the total grade; hence, the students had to raise their hands and contribute to the class. If a student does not speak up at all, expect to fail the class. To participate in these class discussions, we had to know what the cases are about. The grading system was tough because, in a class, there could be 70 or more people, so I had to be aggressive when it came to participation. The people in class came from all kinds of backgrounds. We had people who were MBA students with decades of experience sharing their thoughts and knowledge. The discussions were a great way to learn different points of view. The other 40-60% will be from the report. If a student does not submit a report, expect to not pass the class. At the end of the semester, the students will have to pay for the cases they read for the class. The total can range anywhere from 27,000-50,000 yen, depending on how many classes a student takes. Overall, NUCB’s workload is higher than at UU. When the classes are around 7 hours a day, plus studying, it could get very stressful as there was no time to rest.
As for the accommodations, there is Chiyoda, Higashiyama, and Meito. The accommodations will be assigned by the school staff, and it is non-negotiable. From Chiyoda, it takes 20 minutes to school by train, while Higashiyama and Meito take around 30-40 minutes. The rent I paid at Chiyoda was around 75,000 yen, including electricity, water, heater, and Wi-Fi.
During my leisure time, I would take (day) trips with friends, for example, to Gifu, which is a small town with a nice hike up to the temples and shrines. Nagoya is a perfect location between Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto. It takes approximately 30 minutes by Shinkansen to Kyoto/Osaka, and 1.5 hours to Tokyo. Bus is the cheapest option to travel around. Unfortunately, this time the school only had one activity, which was a tea ceremony, for the students. Regardless, I had the opportunity to travel around Japan. Overall, my exchange was incredible, and I would not change a thing.
I got the opportunity to travel to Japan, which was the best decision I ever made. When choosing where to travel, I knew from the beginning that Japan was the country I wanted to live and study in. With this in mind, I chose all of the available cities in Japan at the top of my list to ensure that I got a spot there, which I did. In the end I got Nagoya, which is the fourth biggest city in Japan and is in the middle of the country, making it easy to travel around to other cities.
School started officially on September 12, but I chose to travel a bit earlier with another person that was also coming from Uppsala University. We traveled on August 26 and stayed in Tokyo for a few days before traveling to Nagoya to check into my apartment and meet my future neighbours and classmates. Having the check in like this was a good thing the school arranged since it made it possible for all of us residing there to get to know each other and see each other’s faces. After the check in and getting the keys to our apartments, our group of people decided to go downtown and have fun together. This helped us get closer to each other much faster, and thanks to this a group of us planned trips to different cities right before classes started. I went to Osaka with a group of people where we stayed in a house together and explored the city. Beyond this, we went to Universal Studios which is an amusement park with many different themes and rides.
Right after the first trip, school started. The semester consisted of two terms, that each where 7 weeks long and had 5 courses each per term. The first term ended at the end of October right before Halloween, and then we had a 1 week break before the second term started with new courses. During this break, I flew to Okinawa with a group of friends. It was warm and the sun was shining, and it felt like being in Hawaii with the beautiful beaches and friendly inhabitants.
The food was a culinary experience and most of my diet consisted of noodles, rice, fried food, and a lot of sushi. The prices in Japan were also fairly cheap in comparison to the prices in Sweden. You could get a decent meal for around 7€ at a good restaurant. Before coming to Japan, I made a list of different places I wanted to go to and eat, and what type of food I wanted to try. This really helped since there is so many different shops and streets to choose from in Japan that I can easily become overwhelming. Having a guidebook about the different cities we visited and what was worth seeing and trying out also made it much easier to discover gems and interesting sites to visit.
When it came to school, the system was very similar to the western one. The school I went to is called NUCB and they’re known for having a school system that differs from the rest of Japan. For example, I didn’t have any final exams or tests in general. Instead before every class, there was a case to read, and it would be discussed during class. Furthermore, in most of the classes you would be paired with a group of people to hold a presentation once during the duration of the course, and at the end of the course there would be a final report to write that you would have between 1-2 weeks to write on. These were often connected to the cases we had read about, and you had the opportunity to choose among these to discuss further on in your reports. Studywise, it wasn’t the most difficult tasks and assignment to do, but it definitely kept us busy with the amount we had since we had 10 courses in total. However, if you were diligent and efficient with your homework and assignments, you had plenty of time to do other things and explore other cities during the weekends.
