From Kobe to Brisbane with scholarship winner Emi Fujita

Over the next six weeks, we will join scholarship student Emi Fujita. Emi is from Brisbane's sister city, Kobe in Japan, and was the 2018 winner of a scholarship program that includes:

  • Five weeks of English language tuition at ICTE-UQ
  • Six weeks free accommodation in Woolloongabba courtesy of Atira Student Living
  • One week's volunteer work experience with the International team at Brisbane City Council's Lord Mayors office.

19th February 2018

Hello, I am Emi.

I just have come to Brisbane and started studying at ICTE-UQ.

On the day I left Japan, I was not anxious about going abroad alone, but my family, especially my mother looked sad at the airport.

I have been to overseas three times before, and I have never felt homesick. However, my mother was worried about me and she was almost crying. I felt sad a little when I saw her crying face, but was still looking forward to going to Australia.

It took about 13 hours to come to Brisbane, but I enjoyed the flight. It was a part of pleasures of the travel because the view from windows of the airplane, the variety of languages... everything was fresh to me.

At the airport in Japan, I got a present for new friends in Australia. (Maybe giving souvenirs is a Japanese culture.)

When I make friends here, I will give them to them.

26th February 2018

My Routine in Brisbane

Hello. Today, I will show you my routine while studying at ICTE-UQ.

From Monday to Friday, I get up at 6:30 and prepare to go to ICTE-UQ. I always eat rice and Miso-soup for breakfast in Japan, but I eat cereals, a boiled egg, yoghurt, and a fruit every morning in Brisbane. These are very easy to prepare and taste good! Especially, the yoghurt which is richer than Japanese one, and I love it.

Then, I go to ICTE-UQ with my friend by bus. It takes only 15 minutes to get there from my accommodation at Atira Student Living.

Many students are walking into the campus at The University of Queensland when I get there because a lot of classes start at 8:00am, which is the same as my English class.

In our class at ICTE-UQ, we learn English grammar, writing, practice speaking, and so on. Many of the students are Japanese, and we are trying to use only English in class. I am inspired by other international students’ passion every day, and they encourage me to improve my English skills day by day.

After school, I often eat a sandwich that I make for lunch. After lunch, I study at the library, and then, I practice singing in the Chorus.

This club is always filled with laughter. I have met a kind and powerful teacher and have made friends there. Our teacher Vicki told us that we can take part in two big events in the next five weeks, so we are very lucky and excited.

When I get back to the Atira Student Living, it is already dark outside.

Usually, I make dinner by myself, but sometimes staff of Atira make tacos, potatoes, or something like that for residents.

Before going to bed, I always write a diary to reflect on the day and write this blog. Diaries are helpful to know how much I have grown during travel, so I always write one when I stay in overseas. My room’s desk is clean and nice. I like to settle down to write diaries and blogs there.

This is my routine in Brisbane. Staying in the accommodation at Atira without my family and friends is very hard, but I am learning new things every day to adjust the life here. I have good friends, teachers, and supporters, and they always encourage me. I will try to improve my English skills and know about Brisbane more with them.

5th March 2018

People Who I Met at ICTE

I will introduce the people who I have met at ICTE.

At first, I had no friends in Brisbane because I came here alone from Kobe. However, I am surrounded by many nice friends, teachers, and supporters now! Thanks to them, I have had a lot of fun at ICTE.

I can see my teacher and classmates in our classroom on weekdays. They have a variety of backgrounds and languages, so we communicate in English. Of course, it is difficult to communicate in English for me sometimes because I don’t have enough vocabulary and am not used to speaking English, but they know that I have been working on studying English, so I don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes when I talk with them.

In the beginning, I hesitated to speak in class because I felt embarrassed when I had mistaken the timing to speak or told incorrect answers when I had taken classes in Japan. To be honest, even now, I am sometimes afraid of making mistakes. However, as I spend a lot of time with the classmates, I feel free to speak in class.

In spite of the difficulty of the difference of languages, we always have a lot of fun together. When I had dinner with them at my classmate’s house, we enjoyed pizza and talking. We had a very good time!

