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  1. I was (and still technically am) a Japanese citizen living in Australia, who took the Australian Year 11-12, and went to an Australian university. My parents were very supportive of my decision to go to university in Australia, and even today, I think it was the right choice for me. In saying this, however, I also am curious about the Japanese university system, as, unlike my parents, who had experience with the Japanese university system, I was out of that system for the entirety of my uni studies. My impression was that while the entry to my former university turned out to be almost comically easy (*), the HSC/VCE/SACE's TER/entry score (which is probably the Australian equivalent to the Japanese hensachi score) just did not indicate how well will I go through my university degree. In other words, it was (at that time) unimaginably difficult (and time-consuming) to get through, which resulted in nearly half of my year group drop out after their first year. While some of the classes were surprisingly passive, we nevertheless still had to do our own thinking and speaking, and in the more active classes, I remember we all had a lively (as in casual, yet informed) chat/discussion about whatever we were studying in. I wasn't exactly fond of the sheer difficulty and the lack of any free time whatsoever we had to deal with from the very get go, but at least it was a system that made sense in its intent. My parents, on the other hand, told me that the Japanese system would involve more passive learning, partially due to the culture, and also due to how almost comically easy the actual studies in general are compared to the examination hell that comes before. Though there are exceptions to the latter part of the sentence - sciences-based faculties are considered to be harder ones, and law and medicine would probably be just as hard in a Japanese university as in an Australian one. In saying this, however, I've never been to a university in Japan, so I have no first-hand idea. So I want to ask you the following questions... For those (particularly non-Japanese members of this community) who studied at a Japanese university, how was your learning experience? And for those (particularly Japanese members here) who studied at an overseas one, similarly, how was your learning experience? And for those who did both, how were they in comparison? (*) - It was the University of Melbourne, which - in terms of domestic ranking - would be the Australian equivalent to University of Kyoto or Hitotsubashi, or one of the Ivy Leagues that is not Harvard.
  2. So I've just started up again in university and the subject of my English class is Lord of the Rings. I'm excited to read, but this is a very long and intimidating text, so I'm considering buying an (unabridged) audio book. I'm just wondering if you guys think this would be a good idea, because anyway I go about it, the audio book's expensive, and I'd have to buy it on top of the solid version to keep track of page numbers. Also, has anyone else used an audio book in a similar situation and could tell me what they experienced? (as far as results are concerned)
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