From Kobe to Brisbane with scholarship winner Mika Tsuji


Over the next six weeks, we will join scholarship student Mika Tsuji. Mika is from Brisbane's sister city, Kobe in Japan, and was the 2019 winner of a scholarship program that includes:

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

 17 February 2019

Hello! I’m Mika.

I’m from Kobe University in Japan. I came to Brisbane 6 days ago, and I’ve just started studying at ICTE.

Today I’d like to talk about my favourite places I’ve found in Brisbane.

First, the South Bank. The artificial beach is quite small, but I found it amazing. The breeze, the trees, the water, and all the other things that I hear, see and touch make me relax even on a day over 35℃.


The big colourful sign of BRISBANE is also my favourite part in South Bank. Each letter has a different picture and a different message. A lot of other tourists seemed to like there, too!

Second, the City Botanic Gardens. I went there a few days ago and found a lizard-like creature there. It was bigger than a normal lizard in Japan, and had yellow skin and cute round eyes. At first, it didn’t move as if it was a statue, but then, when I came closer, it moved very fast. I study Biology in Japan and I love all kinds of animals. I’ve heard that there are many unique creatures in Australia so I’m very excited. I cannot wait to see them all!


Saturday, February 23

Hi, everyone! How was your weekend?

Well, for me, it became a memorable weekend because… I held snakes and a crocodile for the first time!

I attended a brunch event at my accommodation, Student One, but it was not just a normal brunch. The aim of the event was to have brunch while interacting with Australian animals. There were five kinds of animals in the room.

The first one I touched was a Black Headed Python, a very big and heavy snake. I screamed when the guide first put it on my shoulder because it suddenly wrapped its body around my legs.

The black-headed pythons don’t live on the trees and have no ability to climb up, so it was actually just trying not to fall to the ground by doing so. The skin was unbelievably soft, and, even though the skin seemed wet, it wasn’t so wet.

My heart was beating so fast and I couldn’t feel like I was alive. I also touched another kind of snake, but this was very small compared to the first one.


After having touched those snakes, I felt like I was able to touch anything. Then I tried to touch a Saltwater Crocodile. The crocodile had very hard skin on the back and the tail. It sometimes moved its paws as if it was swimming, but it was mostly very still and quiet. The size was smaller than I thought, but the eyes were very scary. Then, I touched Squirrel Glider and Common Ring Tail Possum as well. These two were lovely animals that had very soft and fluffy skin with round eyes.



Interacting with the local animals was a little scary but very exciting and and also fun. I am grateful for having such an opportunity. I cannot wait for my next adventure in Australia!

5 March 2019


Today I’m going to talk about my student accommodation, Student One. There are three locations in Brisbane CBD. I live at Student One - Wharf Street, which is located across the street from Student One - Adelaide Street. The newest location opened at Elizabeth Street a few weeks ago.

At Student One - Wharf Street, I share a room with four people, who are from China, Korea and Colombia. This is the shared living room. All of my roommates love this couch because it is very comfortable and perfect for taking a nap. The living room has a beautiful view in the daytime and at night.


Next, let me show you the kitchen. I cook breakfast and lunch here almost every day. It is very useful because the kitchen has everything you need for cooking: a fridge, frying pans, pots, a ladle and so on. I often get together with my friends from other rooms here and have fun chatting and sharing food. My welcome party was also held here by my lovely Chinese roommate.

Finally, this is my room. It has a bed, a desk, and a chair. I usually have breakfast watching Netflix and I do my homework here. The chair and the bed are very comfortable. I like this room so much that I want to take it home in Japan with me.

Student One also has a sky lounge, a pool, a gym and a study room. In addition to that, a lot of events are held here such as karaoke night, movie night, boxing and Asian food tour etc. You can meet new people at those events and it’s very exciting.

If you are looking for a room in Brisbane, I highly recommend Student One.

12 March 2019

My Favorite Places in UQ                                                 

Today, I’d like to share  with youmy favourite places at The University of Queensland (UQ). I am an ICTE Student at UQ so I go to St Lucia Campus every weekday. St Lucia is  largest campus at UQ and  has everything from a pharmacy to a dentist, and  a hair salon.

Across the campus, I have some favourite places where I go to relax.

The first one is Darwin Café. This café is located in the biological library. I’m sure that the café was named after Charles Darwin who is known for ‘Origin of Species’. When I oversleep and don’t have time to eat breakfast, I drop by here and buy a wrap and a latte. The wrap is so tasty that sometimes a bird tries to eat it while I’m sitting outside!

The second one is Merlo Coffee. My favorite drink on the menu  is a chai latte. It is not too sweet, and there is a lot of cinnamon powder on the top. I also really like the cafe atmosphere. The tables are outside so you can enjoy your coffee with a pretty view of trees decorated with balloons and beautiful greenery.  

The last one is the UQ Lakes. It is a huge lake rich in nature. The magnificent green view is breathtaking. When I first went there, I felt like I was in a botanical garden. Around the lakes, there are many kinds of unique trees and animals around the lakes. When it comes to birds, there are over 88 species. I know that it is difficult to identify all of those species, but I’ve already met pelicans, parrot-like creatures, ibises and so on. I’ve also met other creatures such as water dragons that I introduced to you before on the blog.

If you have a chance to visit UQ, why don’t you visit these spots?

22 March 2019

My UQ Life

Hi, everyone! It’s Mika. How are you? Actually, I am so sad right now because my UQ life is over and I already miss my lovely friends in UQ. So, today I’d like to talk about what I’ve learned in these five weeks. 

First, I’ve learned how to study English. I was familiar with English songs and movies since I was a child, but I didn’t know how to study English. In the class, we watched some videos about various kinds of social problems such as global warming, recycling or homelessness, and then we discussed those problems with each other almost every day. It was quite helpful for me to improve my speaking skills. I was able to speak English much better in four weeks. I used to think in Japanese even when I was speaking in English, so I often stopped during conversation or sometimes couldn’t say anything because I couldn’t find the right English words. I still can’t speak perfectly, but I now don’t stop that often and at least I can tell my thoughts and feelings. We also played some word games to increase vocabulary. I am not good at memorising difficult English words because I’m not familiar with them in Japanese, either. After I played the game a few times, however, I remember the meaning of those words and also how to use them. I was very impressed. I’d like to do the same things with my friends to improve my English skills in Japan.

Additionally, I’ve learned about various cultures by sharing the way of thinking towards each topic. In my class, there were only two Japanese students including me, and others were from China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. When arguing something, the opinions tend to be different depending on their culture. For example, in Saudi Arabia, living separately with family when you live in the same area with them is not a good thing. When I heard this, I was very surprised because many Japanese people don’t live in the same house even their family lives nearby. It was quite interesting to know about the real situation in other countries. I want to visit their home countries someday.

I really appreciate that my teachers and my friends always encouraged me, inspired me and also supported my English practice. I hope I can meet my friends in UQ somewhere in the world! Until then, I will keep practising English by using methods that I’ve learned at the amazing English school, ICTE.

Last updated:
22 March 2019