Antioch College vs. Japanese College
By Miyuki Sese
Since last fall, Antioch has had several Japanese exchange students from Ryukoku University. This university is located in Kyoto with another campus in Shiga prefecture. It is the oldest Buddhist university and was founded in 1639. According to the Japanese exchange students, there are many differences between Antioch College and Ryukoku University.
First, the biggest difference is the number of students. Compared with about 170 students of Antioch College, Ryukoku University has about 100 times more students, and it seems common that most students do not know other students in their class. This can be good because it allows students to have a lot of friends with different opinions and personalities. On the downside, compared with Antioch College, the relationships between teachers and students in such a large university seem weak.
As for housing, most students in Antioch College live in dormitories. Most Ryukoku University students live in apartments by themselves. There are some dormitories but they are only for students who belong to the Baseball or Rugby clubs and overseas students. That’s because the number of students is so large that the university does not have the capacity to allow all the students to live in a dormitory. However, Japanese students seem to enjoy their own life styles in Antioch College. “It is difficult for me to maintain both my private time and official time in dormitory, but I am glad to talk with a lot of my friends anytime.”said Eriko. “I am enjoying staying in a dormitory with my friends”said Rie.
Ryukoku University has three big festivals every year. First, the festival called “Gotane”takes place in May, which is the celebration of the birthday of Saint Shinran, who built the Buddhist religion,“Jyodo-shinsyu”and the anniversary of Ryukoku University. Students take place in various events like an overnight hike. There are also many foods booths and a large-scale Buddhist service. Second, the festival called “Ryukoku-sai”takes place in October with the festival called “Gakujyutsu-bunkasai” at the same time. These are school festivals conducted by the many students who belong to the group activities. (Ryukoku University has more than 200 group activities and anyone can belong to any kind of activity like a sports club, a literature club and an arts club). A lot of fun games, amazing concerts, beautiful arts exhibitions and various food booths take place during these festivals. Not only students but also citizens can enjoy all the festivals. However, compared with Antioch College, Ryukoku University does not have any gorgeous dance parties.
As for an educational system, compared with liberal arts at Antioch College, Ryukoku University divides students into 9 faculties like the faculty of Literature, the faculty of Economy and the department of Intercultural Communication. Students usually take more than 12 classes from subjects determined by each faculty during one semester. One class takes 90 minutes. “Compared with the educational system in Ryukoku University, I like the educational system in Antioch College because I can spend a lot of time on each class that I am taking, thanks to the small number of classes and I can also learn from each class deeply through a lot of discussions.”said Rie. It is difficult for a huge university to discuss things as an entire class, so discussion is rare and only teachers speak during class at Ryukoku University. In Japan, it is said that entrance examination is harder than in America. If students pass the examinations, they can enter into the universities. An entrance ceremony takes place in April and a graduation ceremony takes place in March.
In Japan, students usually start job-hunting from the second half of third year through senior year, while still studying. Interestingly, it seems common for Japanese students to see other students wearing suits on campus. Those students are usually going to job interviews right after their classes. The interview process for a job in Japan usually consists of three steps and students sometimes apply to more than 50 companies in order to get a job.
Finally, the most surprising difference for Japanese exchange students is the perspective on sex. Antioch students consider sex positively and educational discussion about sex often takes place, while at Ryukoku U there are never discussions about sex on campus. This is because in traditional Japanese culture people usually do not talk about sex.
The Japanese exchange students seem to be enjoying their Antioch lives through a lot of culture differences.
If you are interested in Ryukoku University, please visit: www.ryukoku.ac.jp/english/index.html