Penny - University of Tsukuba

B Architectural Design
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

I took both courses of architectural design and Japanese language. I was glad to experience a different studio culture in Japan. We spent a lot of time on physical models and I was quite satisfied with the outcomes. We had a chance to design houses for a real estate developer and I received a prize from them.
A challenge would be there are no architectural courses been taught in English. The enrollment also took me some time. Japan has a very different education system compare to Australia. I finally had to take 12 courses to get enough credits.

Personal experience

I made lots of Japanese friends in the architecture class. I always talk to them in Japanese for practicing. There were lots of exchange students coming from many other different countries in Tsukuba and we had a great time together.


I lived in the campus. The largest room is about 450 AUD/month, excluding electricity and water fee. The dormitory is a little bit far from the shopping center. It is better to rent a bicycle. Each room has a bathroom and a small kitchen.


Rent is about 450 AUD per month and food is about 200 to 300 AUD per month. Transport depends on distance and frequency of travel.


Transport might be a big challenge as Japan has a very complicated traffic system. I downloaded traffic apps and timetables to plan my route.

Professional Development

It is the first time that I lived on my own. I learned how to manage my time more properly.


I had the chance to study with the famous architect Professor Kaijima Momoyo from Atelier Bow-wow.

Top tips

Bring a warm jacket as the weather is still quite cold in April. Buy a traffic card (suica card) and you can keep charging it.