I stayed in Japan until January 26 and classes ended around the 17th. In other words, I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Japan too. For Christmas, I went to a skiing resort in Hakuba, which was a 5-hour ride from Nagoya with a car. We spent the holidays in a big house fitting 20+ people, and during the days we would ski and visit the snow monkeys, and at night we went out for dinner and celebrated Christmas. New Year’s was a bit special since Japanese people don’t celebrate it the same way as we do. There were no fireworks displayed and a lot of the stores and restaurants were actually closed the whole day, so it was basically a quiet holiday for most. However, for me and my friends, we decided to have a get-together where we dressed up and had a feast together in a shared house, and then we went down town to celebrate the New Year’s together as best as we could.
Safe to say, I managed to do a lot of things in Japan, and I still have a lot of things that I didn’t manage to do. I went to the Formula 1 race in Suzuka, but I didn’t manage to travel to Hiroshima or Mt. Fuji. If anything, I know for sure that I’ll come back to Japan and visit it many times. It is a perfect place to go if you want to travel by yourself or find friends to travel with since the country has so much to offer. It is a haven for introverted people, but there is also a lot of fun things to do together with friends. The arcades and karaoke is something I recommend a lot, and is something I miss doing on a regular basis here in Sweden.
The country is very safe to travel in, and especially as a woman I appreciated it many times. Of course, Japan is not perfect and has many issues that they need to deal with properly, but there are some initiatives that they’ve made. For example, on the train I took there were 4 carts that was only available for women, and that was active the whole day during weekdays. Also, on busses if you were travelling long distances, there was a possibility to book a seat where only women were allowed to sit on. Downtown could become a bit loud and active during the nights – especially on Fridays and Saturdays – with a lot of people standing on the road hanging around. On occasions like that I made sure to always be walking with someone I knew since it felt safer that way, however, walking home by myself and just staying out late in general was never an issue and it was liberating.
When it comes to the language, people don’t really speak English. Sometimes in more official places such as the airport, big amusement parks or international stores (like Zara) people where more proficient in it. However, most of the times the conversation was carried through google translate and a lot of hand gestures and pointing. I have studied Japanese before for one year, which definitely helped me get by more than most, so I would definitely recommend trying to learn some Japanese before travelling there. Useful apps such as Duolingo or just buying a Japanese exercise book would help out a lot.
I loved my experience in Japan and I would do anything to have the opportunity to go through it again, there is always something to do and something to see and it will definitely change you as a person.
I am a Master's student and need 30 HPs for the semester. According to previous exchange policy, I took 10 courses in NUCB. However, when I finished my exchange, the policy changed. So, exchange students only need to select 6 courses in NUCB in the following year.
About the course selection
After I was admitted by NUCB, I received a package, which includes the course syllabus for the last semester and this can be a reference for me. The course selection process is quite easy: Before the exchange semester started, I received an email, which included a course selection link.
Basic information about courses
On weekdays, courses start from 11 am to 5:40 pm but students are usually required to arrive at the campus at 10:20 am to participate the 40-minute group discussion. On weekends, courses start from 10 am to 4:40pm and students are required to arrive at 9:20 am. Timetable of NUCB can be found in the final page of the report.
Case study method is applied in the whole study process and there would be 8-10 cases for each course. In NUCB, grading system is tough, which requires professors necessarily fail about 10% students for each course and exchange students are included in the system. In general, grade is depended on three parts: participation, assignment, and final exam. Participation means rising hand to answer questions during the class and it makes up about 30 to 70 percent of the final grades. Therefore, if students need the credits, actively participating in the class is unavoidable. Under the tough grading system, the cons are apparent: the workload is heavy because it will take too much time to go through the study materials if students want to participate in the course. But there are some pros, also. Because cases are widely used in each course and they are generally based on real business story, students can be exposed to real business situation. It is challenge but exciting to apply the learned knowledge into those business story and make an analysis and a solution through group discussion. For students who are interested in business and management, it is an interesting way to touch the business world.
Basic information about accommodation
There are two accommodations (Global center and Chiyoda) for exchange students hey will be assigned to accommodations by the office stuff. Global center is a well-furnished Japanese style accommodation and provides all basic living necessaries( for example, towel、lamp、shampoo、Internet wire, ect). The rent fees for global center about 80000 YEN for each month, about 6800 SEK. Economy: Some students will be given 80000 YEN Jasso scholarship for each month and it can cover daily costs in Nagoya.
NUCB will organize some activities for exchange students and students can sign up for these activities. I joined some of them and there is one trip that worths recommendation: Kumanokodo trip. (Ac 2-day hiking trip). Students could experience a Japanese style trip because they will live in a Japanese style hotel and have a traditional Japanese dinner at the first night.
If exchange students choose NUCB, the workload will be higher than that in UU. But it could still be a happy experience if students are interested in exploring the Japanese lifestyle.