Matthew - Sophia University

B Arts/Business Management
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

I studied NGO Management, International Business, and Operations Management. The most enjoyable thing about studying under a different academic system is learning to adapt to the different ways of teaching and class structures, which personally feels like a nice change to what I’m used to at UQ. Enrolling in classes was a very straightforward experience, but it’s competitive enough that I had to do a reduced load because I hadn’t planned enough to work around the courses I couldn’t get into.

Personal experience

I gained allot of skills around independence and perseverance, and a keener appreciation for a culture radically different to what I’m used to. In an increasingly globalised world, I believe it’s important for people to understand how others in the world live and the differences between us so that we can operate in a way that’s more considerate of each other’s cultures.


I stayed off-campus at DK House Shinkoiwa, which had a semi-dorm like environment. The bedrooms were private, but the kitchen, bathroom, and shower rooms were shared. I enjoyed most the location of the lodging, as I never felt constricted in my movement no matter where I wanted to get to in Tokyo. I would suggest that anyone looking accommodation to put a lot of research into where they stay and see if the living conditions they believe they can deal with for their length of stay.


Overall, I didn’t find expenses too much different from Australia, although I didn’t cook any food while I was there and always ate out so I could try the local dishes. Certain things would be much cheaper then their Australian counterparts, but others would be more expensive and in the end I believe it all evened out.


The biggest challenge I faced was not knowing any Japanese beyond a couple of words, and not studying any language courses to further my knowledge. I overcame this by just being patient and doing my best to non-verbally communicate what I needed, and everyone I needed to purchase from was very kind and didn’t get frustrated.

Professional Development

Studying in Tokyo taught me a lot from a business perspective that I can use in my professional career. I believe I now have a better understanding of Japanese attitudes towards business, which gives me a greater degree of understanding how to work with them in the future.


Going to the hedgehog café in Akihabara and holding some cute animals!

Top tips

I would suggest that anyone exchanging to Sophia be ready to be flexible in their schedule, as sometimes getting into the courses you want can be even more competitive then at UQ.