The first ANU students to take part in the government’s New Colombo Plan have returned from study trips to Japan with an enriched knowledge of the country’s culture, politics and society.
The 12 first-year undergraduate students spent four weeks at Tokyo’s Waseda University under the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, which allows short-term study in the pilot locations of Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The students were enrolled in the Summer in Tokyo course offered by the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.
“I learnt a lot about Japanese culture, and now I have friends all over the globe that I’ll keep in touch with. It’s a trip that has definitely changed my life,” said Ee Faye Chong.
Fellow student Sam Guilfoyle said the study in Tokyo kick-started his understanding of Japanese language and culture.
“I arrived only being able to say one word of Japanese, Konnichiwa, but not being able to pronounce it properly,” he said.
Outside the classroom, Sam enjoyed eating some of the best sashimi in the world and climbing Mt Fuji.
“It’s a really good opportunity to get out and do your own thing while still being productive and working toward something,’’ Sam said.
The cohort represented the first group of ANU students to undertake an English-based study program in Japan.
The students learned about Japanese culture, history, business, or politics, and studied an introductory Japanese language course.
Ee Faye said she encouraged other students to consider New Colombo Plan study opportunities.
“You get so many different senses from being in an environment which isn’t your standard Australian university life,” she said.
“I had great teachers and learned a lot in the classroom. But being in a different environment allowed us to have a cultural experience as well.
“I think it is something everyone should try. Maybe it’s not for you but I definitely want to go on exchange to Japan or somewhere else.”
More information about the Summer in Tokyo is available on the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific website.
Find out more about the New Colombo Plan at http://www.dfat.gov.au/new-colombo-plan/