I can meet kind and friendly people out of ICTE’s building also. Today, we interviewed people in the UQ campus as a part of activities in English class. Some people answered for us so friendly. I asked a kind woman to take a picture with us after the interview, and she accepted. I was happy to meet her and the other people who we talked with today.

The ICTE chorus has also given me many good friends. We practice singing and often enjoy talking at cafes. I always feel relaxed with them, so it is a precious time for me. I can hear about their life in Brisbane, and I can talk about the difficulties of life overseas.

I think many international students seek the chance to meet people who have different backgrounds. I learned that to have the courage to say “I want to do that with you” is very important when I came here. I couldn’t do that at first, but I started to try to say that after seeing the other students do it. Thanks to this lesson, I was able to make great friends here.

At ICTE, I have met many people who inspire and encourage me. I really like my time with them, and I will try to be the person who can inspire them as well.

14th March 2018

My weekend in Australia

On weekdays, I study at UQ-ICTE, and then on weekends, I thoroughly enjoy sightseeing around Brisbane. Last Saturday, I took part in the BBQ party of Wasabi, which is a Japanese Society at The University of Queensland (UQ), after that, I went to Kisaragi-sai, which is Japanese festival held in Roma Street Parkland, and then I went to the Gold Coast. This schedule was tight, but I experienced a lot of refreshing things.

I have heard that Australian people like BBQ’s, so it was one of the things I wanted to do while I am in Brisbane. The purpose of BBQ is not eating. Meeting new people and making new friends are the purposes of BBQ, so I was able to talk with many people there. There were also Japanese students who were studying at UQ, Japanese who were working to study English like me, Aussies, and a lot of international students. 
I was inspired by the other Japanese who were trying to communicate in English with the international students because I knew how difficult English is. My writing is okay because I have enough time to think, but talking is difficult because I need to translate Japanese to English in my head instantaneously. They made me feel “I should be able to do that as well. I will try to do my best.” Also, I found that students in the other countries also had problems in English education. Especially, opportunities to practice speaking which sometimes does happen enough in some Asian countries like Japan. Students really need the opportunities, so they took their chance to speak English. Their attitude was impressive, and it encouraged me.  

After the BBQ, I went to Kisaragi-sai. There were long lines to get Japanese food, so I waited for Kusikatsu for 40 minutes! However, I was glad to see many people gathered to enjoy Japanese culture. I had the Kusikatsu and watched Japanese dances on a stage with the lovely people who always help me since I came to Brisbane. It was a great time.

Finally, I went to The Gold Coast. I joined my friends at an Airbnb house and enjoyed talking a lot with them on the side of a pool. It was a precious time for me.

Next morning, I went to The Village Market at the Gold Coast. This Sunday was a shopping day for me. There were many kinds of clothing shops, accessories shops, cafes, and so on. They were very creative and interesting. My favourite part was listening to singers’ while having a coffee on the grass. Markets are a good place to feel the local atmosphere, so I like to visit them when I travel.

After that, I went shopping at The Pacific Fair Shopping Centre and came back to Atira. The schedule of this weekend was tight, but I had to do that to fully enjoy Australia as much as possible in my six weeks. Still, I have a lot of things I want to do here! I cannot wait for next weekend.

19th March 2018

Cultural Exchanges in Brisbane

Thanks to my classmates from different countries, I can learn their culture and tell them Japanese culture. Brisbane has many Asian restaurants, so we are able to share our culture with each other at restaurants. It helps me to enjoy not only Australia but also the different cultures here.


Two weeks ago, my Thai friends took us to a Thai restaurant. They had been there before, and they told us that the Thai food of the restaurant tasted authentic. With their recommendation, we enjoyed the Thai food a lot.


Last week, Japanese students took everyone to a Japanese restaurant. It is difficult to find a good Japanese restaurant overseas because normally Japanese food is expensive out of Japan. But thanks for my friends’ effort, we were able to find a Japanese restaurant which has Japanese street food.


