The true value of international education

Hi everyone! My name is Takeru Takahashi and I’m an international student from Japan. I studied a Study Abroad Program (Arts and Education) at Deakin University’s Melbourne Burwood campus. A new chapter, my Melbourne life started in August of 2016, a really meaningful moment for my life. On arrival in Australia, I was not even able to understand the meaning of “mate”. However, as I write this and prepare to go home, I can speak fluently with my Aussie mates and have successfully completed all my units of English.

Some of my most memorable experiences have come from joining a local athletics team: Doncaster Athletics Club. I have experienced countless memories through athletics. I competed in the long jump at the Australian National Championships in Sydney, recording my lifetime-best jump. This experience meant a lot to me – producing the best performance ever in my life despite being in a foreign country – which gives me great confidence as I continue my athletics in Japan.

Long jump at the Australian National Championships in Sydney

Competing as a foreigner brought many challenges for me because of the language barrier. It was certainly my most challenging time in athletics since I started, but I can definitely say it was a meaningful and precious experience, for not only my athletics, but for the improvement of my English skills. I also had the opportunity to run a relay with my squad and went to Canberra with them to compete. I had spent plenty of time with them and had made friendships that are not just on the surface, but made deeper by overcoming tough training sessions and running together in the green and gold in Doncaster. In short, athletics allowed me to break down the language barrier and connect with friends.

Victorian states competition – we got a silver medal in 4x100m relay

Fortunately, I have met many people who are so kind and warm to me, even though my English skills are not as strong as native speakers. They had always spoken slowly and were easy to follow. Moreover, they do not show a displeased look even though I ask them to repeat words several times to understand what they say. I was so impressed by the friendly way people treated me in Australia and look forward to the opportunity to return the favor when I have a friend who is in the same situation as me.

Training with my squad

Everyone thinks the most important part of study abroad is to improve English, but I believe there is much more to be gained than only that. This journey allowed me to realise the true value of my life as a whole, such as my family, friends, opportunities, and experiences I’ve had. This trimester made me grow up in several ways. I do not want to use this experience just for my resume and job interviews, so I will share a lot of my experiences and stories from this amazing country.

My trip to Uluru in the Northern Territory

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page.

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