Program at UQ: Bachelor of Economics / Bachelor of Arts

It seems like only yesterday that I was packing my bags and secretly freaking out…I was finally on my way to Japan! Now it’s almost at the end and I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown!

Japanese has always been an important part of my life. I started studying it in primary school, and carried it through high school so it made sense for me to keep going with it into my university years. I’m almost at the end of my dual Economics/Arts degree, with Japanese as my extended major in Arts, and because I believe that the best way to learn a foreign language is to live and study in the country itself, this year I did just that. I have spent 2009 at Komazawa University in Setagaya, Tokyo. I am in the Economics department and so have studied Asian, American and International Economics subjects as well as normal Japanese language classes. The classes have definitely been challenging, economics is difficult enough without learning it in a foreign language! But all of my teachers were very understanding and just asked that I ‘do my best’.

The first few weeks of classes were a bit daunting, at 176cm, blonde and fair skinned, to say that I stood out would be an understatement, and I quickly realised that if I were to miss any classes that I would be conspicuous in my absence. After all of the students got used to seeing me around campus, I was then able to make some amazing new friends and have lots of fun memories of karaoke, cooking parties and trips away that I will treasure forever.

This has been without a doubt the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. Being away from my family and friends, in a country where for me anonymity is impossible with the added challenge of constantly using a foreign language, has definitely made me become more independent and self reliant; I feel that I have grown personally more in this one year than in my previous 20 years combined! I would recommend exchange to every university student; the life experiences and memories that you will experience are priceless.

my friend Yumi and I at Ueno Park going the Tokyo National Museum


me hugging one side of the gate at the entrance to the meiji jingu shrine in harajuku


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