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Dolphin Tales

Starting a Year Abroad as a Part of His Dual Diploma Program

Natsuki, Class of 2020, is settling into a year of study at The Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.


Where are you now?
Presently I am in Canberra, New South Wales, Australia studying for a year abroad at The Australian National University (ANU). This is a part of my program with Ritsumeikan University in Osaka.
What are you studying? Do you have a major?
Global Liberal Arts and Asia Pacific Affairs which entails such areas of study as Securities, International Relations, Economics. We study the region of Asia and in particular the Pacific region, so the Pacific Islands and Australia, for example.
What is your most favorite class so far?
For Ritsumeikan it would be a class called “Knowledge and Innovations” about how knowledge is created and how people innovate things. It was very close to our TOK class at NIS. Actually it is an advanced version of that class. I found it really interesting. And for ANU it would have to be a class called “Pacific Studies” where we learn about the region and the history of how it developed as well as current affairs and issues.
What is your least favorite class so far?
“Social Change with AI” was my least favorite class at Ritsumeikan. I feel the Liberal Arts approach of my program in Ritsumeikan hindered the ability to really learn about the AI because the program is designed to be more broad than deep. Here at ANU there is a class here called “Security Concepts in Southeast Asia.” It is very history heavy and there is a lot of reading!
What part of university life do you enjoy the most? 
I like the diversity of everyone’s experiences. It is very interesting because everyone has different backgrounds and you have friends that are from significantly different countries from each other, like I have friends from Taiwan and Nepal, the UK, Hawaii, etc. It is very diverse which results in interesting discussions. I really value the diversity. At Ritsumeikan a lot of the foreign students didn’t make it because of COVID, but even so, there was a lot of diversity in experiences among my Japanese classmates.
Outside of your studies, what is one thing that you are excited about or interested in these days?
There are a lot of activities around the city. For example the entire city is being lit up and there is music playing around the city. There seems to be an event happening every month so everyone is excited about these things right now. It seems like as COVID restrictions are reduced there are a lot of things happening all at once.
What is the one thing you miss about Nagoya?
The ease of transportation and FOOD! I really miss “Nagoya” food like miso katsu. The Japanese food here is kind of strange and it doesn’t taste good, either. Japanese imported items like mirin, and shoyu are expensive. As for transportation, there are a lot of busses but to go outside of the city, you’d have to rent a car or jump on a plane. You can't’ just get on a shinkansen and travel around the country. 
What’s the biggest difference between where you are now and NIS?
ANU operates like a little city due to the sheer number of students - there about 20,000 students here on this campus and classes are far from each other, even up to 2km distance. But still it operates like a little city with everything contained within. So if you need medical support or if you need to go grocery shopping you can pretty much do everything right here on campus. 
And of course, we need to know, what words of wisdom do you have for your schoolmates still at NIS?
Things that you might think are worthless are actually pretty useful when you get to university. So try to take everything seriously and try to learn as much as possible while you are there. For example, I didn’t think I would ever use our TOK (Theory of Knowledge) class but I’m actually using it a lot!