How to Survive APU: Top Tips for New Students (The Blog Edition) - Articles | APU Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

How to Survive APU: Top Tips for New Students (The Blog Edition)

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I am a member of APU’s Student Social Media Unit, and several of us were given the task of coming up with our top five items that we think new students definitely need during their first few weeks at APU. After a long and heated discussion (as is often the case with group work at APU!), the group settled on the items featured in the fun (and slightly exaggerated) video above.

To give the video a bit more context, I’d like to elaborate a bit on each of these items as to why they made the top 5 list! Enjoy!

1. Plug Adaptor

An electrical adapter to allow you to charge your devices was by far everyone’s first choice item. Being able to communicate with people back home is crucial when you first arrive at APU. Because when you first arrive, you, of course, need to 1) let your family and friends know you arrived safely at AP House and 2) check your Instagram feed. For that, you’ll need your phone or laptop, and most importantly they will need to be charged.

Make sure to do your research and figure out which type of adapter you will need to work with your electronics! Even if you want to contact your family, you’re not going to get anywhere trying to plug your devices into an outlet that doesn’t fit the prongs on your plug. So basically, no matter what, plug adapters first. Or if you’re lucky, like Ruth was in the video, you may have a friend who will let you borrow theirs.

2. A Pillow You Like

This item was slightly contested, but most students agreed that a big, fluffy pillow from home was a must-bring item. When adapting to a new environment, your comfort is key. And I would even go so far as to say that the first few weeks at APU can determine your mood for the rest of the semester. AP House does provide a pillow, but in all honesty, I found it quite uncomfortable. It is a small, stiff pillow filled with some kind of dried mystery beans. This style of pillow is actually quite common in Japan—if you’ve ever stayed at a hotel here, you may have run into one before.

Of course, you can always buy your own pillow once you get here. But in my experience, it was about three or four days until I was settled enough to travel downtown for shopping. So take our advice, and bring your favorite pillow from home!

3. Comfort Food

The transition of suddenly switching your diet from your own country’s food to another’s can be somewhat jarring, and until you get used to it, you may feel a bit out of sorts and slightly homesick. To remedy this, we recommend bringing some of your favorite snacks, spices, and sauces to make you feel comfortable until you get used to living and eating abroad. Or you might get stuck eating instant ramen for every. single. meal.

4. Clothing

It’s time to talk about what will take up the majority of your suitcase space: clothing. To put it simply, we recommend being very selective about what clothes you bring, and don’t overpack (ie., no crocodile hats necessary)! (Save that extra precious luggage for your pillow.)

As a side note, you’ll notice the video featured a scene where students chose outfits for the entrance ceremony. During this event, students are encouraged to wear their country’s traditional clothes. I come from Indonesia, a country born of many different tribal cultures, each with their own special uniforms, each more brilliant than the last… and yet I lacked the foresight to bring any for the entrance ceremony.

So at the ceremony, everyone was wearing their national garb while I was there in just a simple semi-formal shirt and jeans. I really missed out on the chance to share my country’s culture with everyone. On that day, remember that you stand not only as a new student but also as a representative of your country’s youth.

5. Japanese Currency

And this brings us to the last essential item we decided on: cash.

There’s always a debate on how much cash one should bring for their first few months at APU. But, keep in mind that exchanging money in Beppu, while not impossible, can be a bit inconvenient as you need to visit one of the banks downtown. Making sure you have enough cash on hand will really make life easier for you in the long run.

I believe APU recommends you bring enough cash to last around two months. This will allow you to pay for food, transportation, and daily necessities until your bank account is all set up. And hopefully, you will have a bit leftover to enjoy some fun activities with your new friends.

That is it from the Social Media Unit—we look forward to seeing you here and enjoy your first few weeks on campus!



Kilameida Irwantoro (Kila) is an APS graduate from Indonesia. During his time at APU, he was a member of the APU Social Media Unit and a regular contributor to this blog. If he’s not hanging in a game center or the library, you’re likely to find him typing away in McDonald’s. He dislikes small talk and prefers to talk at length about Plato, or the latest episode of whatever anime he’s watching at the time.

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