Kanako - The University of Tokyo

B. Business Management
Semester 2, 2016

Academic experience

I have participated in a program under a title of “U-STEP” standing for universities wide exchange program. In University of Tokyo (UTokyo) had a variety of other exchange programs, I was in a new course called “Global studies in Asia” where I was able to attain Asian histories surrounding Japan during the pre and post-war times. The teaching method is quite different from UQ. In most cases you are required to participate in weekly classes, takes notes and read the assigned readings until its the end of the semester and you either sit for a test or submit a term paper about what you have learnt in a course.The most challenging part of the course was mostly managing your time to submit your papers within the required time frame. Unlike UQ, you take approximately 7~10 courses per semester and the due date clashes.

Personal experience

For the first two months, I was challenged in adopting Japanese style school life and living in dorms with other people around the world. The second two month, I was embracing myself to go out there and create Japanese friend. This was the toughest period during my exchange before meeting a girl from UTokyo who had taken me everywhere and introduced me to her friend and people from the ‘Circles’ (Circles are basically like the societies at UQ). The third period was developing my Japanese skills by studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1. I have spent most of my free times studying to improve my grammar and increasing vocabulary. 

AccommodationSemester 2 Exchange Group

I was living in Komaba International Lodge Annex. The dorm was 5 minutes walk from Campus, very convenient and walking distance to two major stations. Except, the chance of getting into the Lodge around Komaba campus is very rare, most people were in a suburban lodge called Mitaka. The Mitaka lodge is very cheap but far from campus and social life in major cities was difficult, so if you can get a scholarship try finding your own room in a flat share.

Professional development and employability

Definitely, my Japanese skill rocketed high! Listening to the students talking normally in Japanese was difficult at times until I got used to hearing them. Also, I used to read lots of Manga in Australia so I am familiar with a little slangs and dorky culture that definitely assisted my hearing.


Experiencing the Japanese culture and food!! The food was so good in Japan that I had to worry about getting diabetes halfway through the stay because of the binge eating sweets and goodies. I also travelled a lot with my dorm mates and students. The photos of the local speciality food that I have eaten ables me to look back on the wonderful times I have spent around Japan. 

Top tips

Don’t be shy. It is scary talking to Japanese local students, but you can’t make the most of your time in Japan without getting those local students to take you outside the Australian travel book! They are more than happy to help you and talking to you in English/Japanese.

Kanako - The University of Tokyo