Cecilia - Waseda Summer Session

Bachelor of Science
July 2018

My experience

Rather than focusing purely on biomedical science courses for the rest of my university life, I wanted to try something new. So, I decided to study politics and culture in Japan. I chose Japan because of the historical relevance it has to me as a Korean. Although it didn't assist me in my degree, studying overseas helped me to contact students of varying backgrounds and countries, which would otherwise have been impossible.

How has the experience changed you?

I was able to become more independent and able to appreciate the fact that there is indeed a difference in the cultural expectations of people from various countries. This helped broaden my horizons and mindset, which would be a vital trait for when entering society after university. I was also able to further hone my Japanese, which seems like a skill that may be beneficial in this world that is focused on globalisation. Since there were many different social expectations from friends of differing backgrounds, I was able to learn how to be flexible with my attitude and how I portrayed myself. This experience was incredibly beneficial in maturing me as a person.

Favourite memory

My favourite memories involved exploring museums (digital, contemporary and traditional museums) and being able to fully appreciate the cultural difference that exists between Japan and Australia. Although museums exist in both countries, there is a clear difference in what each museum prioritises in portraying. That is, some museums depict history with a specific light while others portray a different story. The idea that depending on one's socio-political standing, the story that they tell can be completely different despite the same objective facts was fascinating.

Top tips

After looking at some of the other students in this program, a good advice would be to really know the cultural and social expectations of the country that people are going to. This is more so if a person of a specific racial descent is going to a country that is predominantly composed of people with the same descent. This is because locals may not perceive a participant as a 'foreigner' and be harsher when seeing a socially inappropriate/incorrect act.


I received an Employability Grant of $1000.00 which was used in contributing to the fees and necessary fundings for living overseas. This did help lighten the monetary burden and helped with channelling money to funding that was necessary to fully enjoy the traditional/cultural experiences available in Japan.