I participated 2017 PAJAKO project between Ritsumeikan University Japan and Leipzig University in Germany. I stayed in Leipzig as an exchange student for four months from September to January. I was quite excited because Germany was the place where “Settlers of Catan” was born and I know that the author of my favorite children’s book “The Little Witch (Die kleine Hexe)” Otfried Preußler studied in Leipzig, and also had heard that this city was full of arts and music. However, I was also quite anxious about this time stay because I know that I am not a person who quickly adapts to new environments. Thanks to Professors and students in Leipzig (they are very friendly and helped us a lot to get used to Leipzig life), I could spend a fruitful time there.

The environment was very stimulating to doing my research, there was a game lab with easy access to various kinds of games and consoles. During my stay, I attended two classes related to my topic. Both classes were delivered in English, and I had to present at the end of the classes. There were other exchange students (MA students from the U.S) from a background in Journalism so we could discuss the topic of “Game” from different perspectives and it was good to know their thoughts about games. As a part of our final special activity for the game study class, all participant in the class visited the “Computer game Museum” (Computerspielemuseum) in Berlin.

Personally, I explored various places related to my research on “Serious Game” and board games in Leipzig, Munich and Essen. I also visited Harz University of Applied Sciences to participate in a workshop on “Board game design.” The lecturer of the workshop was “Piero Cioni”, the Senior Game Designer at Ubisoft-BlueByte and a board game designer for 30 years. Another Ph.D. student and I presented our research topics and could get much useful feedbacks.

During my free time, I tried to travel different places where are small video game archive or museums, and to challenge and get rid of timidity and to experience other new subcultures. A good thing for living in Leipzig is that there are many options for vegetarian and vegan everywhere (even I could have vegetarian currywurst), as a vegetarian it was convenient to eat outside and buy a grocery. There was one board game shop nearby our campus, I visited there several times, and I could hear some information about board games from people who are working there. They also recommended many good board games for my research.

I could get many articles from Leipzig library and also participated a special lecture for Ph.D. students that are dealing with “Citavi (references management program)”, it was beneficial for me.

Because of the language issues, I cannot speak German (and I am not a native English speaker either), it was a challenge to communicate with peoples when I did paper works like moving in & out, visa application and health insurances. The most challenging problem was a visa issue. I didn’t know the process of how to deal with it and when should I make an appointment, so I applied for a visa very late. As a result, I could get a visa, but I think it should have done it earlier (it was difficult to get a correct information before we arrive in Leipzig). There was a workshop related to this exchange program and weshould prepare for it, there was a lot of thing I had to do for this workshop because the topic I wanted to present this time was a new topic I only got started in October (and the workshop was 15-16, November), so there was a little bit pressure to prepare and honestly, I was not satisfied with my presentation.

Overall, it was a valuable experience for me that led me to widen my research topic to board games, and I truly thankful for being one of the participants of this program.