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So today is the 11/01/2011…and soon it will be 11:11 PM on the 11/01/2011…which means only 17 more days until I leave for Japan!! Surprised smile As each day goes by, the next seems to go by even faster. It seems like only yesterday I was writing my blog post on New Year’s Day, so it is a little scary to think that in a little over two weeks I will be leaving Perth alone, on a plane, on my journey to Osaka, Japan. I have been seated by myself, as in away from people I know, on a plane before, but never have I travelled completely alone on a plane, let alone through multiple airports. Whenever I have had to sit “by myself”, usually the passenger next to me would start a small conversation…then fall asleep Confused smile. Am I supposed to do that? Wait, am I the reason why they fall asleep…? Surprised smile Either way, I don’t really plan to fall asleep on the plane. I will probably watch a movie and/or listen to music on my iPod, write something for this blog on my laptop, try and cram some last minute Japanese study in…and then fall asleep, probably unwillingly. Wow, that sounds like I am being knocked out or something. What I mean is I will probably just fall asleep when I can no longer force myself to stay awake. I swear the cabin crew on flights do all they can to get passengers to fall asleep, like discretely turning the lights down about an hour into the journey.. I have always wondered what  the air hostesses/air hosts do during those extremely long flights when all the passengers are asleep…do they sleep too? Do they eat their own meals down the back? Ahh, life’s biggest questions Smile with tongue out.

Anyway, I recently purchased a Macbook Pro to take with me on exchange. The 13 inch, 2.4ghz model with a Solid State Drive to be exact Smile. I chose this laptop mainly because I have always liked the Macbook Pro’s unibody design, and its battery life, track pad and performance (w/ SSD) cant be matched, at least not in the same price range. Not to mention how thin and lightweight it is compared to normal laptops. Oh, and then there is the fact that only Macs can run iMovie…which is what really won me over in the end Open-mouthed smile. The Macbook Pro running iMovie is the perfect companion for my new Flip MinoHD 3 camera, and I would also argue it is one of the most ideal laptops for travelling with, especially since I wont always be near a power supply! Surprisingly, with all of this said, in the PC vs. Mac war, I still consider myself a PC fan. I still prefer Windows, what more can I say Smile. I am actually also running Windows 7 on my Macbook Pro, which to my surprise performs extremely well! So I will use Mac OS mainly for editing video in iMovie, playing Angry Birds (yes, Angry Birds is also on Macs now!!) and probably even day to day web browsing, and I will use Windows 7 for Uni assignments, updating my blog and really any other “productivity” type tasks. Ok, I have probably spent too long talking about my new laptop now… but what I really wanted to explain in this section was the YouTube video above! Open-mouthed smile I had to learn how to use, and get used to, iMovie before I leave for exchange, so I decided to make a short “prelude” trailer which I filmed entirely with my Flip camera. My main aim was to produce something overly dramatic, because you know, who expects to see a trailer for student exchange in Japan? Smile with tongue out Overall it took me a few days, mainly because the footage wasn’t filmed all in one go, but in hindsight I now know that I will be able to create videos much faster in the future, which will be good considering I probably wont have too much spare time whilst I am in Japan!

Now on to other news…

Speaking Partner Program:
A few days ago I received an e-mail from Kansai Gaidai which said that my application had been received, and that I would be notified of my partner between the 21st and the 25th of January via e-mail. So I assume that at that time I will be able to start e-mailing them, and from there I can only hope that they don’t meet me for the first time and then never speak to me again :/ haha. Of course I am joking when I write this, but I have actually heard of this happening to past exchange students…which I can only assume is because the pairs don’t click…well, at least the KGU student thinks they don’t click haha. Either way, I assume it is a rare occurrence!

Transfer from Airport: I also got an e-mail confirming my pick up from Kansai International Airport, which I will arrive at on the 29th of January at 8:25am. I have no idea how regular the transfers from the airport to the University are, but the e-mail says I will be met by members of their staff after I go through customs. Smile So I can only assume I will be on my way to Kansai Gaidai with a bunch of other students within the next few hours after that. Open-mouthed smile KGU also does pick ups from Itami Airport and Kyoto Station. I am really thankful that KGU offers this service, because although I am OK with travelling alone through airports, I don’t think I would be as OK getting to the University alone from the airport…at least, I might not make it there in the same day haha. Last time I travelled to Japan I travelled around with a group, where most things were organised for us when going from place to place, so I cant imagine walking out of Kansai Airport on the 29th and getting to KGU without any hassles at all. With that said, I cant remember much of Kansai Airport at all, so it will be interesting how easily I manoeuvre my way through the building. I say “manoeuvre” because at the moment my idea of the airport is one big maze or puzzle!

Orientation Week: Today, new students received an e-mail about their housing for orientation week, and that those of us who applied to stay with a host family would receive information about our allocated families during the same week (finally moving into the host family’s house at the end of the week). For orientation week, I will be staying in…. *drum roll*… Seminar House 4! Past exchange students have said that this is the best of the Seminar Houses and that it is the most social, but I guess I will have to wait and see if it remains true for when I arrive.

Here are the details about Seminar House 4 included in the e-mail: 3 story building, phones in each room (incoming only), dining rooms and kitchens are located on 1st floor, communal toilets and shower rooms, lounge room, 3 televisions (in lounge and in kitchen), computer room with internet, laundry facility, 1 Elevator, pay phones are located on 1st floor, internet via LAN is available in each room, and bed linen and futon set including pillow will be provided.

Something else I found interesting in the e-mail was: During the orientation week, all students will be placed in the Seminar Houses.  Therefore, there will be about three students staying in one
room.
On the Kansai Gaidai website it says that 2 people stay in each room in Seminar House 4 (normally), so I guess for orientation week the rooms will be quite full. I am in no way complaining because really, how does the Uni get around this issue when half the students will end up staying with host families? But I have seen pictures of the rooms at Seminar House 4, and they don’t look big, so it will be interesting to see how things work when a small room usually occupied by 2 students…is occupied by 3 (which includes “rolling out” 3 futons every night). With that said, will it be 2 permanent students and one homestay student in each room? If that is the case, I might feel like I have to “tip toe” around their stuff for a week because I will be a “guest”. Oh well, it is only for a week! I will just have to brush up on my Tetris skills so everything will go smoothly during my stay there Smile with tongue out. And I guess a plus side to everyone being crammed in together is that everyone is forced to socialise with one another, which can only be a good thing when hundreds of people are coming alone from countries all over the world, right? Smile

Ok I better wrap things up here, but I will be sure to update more before I leave! 17 more days… Surprised smile Oh, one last thing! I have also added a How Much Does Student Exchange Cost? page where I will be regularly updating my major costs throughout my exchange experience, in order to give others an insight into how much their own exchange experience might cost, depending on their lifestyle and other factors of course. Smile