My post-graduation dream is to keep shooting films.
Kyoto University of the Arts
Wen Shaojie (From China)
※Interview in 2021
How did you decide where to study abroad? Please tell us why you chose Kyoto in the end.
When choosing a city to study in Japan, my priority was the major that I wanted to study. Kyoto University of the Arts was one of the few universities in Japan where you can study film production. Film is a complex artwork. Kyoto is a city with a long history and full of Japanese traditional culture – which makes it very complex as well. So, back then, I thought studying in Kyoto was like killing two birds with one stone. You know, making movies in Kyoto while experiencing Japanese culture.
What are you currently studying? If you’ve already graduated, what did you study before?
I studied film at university.
Before studying abroad, what kind of image did you have of Kyoto?
My image of Kyoto was that it was a famous tourist destination with a long history where Japanese traditional culture has been passed down.
How did your image of Kyoto change when you actually studied abroad here?
After I moved and settled in Kyoto, I realized that Kyoto has a very young and hip vibe. Kyoto is, in fact, known as a university town full of young people and is home to world-recognized, cutting-edge tech companies.
What were you nervous about before studying abroad? Please tell us in detail.
Before coming to Japan, I had no Japanese skills, no friends or acquaintances in Japan, and I didn’t know anything about Japan at all. When you find yourself living in a place where you are total stranger, anxiousness is natural. I was no exception. For instance, I was worried about how to rent an apartment and what my daily life would be like because I had no idea.
What about Kyoto makes you glad to have come here? What has made an impression on you?
Four years have gone by since I came to Kyoto, and fortunately, I’ve made so many friends at university. In the beginning, I thought that I would graduate without having made any friends through school. However, probably because a lot of my classmates were very sociable Kansai people, I made so many cherished memories through making movies and hanging out with them.
Was there anything especially difficult about studying abroad?
I struggled with improving my communication skills on the film set.
What do you think is most appealing about studying in Kyoto?
In Kyoto, it’s easy to concentrate on your studies. It has a very calm environment which is perfect for studying. I really love taking a walk along/around the Kamo River and relaxing when I’m tired.
How do you want to utilize your study abroad experience in the future?
For me, studying abroad is something that helps you find yourself and grow. How do you deal with people in an unfamiliar environment, how do you overcome difficulties by yourself, and how do you manage your stress? Through studying abroad, you have to face all of these things on your own. It is not just about acquiring knowledge and skills in a foreign country. I think that this experience of studying in Kyoto will be my greatest advantage in any field in the future because it helped me enhance my abilities holistically.
For me, studying abroad is something that helps you to find yourself and to grow. How do you deal with people in an unfamiliar environment, how do you overcome difficulties by yourself, and how do you adjust your stress? Through studying abroad, you have to face all of them on your own. It is not just about acquiring knowledge and skills in a foreign country. I think that this experience of studying in Kyoto will be my great advantage in any field in the future because it helped me to enhance my ability holistically.
What is your post-graduation dream?
To keep shooting films.
Lastly, please give a message to students considering studying abroad in Kyoto.
Kyoto is not only a place where you can concentrate on your studies, but also a town where you can enjoy the four seasons of Japan. When you are tired of studying, I recommend that you take a leisurely stroll around the town while experiencing the seasons. For example, “Philosopher’s Path” (Tetsugakuno-Michi) in the Spring, the Kamo River in the Summer, Manshu-in Temple and Shisen-do Temple in the Autumn, and Kinkaku-ji Temple on a snowy day in the Winter. The beauty of Japan is all right here in your daily life in Kyoto. Kyoto is a really wonderful place, so please do not miss the chance to experience it.