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EF Stories: Daria from the Netherlands at EF Tokyo

Daria had to stop her 'Japan studies' university degree because her language skills were not yet good enough. Therefore, she decided to go away with EF for two months.
EF Stories: Daria from the Netherlands at EF Tokyo

In 2014, I began studying Japan Studies at Leiden University. My love for Japan was great, but I barely had any experience with the language. All fun and games, but after two months I knew my Japanese was not good enough to go to next semester. I quit my studies. To be honest, I hated quitting something I did have passion for. I decided to be productive in my free months. I knew I had to work on my language if I wanted to start my studies again next year.

What happened then?
Then I came across an EF brochure among all my old papers. After consulting with my parents, we went to the office in Amsterdam and by chance I found out that one of my fellow students also went to Tokyo with EF a few years ago. He answered all my questions about school, accommodation and life in Japan itself. Boom! I decided to go to Tokyo 東京 alone for two months to take a course.

Off to Japan...
Japan 日本 was everything I expected and more. Just because I was already surrounded by the Japanese speaking people I felt more of a connection to the language and culture. My teachers were great and helped me understand a lot without speaking English to us. The classes were so fun you didn't want to miss them and there was plenty of time afterwards to explore what Japan had to offer with my fellow EF students.

My adventures in Japan
I traveled by shinkansen (bullettrain) to Kyoto京都 and the EF staff showed us everything there. My favorite place was the Nara Park where you could feed deer that would come to you themselves and bow if they wanted a cookie. Even animals are polite in Japan.

There are many themed cafes in Japan. The weirdest cafe I visited was the Robot Cafe. There were (what a surprise) robots, dancers and even a giant snake. What do these things have to do with each other? I don't know either but it was fun. Tokyo Tower, Ueno Zoo, Cat Cafe and Maid Cafe are just a few examples of things I saw. Also, believe me when I say that once you have tasted Japanese sushi or ramen you can't eat it again in your home country. The food is too good in the land of the traveling sun.

The best decision of my life
As scary as I thought it was to travel so far to a country where no one would understand me and without friends or family, I don't regret a second of it. It was an experience that changed my life. I improved my Japanese so much that I am now in my second year of Japan studies with my propaedeutic in my pocket. I am still in contact with my fellow EF students and a few of them have also come to visit me in the Netherlands. My tickets for Berlin are also booked, as I am going to visit my EF-roommate there. All in all, the year I decided to quit my studies was one of the best years of my life.

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