When I was a high school student I thought vaguely that I wanted to go abroad to study during my university life. At that time I wanted to challenge myself with something new and big. After entering university, I started to study politics and business, and through that, I started to wonder what Japanese politics and business are like from other nationalities' perspective and began to think that I would like to study politics and business from another point of view. Therefore, I decided to pursue a university exchange program to go to Australia, a very multicultural country.
There are two main reasons that I study abroad. Firstly, I would like to learn the ability to see and understand things multi-directionally. This is because, today’s society, especially politics and business, are getting more and more complex and I found it necessary to see and understand things not from one side but from multiple sides. At the Australian university where I study, there is a class system called ‘tutorial’ and in that class, students have an opportunity to discuss the topic and exchange opinions with each other. Also, I live in a dormitory where there are a lot of international students,so it is possible to feel familiar with the difference of cultures and values. Secondly, I would like to learn specialized knowledge. As I am a junior at university, this time is important to learn things deeply and establish the specialized knowledge. I understand that it is very difficult to learn such specialized knowledge in non-native language, but English has the most information and international environment, so I would like to challenge myself to learn deeply.
In Australia, I am having busy but fruitful days.
At Murdoch University, I am taking not only Politics and Business units which I majored, but also Media and Australian Indigenous studies which I am interested in, and I am studying broader subjects. The curriculum of Australian university is really unique because of the combination of the lecture and tutorial, discussion class. Therefore, it is essential to prepare and review before and after the class. In the tutorial, it is really hard to catch up with the discussion but it is really interesting to exchange ideas and opinions with students who have different national and cultural backgrounds. Also, special lectures are held regularly, and it is possible to learn with many different perspectives. Moreover, there are a lot of support systems for international students, and students are able to use these systems without appointment almost all weekdays. I am studying hard to use these systems and get supports from professors and friends.
Outside of the classes, I am doing some volunteer works. I am doing two main volunteers: assistant of Japanese class at local school and educational support activity through AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring). Both of these are a quite new experience for me, and I am really enjoining to volunteer.
Also, because of my accommodation is the dormitory, sometimes I feel difficulty to do either of housework and study but I feel fulfilled every day.
During about 10 months, 2 semesters, I have had many kinds of experiences. I learned not only about my major of politics and business but also about media and Australian Indigenous studies which I have been interested in. Therefore, I could challenge myself to learn what I cannot study in Japan. Through these classes, I felt how difficult it is to learn academic subjects in a second language in terms of understanding, discussing, and expressing myself. On the other hand, I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment when I could overcome these difficulties. Additionally, to compare with studying in Japan, there were more assignments, and it though took some time to get used to it, I was really happy when my efforts were rewarded.
Outside of my classes, I participated regularly in some volunteer work both as an assistant of the Japanese teacher at a local school and as a mentor of the AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring) program, which provides an educational support system for students who have the background as Australian Indigenous people. Through being a Japanese teaching assistant, I could discover new things which I had not realized in my entire life. At the same time, I knew as much about the difficulty and happiness of teaching something to someone. Regarding the AIME activities, there were no Japanese people so I was worried but excited for the first activity day. Through this activity, I really enjoyed learning and I could share that feeling with program mentees.
It was not an easy thing for me to challenge completely new things in a new place, but I had fruitful semesters at Murdoch University.