One of my best life experiences was the one year I spent in Fukuoka studying international law at Kyushu University.

I learned about this exciting opportunity while in law school at the University of Victoria. Every year, a graduate of UVic’s Faculty of Law is selected to participate in Kyushu University’s LL.M. Program in International Economic and Business Law. I had studied the Japanese language and culture in my earlier university life. Kyushu University was a perfect way for me to connect my background in Japanese studies with my future career in law.

One of the most memorable parts of my experience was getting to know people from around the world. I met students from East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Europe. The faculty members and visiting professors also came from different countries. Studying abroad not only allows you to encounter differing perspectives in the classroom, but to also learn about the diverse cultures and backgrounds of people you may seldom have a chance to meet.

Studying abroad has also benefited me greatly in my professional career. I practise immigration law, so the skills and knowledge I gained in Japan have been helpful in allowing me to better serve my clients. I often hear people make reference to the importance of “soft skills”, such as having a sensitivity or understanding of different cultures or customs. My experience studying abroad helped cultivate the soft skills that are so valuable nowadays.

Fukuoka is a world-class city, yet much less crowded than Tokyo or Osaka. It has beautiful beaches and mountains nearby, not to mention plenty of hot springs. And the food is particularly good there. The people are also very easygoing. All in all, my year in Fukuoka was very rewarding and fulfilling. I will always remember my time there with fondness.

Yuji Matson