Gladys - Ritsumeikan Summer Japanese Program Session 2

Bachelor of Arts
July 2018

My experience

I am studying Japanese as a part of my Bachelor of Arts degree, so I planned to come to Kyoto to further enhance my Japanese language, and get to know the local culture. Culture shock can be challenging, such as adapting the language, habits etc. However, I enjoyed the experience by further communicating with the locals to understand their perspectives and their culture, which eventually establish mutual understandings.

How has the experience changed you?

Besides learning the language and culture, I learned the importance of taking initiatives and being self-independent. I find it rewarding to take the first step to talk to the people around you, as they might be as shy as you are.

Also, it's alright to make mistakes along the way, especially when you are learning a foreign language. Making mistakes is a learning process, and a reminder of your current level, which gives you motivation to do better in the future.

Favourite memory

During my exchange, The Taiko performances of The Gion Matsuri festival in July is my favourite memory. Without the use of words, they are able to roar the crowd into cheers with their distinctive enthusiasm and passion, connecting both locals and foreigners to enjoy the moment. That moment gave me some insights, that it is possible to connect people without considering language or culture barriers in the simplest of things.

Top tips

I would advise doing proper research about the country where you are planning to go on an exchange. Their cultures may be different from what you expect, so it is better to be aware of the local social etiquette and learning a few basic phrases of the language.


Thanks to UQ, I received $1,000 Travel Grant for my exchange. It provided me with the chance to expand my interests in the Japanese culture and experiencing the everyday livelihood of the country, giving me a broader perspective and awareness of the global society.