2016年9月7日

Back to school ! 入学の日

T'is that time of year ! (Well, for us here in the western world, for the most part)
Going back to school. It's part of the road to Japan for me !



Yesterday, for most university students, was the first day of school. Myself included. Yes, yes, at 27 years old I'm going back to school. I should have been done a while ago, but plans have changed. This is why this year I'm back in force to finish the school journey. It's part of the plan to end up in Japan, so I thought I'd talk a little bit about the road leading up to that a little today.


Let's first see the differences in Japanese school system and years and our system here in Canada. Note that this is the system in the french part of Canada, in Quebec, and is not the same than in the rest of the country since they mostly have the same system than the United states, which does resemble Japan's system.


So as you can see, at my age (27) I should already be done and over with school. But I'm not ! For various reasons. 

I went through the usual path of primary education and secondary school like everyone, and that's part of the mandatory education for the whole population. In secondary school, you do get to choose a couple of special subjects like optional language classes, geography or biology, etc. I did go through a special language program where we would have the usual classes, but would go through English classes faster, and then get first language level English classes for two years, as well as getting 5 years or Spanish classes. (Don't ask me to say anything because I forgot most of it by now. Siento !)

Then you get to either go to the usual college/cegep for either natural sciences or human sciences for 2 years (biology, science and physics or languages, social studies etc) or to a vocational type of school where you do mostly specific studies related to a particular job you want to get (electrician, thanatology, design, esthetic services, etc) which is usually a 3 year program.
I wanted to go to University so I could have gone the short way and get into social studies since I knew I wanted to study something related to Japan by then, but since I didn't enjoy school too much, I decided to go the long, expensive but fun way of going into fashion design vocational school ! 

My "pop-up shop" at the fashion show from Fashion School Graduation
I created gothic lolita fashion, my brand is called Fleur Engel :)

I did enjoy my college experience, and I still enjoy designing clothes, but my motivation to work for a company that would have me work on patterns or files for clothes that I didn't enjoy really didn't appeal to me (companies of alternative clothes did not exist that much and I did not want to end up working for a very mainstream company starting from the bottom) so I ended up not working further into fashion design than that. 

I knew in which university I wanted to apply because I knew they were offering a student exchange of a year in Japan, which I thought was the best way to go to Japan to try and learn Japanese, make contacts and experience it before making any huge decisions. So I applied for a Bachelor's degree in East-Asian Studies and History with a focus on Japan/Japanese language (they also offered Chinese option with a focus on China and chinese language). Before I knew it, I got done with my first year and got accepted at Soka University in Hachioji, Japan, (創価大学、八王子市) for my student exchange. 

My picture of Soka University's auditorium, sept. 2011

It was such a wonderful year. I do have regrets, though. I should have worked harder at my Japanese, and also tried to make more friends and contacts in Japan, knowing what my ultimate goal was. I was too busy having fun, shopping and visiting places. I don't regret doing this, but I do wish I had worked harder. 

It's coming back that it went down, as I explained earlier. I quit university at about 6 months of completion. 

It is mainly why I find myself going back today, at 27 years old. After quitting, I had my credits compiled and turned into what we call a major here (a major is 60 credits, a minor 30 credits, and a bachelor's degree is 90 credits). To complete it however, I needed to do two more classes, which I completed last winter. And after taking my courage and motivation in my hands, I went and applied for a minor (the missing 30 credits of my bachelor's degree) in the hope of finally completing my studies and going to Japan. 

Finally :') Major in East-Asian studies : check !

I do know that there are other ways of getting to Japan, but a vast majority of businesses and schools will require applicants to have obtained a bachelor's degree in order to consider their application. Yes, there are stories of people who made it through other ways, but for me, at this point, it is just too risky. I don't want to miss my chance by taking a working holiday visa (obtainable until 30 years old if I am not mistaken) and then having to come back because employers will not consider my application for a missing bachelor's degree. Coming back would be the biggest failure I would have ever experienced and I am not ready to go through this.

I'm starting next week a whole year of three classes a semester, working 30 hours a week and trying to survive through all of this. I hope it goes well. If everything goes as planned, I should be done next year, in December. And then who knows what will be the plan. We'll see ! 

My full gear for school. Gudetama and Kate Spade !


Are you going back to school this September ? What do you study ? Do you have major plans in mind for the future ? Let's work at it !  

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