Voice of Students

A day after I sustained a neck injury during Gymnastics Club exercise, I had pains the next day, however nevertheless decided to go to school. In the middle of Japanese class my neck froze and I couldn’t move at all. Before I knew it I was on the floor with excruciating pain. I was taken to a hospital on ambulance. After a series of examination CT-scan, the diagnosis showed no structural damages though there was a possibility of muscle and nerve damage. Luckily after a few days of rest, I was back to normal but this could have been very expensive for me. I was very glad that I signed and paid for the National Health Insurance and only had to pay a small portion of the costs. Most of all, I am very grateful for International Student Advisor and Health Center nurse who comforted me through this anxious moments with their encouragement and support.

During your exchange, believe it or not, the most unexpected things can happen. In my case, I had two extravagant experiences. The first one occurred when my credit cards suddenly stopped working and I couldn’t withdrawal any money. I was in Japan, thousands of miles away from home, with no money to survive. I freaked out. But an international student advisor kindly lent me money and look out for me until the problem was solved.

Another time, I had a severe back strain. The pain was that intense that I could barely move. The worst part of it was that it happened on Sunday so most of the hospitals were closed and my Spanish health insurance was struggling to help me. Again, the international student advisor reacted really fast and did not hesitate to drive me to the nearest hospital. He took care about all the needed forms they required me to fill, to translate between the doctor and nurses and me. He also made sure the RAs in my residence were aware about my situation in case I needed some attention in the middle of the night. He wrote to my teachers for excuses for absence as well, and even drove me again to the hospital for a check. I got everything covered because of him. Their treatment was really personal, close and professional — very valuable for all Hitotsubashi University international students.

During my first month in Japan, my braces broke for the first time in seven years (of course). At first I had no clue what to do, so I just asked my Community Assistant (CA) who lived in my residence hall. She attended me to a dentist, but the problem was not completely fixed there.

My CA eventually helped me get in touch with the International Student and Study Abroad Advising Office at Hitotsubashi. The advisor really helped me out with locating an orthodontist who could speak a bit of English. She made sure everything was clear and took her time to help me out. I later found someone who spoke Japanese and was able to go with me to an orthodontist closer to my residence hall. I felt sorry for all the effort she had put into making the appointment, but this was also a safer bet since I had someone who spoke Japanese. Since I could not cancel the appointment myself because I did not speak Japanese, she cancelled the appointment for me. I was very grateful for the help provided to me by the advising office, because she was very kind and helpful and I would have never been able to take care of the situation on my own.

When I was in my 2nd year, I wondered why few Japanese students interacted actively with international students on campus despite the fact that Hitotsubashi offered such diverse study abroad programs. To find ways to facilitate cross-cultural interactions on campus, I went to the Internationl Student and Study Abroad Advising Office. The advisor told me about a wonderful program, Language Community (LC). LC is a platform for students to share common interests. It is a relatively new program and is not widely known on campus, but this is a great opportunity for international and Japanese students to get to know each other. I joined LC, and is now serving as a LC coordinator.

It prompted me to challenge myself even more, so I joined the residence life staff as a Community Assistant (CA) at the Kodaira International Student House. The CA experiences taught me how to live in the international settings and to deal with the cross-cultural issues on daily basis. For those of you who are interested in cross-cultural interactions, please do come to the ISSAO and talk with the advisors.