Wei Chuan Chen (Asian Studies)
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Wei Chuan Chen. I'm from Taiwan. I've studied at schools in Indiana, Seattle, New York, and now here in Japan. This is my first semester here, but I've been to Japan five times since Taiwan is so close.
So you had the chance to go to any other school in the States or to international schools in Asia, why did you choose to come to Japan?
Because I like to travel and see and experience different cultures. Two months ago, I was in Iceland, and I was also recently in Italy. I just kind of want to experience everything. I was in the States for almost all of high school, so I thought that was enough and wanted to try something different.
How did you hear about Temple University?
I actually heard about it when I was in high school. But really, I just searched for “American schools in Asia” online and TUJ popped up.
Why did you specifically choose TUJ?
Because it's an American school, all of my credits transferred. I actually had 73 credits transferred. At a regular Japanese university, I'd probably have had to start all over.
Is there anything specific about living in Tokyo that you like?
In the U.S., if you're on a student visa, it's very difficult to get a part-time job. But here you can. That was one thing that really attracted me, so I can do more — you know not just school. I can experience other aspects of college life.
I remember international students in the U.S. were very restricted work-wise.
Yeah, you can get a CPT (Curricular Practical Training), but it has to be an internship and related to your major. It's not really easy. That is why choosing Japan is a huge advantage over going to school in the U.S. as an international student.
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I plan on going to graduate school and continuing with Asian Studies. I'll probably apply to schools in Europe to experience different cultures.
Do you get a chance to share your own culture here at TUJ?
Yeah. It's easier to make friends here because it's a smaller school. I've only been here for two months, but I already have more friends than I did last year! By making many friends, you get to share your own experience and culture, too. In the U.S., you kind of end up hanging out with your own group, like other Chinese or Taiwanese students. But here, everyone gets along, and we're all in the same boat. I actually made more American friends here than I did back in the States, too.
Can you think of any other benefits from studying at an university with such a big international community?
For non-native English speakers, you improve your English much faster. When you go out with people from all of those different countries, everyone has to speak English to communicate with each other. That way, your English improves much faster. In the U.S., you tend to hang out with your own cultural group and speak the same language, so you don't really get to improve.
Is it difficult for you to study a different language?
Difficult, I don't know… I've always been really interested in learning other languages. I'm now learning Japanese, but it's not that difficult for me. Because my main language is Chinese, I guess I have an advantage learning it. It also helps because I like the language.
Any advice for new students?
Definitely, learn more about the social customs and manners of Japan before you come. When I first came here during the summer program, it was a bit of a culture shock because you have to watch what you do here. I used to live in New York, and people there just do whatever they want in public. Not so much here. So know at least a little about Japan before coming and be aware and open-minded while you're here.