Bachelor of Arts student Karl Roman-Miller visits Shinjuku while on exchange to Tokyo Metropolitan University, 'despite the terrible cold weather at the time'.
Bachelor of Arts student Karl Roman-Miller visits Shinjuku while on exchange to Tokyo Metropolitan University, 'despite the terrible cold weather at the time'.

We all want the same things in life, exchange student discovers

While on exchange to Tokyo Metropolitan University, Bachelor of Arts student Karl Roman-Miller discovered the similarities and differences between Japanese and Australian cultures.

“Before I left for Japan I was worried about whether my Japanese was good enough to get by there, and how much free time my fellow Macquarie students and I would have to hang out outside the classroom during what looked set to be an intensive two-week course. As might have been expected, my fears were unwarranted and the trip proved to be the best experience I’ve ever had travelling by myself.

People often talk about how different Japanese people and Australians are from each other but I really think that gets exaggerated in the popular discourse. We’re not polar opposites with no points of common ground; we’re all people living and working in the same world who want the same basic things in life – to be happy and secure. How different people and communities try to realise this goal is, I believe, what causes the apparent differences.

Though my term there was short, it was fun just being able to walk around Japan again, make new friends and meet new people, despite the terrible cold weather at the time (though actually it never even snowed – what we’re really talking about is 1 to 6 degrees Celsius, which gives you some idea of how bad I was with being outside the arid no man’s land that is Sydney’s inner west.)

I’d heartily recommend the Residential Short Term Unit on offer (specifically JPS230, because the course is really designed for intermediate students) to anyone trying to find something worthwhile to do between sessions. You won’t regret it.”


Macquarie students are encouraged to add international exchange or short-term international study to their degrees. Find out where you can go and how the University supports you with a generous travel grant scheme.

Karl (right) and other exchange students take time out to enjoy a meal in Shinjuku.