This past week marked the beginning of the spring semester at Keio University. It has been an amazing journey so far and things are only getting better.
Unlike most American universities, students at Keio sign up for classes in the beginning of the semester. This makes for a pretty busy first week because everyone is trying to arrange their schedule at the same time. In comparison to the states, Keio's registration system allows for greater flexibility, but also makes it difficult to plan your schedule in advance. I found it particularly challenging because the many of the classes listed in Shidler's Course Equivalencies were only offered in the Fall semester. All of the classes needed to transfer back to back to my home university (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Shidler College of Business), but many of them either overlapped with each other or were not being offered in the Spring semester (this changes every semester and is hard to avoid, so don't panic when it happens. )
Another big difference is that classes (in Japan) meet once a week as compared to two or three times per week in the states. This is great in terms of convenience, but it also means that you have to study most of the material on your own. For some this is a great option and for others it may not be. It depends on your own style of learning. Personally, I enjoy meeting multiple times throughout the week because it gives the students more opportunities to interact with each other and the professor. I believe that maximizing the time spent on in-class interaction is beneficial to both the students and the professor.
On another note, this year has been especially cold in Japan, and the sakura have blossomed a little later than usual. It is really an amazing sight to see! This past weekend there were so many people celebrating the arrival of spring!