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STUDENT INTERVIEW: Zoltan Heredi, Hungary, AIJP Program
Euan: Where are you from?
Zoltan: I'm Hungarian, from Debrecen.
E: Which course are you studying in?
Z: The AIJP Academic program.
E: What were you doing before you came to Yamasa?
Z: I was studying Linguistics and English at the University of Science in Debrecen. I have one more year to study before I graduate.
E: Did you start as a beginner when you came to Yamasa?
Z: Just about. I knew some words, and hiragana and katakana, but not enough to really get by - not enough to have even a simple conversation.
E: Where did you study Japanese before?
Z: At my university, all students of linguistics have to study one semester of Japanese. I really found Japanese interesting, so after that I carried on for another 3 semesters.
E: Were you interested in Japanese before you started studying at university?
Z: No, I never thought about it at all. I didn't really know anything about Japan, but once I started learning the language, I wanted to carry on after the one semester.
E: How long have you been at Yamasa?
Z: Altogether 8 months. I started in October 1999 on the student visa, and then went home for one month at the end of March. I came back again two months ago.
E: Is this the first time you have lived in Japan?
E: What is your impression of Japan so far?
Z: Japan can be a little difficult to get used to. For me, it is so different to Europe that it has been quite challenging at times. However, if you make the effort to try and adapt, it really is worthwhile.
E: What are you plans after graduation?
Z: I have one more year of study at university before I graduate there, and then I want to apply for a doctorate in Linguistics. I think the study of Japanese will be quite useful - it's a completely different way of thinking to European languages, so you get a new perspective.
E: Where are you living at the moment?
Z: In Yamasa Villa 4.
E: What is your accommodation like?
Z: For one person, it's great. For two sharing a room, I found it a little small, but then it's still much bigger than anything I have seen in other parts of Japan.
E: How do you get to classes?
Z: By bike.
E: What is the biggest challenge or problem you've faced so far in Japan?
Z: Money - it hasn't been cheap living in Japan. But, I've always had part-time jobs. My last one was in a hotel doing odd jobs, waiting, cleaning, working in the kitchen and so on.
E: Any surprises you would like to share?
Z: I think the most surprising thing was at work. In the "arubaito" or part-time jobs, even being the lowest rank in the company, everyone was treated equally - foreigners included. And, if you left a job undone, or missed something, someone else would do it without complaining. You were expected to do the same though. Maybe I was just working in a nice place, but it seems like an indication of a slightly different mentality in Japan.