Ryushin Kimura started his study abroad program in January 2020 and will continue for three years until he graduates from senior high school. He is enjoying his first chance to experience living overseas with his naturally energetic and positive mindset.
First Year Senior High through to Graduation
After starting his performing arts career in primary school Year 3, appearing in TV series, commercials, and movies, he always thought he would continue on that path, even through high school, and would one day become a professional actor. However, his hometown in Okayama prefecture has very few choices of high schools that offer opportunities for both academic and performing arts studies, and he says that even in his third and final year of junior high school he still hadn’t made any decisions on what senior high school to attend. At that time, his English teacher gave him some advice saying, “If you like English, why don’t you go to a senior high school with a study abroad program?”
Ryushin really likes English and has always had an interest in foreign countries, partly influenced by his grandmother, who has strong overseas ties, and even his grandmother’s younger sister, who worked as a simultaneous interpreter. He says he really started to study English hard from his second year of junior high.
As his graduation from junior high school was approaching, Ryushin thought to himself, “I want to be able to speak English. If I could speak English fluently, I’d have more opportunities as an actor and may even be able to perform overseas,” making his desire to study abroad stronger. Progressing with this line of thinking, he began to consider that going to senior high school in Japan and taking part in a study abroad program was just one option; he also began to think about the possibility of enrolling directly in an overseas senior high school. With those thoughts, his mother encouraged him saying, “If you are going to study abroad, you should bite the bullet and go from first year senior high right through to graduation.”
Study Abroad Destination – Adelaide
Making the decision to study abroad after graduating from his Japanese junior high school, Ryushin consulted with various people, including his teachers, and decided that his destination would be Australia. The deciding factors included the level of safety, cost, and most importantly the friendliness of Australian people. The reasons for deciding on Adelaide were the fact that the Japanese population isn’t too large, it isn’t too big a city while not being a country town, Okayama prefecture and South Australia are sister-states, and a friend of his grandmother’s lives here in Adelaide.
Because the school year in Australia starts in January, Ryushin didn’t wait to graduate from his Japanese junior high school and travelled alone to his destination in January 2020. Before his journey started, he was more excited than anxious, even though he was a little nervous about traveling alone on his first ever overseas trip. Unfortunately, on the day of his departure, the flight from Japan was so delayed that by the time he landed in Brisbane, he wasn’t able to make his connecting flight to Adelaide. In a state of trouble, Ryushin gathered his courage and reached out to someone who just happened to be nearby and used his broken English to explain his situation. Ryushin said the person was really kind and helped him out of the situation, listening carefully, taking him to the transfer counter, helping him arrange the next flight, and even helping with how to catch the airport terminal bus.
“Just as I’d heard, Australians are really kind!”
Ryushin’s new life studying here in Australia started with a calm, fresh, and positive mood.
International Student Life Begins
Ryushin started with the ISEC (Intensive Secondary English Course) at his new Australian school, Charles Campbell College. At first, he would look up the meaning of every word to try to understand sentences, but over time he began to understand without needing to use the dictionary and he started to enjoy lessons. He says he utilised his journey to and from school to listen to tutorials and improve his English listening skills. Attending ISEC, he quickly became friends with the other foreign students and the conversations he had with his housemate from Thailand also really helped his studies. He ate dinner with his homestay family and that really helped to get used to English conversation.
However, just as he began to get used to his new school and life here, the impact of COVID-19 hit Adelaide. His school closed in the last week of the first term and restrictions were placed on going out. When he first came here, Ryushin would often go out with his host family, but that too stopped and he began spending all his time at home. But, even faced with that challenge, his homestay had Netflix so he watched movies to continue studying English. At first, he relied on the subtitles but over time he began to understand the words being spoken more and more. He says he kept positive by doing things like working out at home, and his host family were kind, helping him to get through the situation without any real problems.
After that, the situation in Adelaide calmed down quite quickly and school was able to start from the beginning of the second term. Ryushin is currently spending half of his school time in ISEC and the other in mainstream classes. He says that he is making new friends with local students through basketball, something he has been good at since primary school.
“Even at school, everyone is kind and there isn’t any discrimination. Everyone is almost too kind!”
Ryushin says he was, as expected, a little homesick at first but he never had problems that made him feel down.
“My key strengths are being bright, friendly and keeping optimistic.”
Expressing himself really clearly, Ryushin has found something about himself that starting his study as a foreign student has helped him to realise.
“I’ve come to realise that if I try hard, things will fall into place. I sometimes get a bit frustrated when I can’t understand or express myself in English, but I am really happy when I am able to hold a conversation. Being honest, I didn’t really study when I was in Japan, but trying as hard as I did in first term led to me getting really good grades!”
After graduating from senior high school Ryushin plans to return to Japan and resume acting, with his goal to become a ‘Kamen Rider’, a well-known gateway to kick-start an acting career.
In saying that, after being an international student for about six months now and looking at the experiences he and those around him are having, he says he has started to become interested in work to support international students.
Either way, Ryushin hopes to use his life as an international student to study English as hard as he can, broaden his thinking while experiencing a different culture, and grow so that he can make the most of it and bring it all into his future career.
Ryushin was actually planning on returning to Japan temporarily in March to attend his junior high school graduation ceremony, but it wasn’t able to happen. He was really disappointed about it but changed his way of thinking, saying “I will do the best I can here” and has used the situation to increase his level of motivation.
Moving fully into mainstream classes from next term, he is currently preparing to join a local basketball club outside of school.
“I am really glad that I came to study here. I want to continue taking on the challenge of more and more things!”
Ryushin’s life as an international student looks set to continue being really fulfilling for him.