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Yu Ninagawa   <<

To tell the truth, I had been nervous just before leaving Japan. I was afraid of having language problems. But within a week after I had arrived in Stuttgart I changed my mind. Because the first week was really brilliant. It was not difficult to make friends. The students at the German language course were so friendly, so we could be friends soon. We made a short trip every weekend, travelling together on a group ticket. Sometimes we went to small towns that could not be found in a guide book.

The German course was a really interesting class. I had not liked to learn foreign languages before, because I had thought that was too hard and not interesting for me. Actually, I had learned German at my home university once a week for 2 years, but I couldn’t remember even the declension. But in Stuttgart I could enjoy learning German. Of course that was hard, but I tried to keep listening. So finally, I could pass the exam and also I could understand some easy sentences in German.

In October my semester started. Almost all classes were in German, so I took just the “German language course” and the “project course of architecture”. Because I didn’t take much classes, I was able to make many trips. I went to Austria, England, France, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Greece and Switzerland. I saw so many buildings, famous architecture, traditional houses, huge cathedrals and more. I could feel much, think much, and also I found some ideas for the project.

The project course was a great experience. I had discussions about architecture with many students. It was interesting that sometimes their opinion was very different from the general opinion in Japan. The project took place on a huge scale and we had real practice situation in Stuttgart. Everything was first time for me. On the one hand of course I worried whether I could finish, but the other hand I was excited. And the end of the semester, fortunately, I could win at the competition.

In Stuttgart I learned so much, not only for architecture. Although I stayed only for half a year, it was fuller and richer than the others of my life.

Nationality: Japanese - Kyoto Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture