“You got something in the mail from UWA”, my mum said as I walked through the front door. I had just gotten back from Uni, after spending the whole train ride telling myself that I was going to get started right away on the study I needed to do for the two mid-semester tests I had to suffer through the next day. I had over a 100 new kanji to learn for the Japanese test (ok, they might not have all been *new*..but I had forgotten…some…since the previous test, sorry sensei!), plus I had to start studying for the Small Business Management test I had an hour after that. This was Monday, the tests were on Tuesday, and I had spent the whole weekend, plus Friday, assuring myself that I could just study the next day. This was perhaps one of my finest procrastination experiences…wow, I just remembered how I actually Googled the meaning of that word whilst putting off an assignment during High School :O. Anyway, whilst telling myself on the train how much I had to study for these tests, a part of me knew that I was going to get distracted by the first thing possible…probably Facebook, I thought…But no, instead, UWA decides to throw a spanner in the works and help me with my studies towards ‘International Excellence’ by sending me a letter :O I wont lie, the procrastinator side of me was really happy to have a distraction so soon…and I guess the rest of my brain followed suit when I realised it looked more like a package than a letter!

I didn’t really know what to expect at first. I had been told in my last e-mail from UWA that a formal letter would be sent to me regarding my acceptance into UWA’s Student Exchange program…but this was a little too thick to have just been a letter. Then the thought struck me, ‘is this the allocation of host University?’ !?! I thought I would have received an e-mail before a physical letter, just like I had with UWA’s acceptance…and I really wasn’t expecting any more information so soon. Well, I had a feeling it may be a little earlier than expected due to some things I had been hearing from others, but still not this soon…and if it was going to be soon, at least on a more upbeat-I-don’t-have-to-study-s0-more-time-to-be-excited kind of day. Before I went to open it I jokingly asked my mum to take it away again until Tuesday afternoon, but when I realised that she would seriously do that, I quickly ripped it open in fear of being condemned to my room to practice writing kanji right away.
studentexchangepreguideThe first thing I grabbed out of the envelope was the Pre-departure Guide, and meanwhile my sister grabbed the rest which at the time I thought was *just* some folded sheets of information. Who wouldn’t go for the colourful, glossy document first? :P So I started flicking through the Pre-departure Guide, which is a kind of ‘all you need to know’, ‘go to’ guide for all things exchange and at 70 pages, it is pretty detailed. *thumbs up* for the person who had to put it together! Meanwhile, my sister started reading aloud what was written on the, black and white, sheets of paper. “Dear Michael, Congratulations! The Student Exchange Selection Committee has approved your application for participation in the UWA Student Exchange Programme”… hmm, maybe it is just the formal acceptance letter… “and you have been allocated to”…before she could even finish this sentence I had already rushed over to read over her shoulder… “you have been allocated to Kansai Gaidai University.” :O :> I had marked Kansai Gaidai as my first preference for host university in my application for UWA’s Student Exchange program, so I am really happy that I have been allocated to it. To be honest, I cant imagine not attending Kansai Gaidai as part of my exchange to Japan! Its not that I would mind attending my second and third preferences of Kobe and Sophia universities, its just that I have researched Kansai Gaidai so much, read countless blog posts about people attending there, heard so much about it from UWA students who have been there and even watched a number of YouTube videos made about it that I cant even begin to separate ‘Japan Exchange’ and ‘Kansai Gaidai’ in my mind. It didn’t take much researching before I felt like Kansai Gaidai would be the perfect ‘fit’ for me and what I wanted to get out of exchange..the location..their exchange program..the courses…the speaking partners…home stay…for more in depth reasons as to why I selected Kansai Gaidai check out my exchange application’s Statement of Purpose and Self-Reflection Worksheet!

So now I think it is safe to say that I at least have my foot…or maybe a toe (?) … through Kansai Gaidai’s front door. Whether they stamp on my foot, or toe (:O), or let me pass through will depend on the outcome of my application directly to the university. The application to Kansai Gaidai is done both through their website and with hard copy documents, which I will talk about in a later blog post. Nonetheless, the application is due at UWA’s Study Abroad office on the 30th of September (UWA will send the physical application on my behalf), so hopefully it isn’t too long before I have completed the application and written a new post :>.

The acceptance letter also talked about the mandatory pre-departure session, applying to Kansai Gaidai, travel insurance (students on exchange are covered by UWA’s Corporate Personal Accident and Travel Policy), travel bookings, student visas, housing, faculty approval of units and the Conditions of Participation form which was also in the envelope and had to be signed and returned to the Study Abroad Office by the 16th of September. I submitted mine on Thursday (16th)! :>.

Attached to the acceptance letter was one more thing:

Dear Michael,
Congratulations! On behalf of the Study Abroad Scholarships Committee it gives me great pleasure to inform you that you have been awarded a Study Abroad Scholarship valued at $3000. We hope that this award will assist you with the costs associated with your period of study overseas.
…I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best and hope that your experience abroad will be an enriching one from all perspectives.
Yours sincerely,
…Student Exchange Study Abroad

THREE.THOUSAND.DOLLARS :O To be honest, I had an inkling that I was going to get some form of financial support from UWA…however, I never thought it would be to the tune of $3000! It is definitely going to help with paying for things on exchange, particularly housing (either home stay or dormitory) at Kansai Gaidai which I have believe needs to be paid upfront. Thank you, UWA! I promise to spend it wisely! :P :>