Eponine - Kwansei Gakuin University

B Arts
Semester 2, 2022
I can definitely say that I have become more independent and improved in my organisation and adaptive skills not only in terms of education, but also in aspects of everyday life.


Because it had alays been a huge goal of mine to fully immerse myself in Japanese culture and language. I found my passion for the language after Japan itself has always had a huge impact on my life, however, my real inspiration to start developing these skills began from when I was a junior student in the transfer program for international students. When I could understand and start to engage in conversation that wasn't just English, there was a sense of accomplishment for myself that I could bring familiarity and conversation to these students who came to experience Australia from Japan. I believe that this opportunity will be such an amazing experience to learn from the opposite side of that same coin and it was events such as these that helped my affection towards Japan and her language.

Personal Development

It's almost impossible to fit and talk about every single valuable moment I have had on this experience – the personal developments/ improvements, the amazing people I have been very fortunate to meet, the beautiful places I’ve visited and, the amazing both current and traditional Japanese cuisine that I have eaten over my time there. I met countless different kinds of people from all over the world and have been fortunate to have many of them as my friends. It was a very interesting experience being able to compare our similarities and differences, with our different cultural aspects. I had participated on this Exchange experience to Japan, mainly to study the Japanese language, however, upon meeting my new friends and classmates from all over the world, it was a lot of fun learning Dutch, German, Norwegian, Korean and many other languages, learning from each other whenever we had the chance to.

Academic Development

Truthfully, I was quite overwhelmed for at least the first month. Not only was the workload much more than what I was used to at my home university, I also had to accommodate to return studying internally, on-campus. Due to covid having such a great impact on UQ at the time and with my own personal situations as well, I had been studying with UQ externally which meant I was either mainly at home or a library on Zoom attending classes. I was aware that I had to attend classes on-campus in Japan, but found it challenging with the workload that was more than what I was used to studying back home with UQ. However, after a short period, I managed to adapt with this new schedule and gradually became more and more familiar with the education difference.  I definitely enjoyed returning to having classes on-campus as it is much more interacting and productive with class content as well as building better relationships with your teacher and classmates.

Professional Development

I can definitely say that I have become more independent and improved in my organisation and adaptive skills not only in terms of education, but also in aspects of everyday life. It can be quite confusing with learning a new transportation system to travel around in a foreign country, but with the help of my peers and having patience, I familiarized myself quite quickly. I would say that I have improved with my organization skills, independent thinking, time management skills, voicing my opinions when in need and confidence in trying things I had never done before. I believe that Exchange places you in a position which always oneself to improve in all sorts of aspects by offering valuable experience opportunities.


My first priority with organising my financing, was to assure that my accommodation for the whole semester and my round-trip flight tickets were both completely covered. Both of them together costed me roughly around ~$7000 overall. With transport, KGU provided us information in the orientation, that we were entitled to student tertiary fares for public transportation which could be quite costly with the everyday commute to uni. My advice to outcoming students would be to listen carefully and familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions to receive the student fares. As for food, because I stayed in a dorm that provided that for me, that expense is included with the rent for the dorm. Only the occasional lunch out on the weekdays and the Sunday meals when they have a day off, that I would spend money on eating out with my friends. This costed me roughly around ~$250 a month. I had also put aside some funding for my leisure such as shopping, going out on trips with friends and a few other fun ideas to do. My advice would be to put some extra funding on the side if possible, especially if you want to make the most out of exchange in a foreign country.


I was one of very fortunate students to have received the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant which I am very grateful for. It allowed me to confidently cover my rent for the entire semester and also the entire cost of my return flight tickets. I had also successfully applied for and received the OS-Help Loan which allowed me to cover more important expenses such as visa application fees, transport costs, educational material (textbooks), and etc. These two funds that I was very fortunate to receive, had taken a huge weight of my shoulders financially, and really allowed me to confidently enjoy my valuable experience overseas.


At the beginning of applying for exchange, due to the unfortunate circumstance regarding Covid, Kwansei Gakuin (my exchange university) was unable to offer me options. Instead, UQ assisted by providing me ideas and links to options such as private accommodation/ renting, share houses, hotels and a few more alternative accommodation choices. Because I had never lived in Japan before, there was many things that I did not understand and so I spent a lot of time reading through and searching for a suitable option. Fortunately, nearing the exchange, I was contacted by both UQ and Kwansei Gakuin that Dorm accommodation options were resumed, and I had a wave of relief. My living arrangements in Japan were more than amazing. I had stayed at Global House Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi for my time there and I am very grateful to have been a resident with them. The dorm parents and other personnel there were the sweetest people who took great care in making sure we were more than comfortable and felt at home. I would definitely say that the pros most definitely outweighed the cons. The best among the pros would be the lovely dorm parents and other staff there, the cleanliness of the lounge/ bathrooms etc, the meals every Monday-Saturday/ breakfast and dinner, etc. As for the cons, I had visited another Dorm that the friends I made stayed at, and if I were to do a comparison, my Dorm did not accommodate the option of a comfortable open area to relax and spend time with others as this other dorm did. The advice I would give to future students would be to thoroughly look through what your choices of accommodations offer and make sure to also understand which accommodation type would be most suitable for yourself – such as: if you are very social, assuring you have a good environment to spend time with others or, if you know yourself to be someone who overlooks your meals when you are busy or are unmotivated to prepare them yourself every day, perhaps a dorm that provides that for you would be a better option as your health is the most important especially in a foreign country.


It was definitely the connections I made with many individuals who all came from different parts from all around the world. The connections and bonds I’ve made on this short semester in Japan are truly, invaluable. Experiencing Japan together and what the country had to offer us, was most definitely the highlight for me.

Advice/Top Tips

My biggest advice would be to stay ON TOP of things at all times. This includes every application, paperwork and things that you must do in preparation before and after the exchange (applying for visa/ visa requirements, funding suggestions/ ideas, accommodation, health insurance/ medication, Centrelink requirements, etc). Even if you believe that there is still time, I most definitely advise that it is 100% helpful to yourself, to be on top of everything than to rush and possibly miss something very important and leave things to the last minute. Everything takes time. Being organised and having good time management, especially with how important it is to be an Exchange student, is imperative for a smooth experience. But most important of all? Is to enjoy yourself to the fullest. Don’t be afraid to try new things, to meet new people, challenging yourself to speak the language and mingle with the locals, you’d be surprised how much fun but also far it will get you. Be confident, safe and to have fun!