Some of the Japanese foods had authentic tastes, but something was different from the Japanese food which I eat in Japan. It was interesting to see how Japanese food changes in other countries. Perhaps, when we eat other country’s food in Japan, the taste would be quite different from the original one for local people even if we thought it as the original one.

Luckily, I was able to experience the real Thai food with my Thai friends and compare Japanese food here to Japanese food in Japan. It was an interesting experience, and also became a special one with my friends from the other countries.

26th March 2018

What I learned at UQ-ICTE

The last Friday was my last day at UQ-ICTE for me. In these five weeks, I have gained a new perspective by experiencing study with international students. I felt their passion in the class at ICTE and at the lecture with the UQ School of Psychology, and it inspired me.

I have studied English and practised speaking English with my Japanese classmates in Japan, but after I came here, I noticed it is totally different to speak English with people from other countries. I noticed that in Japan though, it seems easier.

My classmates and I are not flexible about understanding the conversation in English because we are not native speakers. So even a small mistake of pronunciation can confuse us. To know this difference was important for me to improve my English skills.

I also received the opportunity to study by seeing the lecture at the UQ School of Psychology. I asked Ms Astrid and Ms Sharon some questions about mental problems in Australia before I went to the lecture. They told me that Australia also has many people who have mental health problems as Japan and the situation of the mental health is serious all over the world. Thanks to them, I was able to attend the psychology lecture on the last Thursday.

As I expected, a lecture in English was difficult. However, I became used to hearing it in the two hours of the lecture, I gradually became to be able to understand it. It was an inspiring experience for me. According to my friend at The University of Queensland who learned English as her second language, she always sees the slides of the lecture and read reports related to the lecture before taking the lecture. I hope that I will be able to understand English about psychology and become a certified psychologist in the future.

In both ICTE and the UQ School of Psychology, I felt a difference between lectures in Japan and here in Australia. When I came here, I saw many students asked questions in lectures. I know it is natural for them, but I have not seen it in Japan very often. I felt the passion of students studying here and liked the atmosphere that everyone had their own purpose. I will go back to Japan next Saturday, but I will never forget the passionate attitude toward studying here and take that back to Japan with me.

Thank you to the UQ School of Psychology for allowing Emi to take part in lectures to enhance her scholarship experience.

30th April 2018

My Internship at The Brisbane City Council

Finally, the last week in Brisbane has passed. I will go back to Japan today.

In the last week, I experienced the internship at the Brisbane Council.


Before the internship started, I was excited, and at the same time, I worried about my English skills. However, every member of IRMA (International Relationship Multicultural Affair) team understood my feelings because they have also experienced learning a second language. Each of them was in charge of different cities from all over the world which had a relationship with Brisbane, so they had a good understanding of international people. During the four days of my internship, I was helped a lot by them.

I attended meetings with them. It was very precious opportunity to know what the Brisbane IRMA team is doing and how to have a good relationship between cities of different countries. Sometimes they communicated in English, and the other times they communicated in the other languages and in English with a translator. When I attended the meeting with some Chinese people, I saw a translator's job at the first time. The atmosphere of the meeting was really international, and I became happy to see that the people of both Brisbane and China were laughing together through the translator. I felt they were united over the border.

On Thursday, I got an Easter Egg chocolate from the Lord Mayor. He gave everyone the chocolates one by one. I was very lucky because I was able to speak and take a picture with him. I had not imagined that the Lord Mayor would give us chocolates himself. I had a happy Easter.

On the last day of my internship, I gave a presentation about Kobe City in front of the IRMA team. After that, they gave me a certificate. I felt a sense of pride. I was glad to see they were interested in Kobe, and I was able to think I did my best.


I am proud of having challenged a lot of things in these six weeks. Thanks to that, I can feel the improvement in my English skills and my personality.

I appreciate these great chances to study in UQ-ICTE  and doing the internship at the Brisbane City Council. These six weeks was the most inspiring time of my life. I will treasure the bonds with the people I met in these six weeks in Brisbane.

Thank you.



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Last updated:
2 May 2018