Yoshihiro Komori - step out of your comfort zone on exchange and internships
Yoshihiro Komori arrived in Australia in early 2022 to study a Bachelor of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU, part of the dual-degree (Bachelor of Global Liberal Arts) program with Ritsumeikan University.
Like most young people, Yoshihiro was unsure what he wanted to study after finishing school. “I thought about pursuing a medical degree but then realised that it was not my thing. I ran into an advertisement for this exchange program, and I thought it seemed interesting. Liberal arts provides you with a wide range of different options, so you get a chance to explore your interest. Another thing that attracted me to this program was the opportunity to study abroad”.
Liberal arts provides you with a wide range of different options, so you get a chance to explore your interest.
When asked how Yoshihiro has been enjoying Canberra and ANU so far, a sunny smile lit up his face. “Canberra is different compared to where I am from. Tokyo is a huge city where Canberra is a lot more chill. People here are so friendly.”
Coming to Canberra has been a journey of self-discovery for the young student. Yoshihiro was born in Japan but resided in China for a long time. Returning to Japan for his undergraduate study made him realise that his time away had made him lose touch with his own language and culture. He has found that it was easier to relate to Japanese students in Canberra who have similar lived experiences as him. The student exchange and the connections Yoshihiro has built during his time at the university has given him a sense of belonging.
Yoshihiro is keen to experience all facets of student life at ANU. One such facet is gaining experience through internships, which he is currently doing at the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA). At AIIA, he conducts research to support the work of the Institute's China Matters initiative. Working here has given him an insight into the kind of career he might like to aim for in a few years, and his courses at ANU have provided him with the skills to undertake his internship. “The Bachelor of Asia Pacific Affairs and Bachelor of Global Liberal Arts has exceeded my expectations. It has provided me with not just research skills, but the communication and socialisation skills that have helped me land this internship, and further opened more doors in my career”.
The double degree has exceeded my expectations. It has provided me with not just research skills, but the communication and socialisation skills that have helped me land this internship,
The internship, coupled with his study at ANU, has made Yoshihiro realise that, in the future, he would like to work for similar not-for-profit think tanks and international organisations. Having grown up in multiple countries, he calls himself a “global citizen” and would like to work in fields that do not tether him to any particular state affiliation. Through his internship, Yoshihiro has had the chance to liaise with diplomatic missions and connect with Ambassadors. He has found that he enjoyed connecting with different organisations and learning more about the diplomacy and politics of countries. He was also a delegate of the ANU Asia Pacific Week conference, which further broadened his knowledge of Australia’s strategic partners and expanded his network even more.
When asked what advice he would give to other students hoping to undertake an exchange, Yoshihiro stressed the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone. He emphasises the importance of planning for the future, even if not with utmost clarity. He recommends students should endeavour to build a network and expand their connections to help figure out what you want to do as a career. He concedes that language barriers and cultural differences may stand in the way of making connections. “Because we, as exchange students, have different backgrounds, it might be hard for us to make friends or connect with people from other backgrounds. But you cannot give up. You have to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people”. His experience has shown him that people are kind and receptive to those eager to build their skillset. He encourages students to attend events and conferences, meet people and learn about the various career pathways that exist in their field of interest.
When asked what he would miss the most about Canberra, Yoshihiro said he would miss the “multicultural uniqueness” of the city the most.
Find out more about the Bachelor of Asia Pacific Affairs and Bachelor of Global Liberal Arts