My name is Ellie McLaren, I have just completed my six-month program learning Japanese at Ritsumeikan University, Kinugasa Campus. I had the opportunity to learn Japanese through the IJL track (Intensive Japanese Language) whilst studying archaeology and heritage. I wanted to be in Kyoto to explore Kansai and be able to study world heritage sites in person. Ninnaji was my personal favourite place to go.
When I first left Australia, I felt confident in my ability to get by as I felt I’d experienced a fair amount of growth before my departure. Japan certainly taught me otherwise, heavy workload, illness and conflict within my living space. However, I was also provided with a wonderful support network built from both my friends I’d made here and from home, I felt accomplishment in little things such as successfully ordering in an izakaya, speaking to the old ladies in the public bath about my tattoos, seeing Carly Rae Jepsen during the typhoon and being surrounded by beautiful cultural sites. I highly recommend this study overseas opportunity to everyone, not just Japan but the experience in itself. The turbulent highs and lows I’ve experienced made this an unforgettable experience that I believe will push anyone to understand themselves and others around them. Try to speak out, people do want to listen.
– Ellie McLaren