My name is Fabrizio Luca Mancini and I was born in Brazil. I came to Osaka University as part of my degree (BA Economics and Japanese) at SOAS, University of London. I chose Osaka University because I was interested in the possibility of auditing the ordinary courses from the Economics department while also studying academic Japanese. Taking normal lectures together with Japanese undergraduates was challenging but extremely rewarding. By doing so not only did I benefit from taking lectures in which I was truly interested but also gave me the chance to improve my language abilities at a rapid pace.
The Economics department offered me a broad range of different lectures. My objective in coming to study Economics in Japan was to learn as much as possible about the economic history of Japan. So I took classes such as "Analysis of the Japanese Economy", "Comparative History of Living Standards: the West and the East" and "Business History of Japan". I also took a class called "Business Innovation", which was a series of lectures by different business leaders from across the country, who would come to Osaka University and tell us about the state of their businesses and markets. Talking to these people was a fantastic opportunity and made me learn a lot about real Japanese businesses. Each and every lecture was stimulating and I was able to learn a great deal about Japan. On top of that, Osaka happens to have been the stage for much of the early industrialisation and economic growth of the beginning of the twentieth century in Japan. Visiting the remaining period buildings and touring the city with what I had learned in class in mind was a very interesting experience.
Also, I took academic Japanese language classes, which helped me learn specialised economics vocabulary and terminology in Japanese. Another interesting class was "Multicultural Communication: Robots and Society". Osaka University is a world leading researcher and developer of robots. In this class I was able to learn about the research done at the University and visit these research labs, which was a unique experience.
Moreover throughout the year I was placed under the direct guidance of one of the Professors of the department and of one of the PhD students in a weekly tutorial system, in which I had the opportunity to discuss with them readings, which they would suggest, and ask as many questions as I could think of. The tutorial system was extremely helpful as it was an opportunity to read through academic material in Japanese, learn about topics not covered in my lectures, and clarify any doubts I had during the course of the year.
Joining a "circle" was an easy way of making friends. I took part in a circle called "Café com Leite", a Portuguese language society that gathered Japanese students majoring in Portuguese and Brazilian exchange students. Talking to Japanese students who were interested in Brazil was surprising for me and gave me a whole new perspective about my own country.
Living in Japan was not a completely new experience for me. In fact, I had a lot of experience living alone in foreign countries before coming to Japan. Nevertheless Osaka proved to be a very welcoming city that offered everything in terms of recreational activities and cultural enrichment opportunities. The geographical position of it in the middle of Japan and its excellent air and rail connections also meant that getting to know the rest of the country was fairly easy.
Overall coming to Osaka University and living in Japan for a whole year was incredibly invaluable and absolutely unforgettable. I will carry the things I have learned and the friendships I have made here forever.