James - Waseda University

Bachelor of Arts/Laws
Semester 1, 2018
Just go for it! Making friends in a new destination is a great feeling.

Academic experience

I studied advanced-level Japanese language courses (level 7-8) at Waseda University. The most enjoyable aspect of studying at a different academic system was the high-level of academics which was available in abundance with regards to Japanese language study. The biggest challenge I faced was the amount of subjects that I was required to take (11), and to overcome this I had to set out a concise weekly schedule for myself and also to ensure that I was doing plenty of study each day.

Personal experience

The greatest thing I gained was the making of friendships with people from all around the world, which I am sure will be of great benefit to me in the future. I also believe that my language skills in Japanese further developed to a greater extent than what would be possible studying in Australia.


I lived off-campus in an international dorm that was run with the support of my host university. Despite living off-campus, the walk to campus was approximately 5 minutes and the dorm was very conveniently located. I would recommend to students to live in a dorm like the one I did, as this will allow you to live very close to university while also being able to meet like-minded exchange students just like yourself.


I would recommend students to budget for anywhere upwards of $1000/month. This is due to the fact that rent in Tokyo is quite expensive (mine costing approx. $1000/month, being at the upper-end), however food and entertainment being very affordable (dinner can be had for $10). Transportation and travel can all add-up without you realising it, thus it's best to aim high with your budget to ensure that you can enjoy travelling and experiencing Japan without constrained by financial restraints.

Professional Development

The biggest attribute I believe I have developed during my exchange experience is the ability to interact and befriend many people from all walks of life. Living in Japan, life is completely different to Australia, and so are the type of people you meet. Luckily, as I lived in an international dorm, I was able to interact with many people from all around the world, which has allowed me to make friends with people in places that I have never been to before. I believe that this ability to communicate effectively with people from different countries has contributed greatly to my professional development.


The highlight of my experience was definitely making new friends and spending valuable time with them. I believe that I have made some friends for life, and look forward to visiting them one-day in their own countries.

Top tips

The biggest piece of advice I would give to students considering applying to Waseda University, would be to plan out in advance what subjects they would like to enrol in. The enrolment period is very short (roughly 1 week) and there are 3 rounds in which you can apply for courses (and see if you get in), and after the enrolment period subjects cannot be dropped. Thus, it's important to enrol only in subjects that you would really like to do, and to make sure that you apply for subjects that are not too easy or hard for your level.