Beatrice King has always had a fascination with visual storytelling, which led her to undertake a BA in Visual Communication Design and a Diploma in Languages at Newcastle University.
“My degree showed me how to translate intangible personal experiences into art forms that can be better understood by others. The New Colombo Plan (NCP) teaches me to refine my narrative.
The 2021 NCP Scholar chose Japan as her host location given her specialization in Japanese.
“In high school, I made a close Japanese friend who came to Australia to study. Then I was able to visit their hometown on a short trip to Japan and it really sparked my interest. It’s also a country considered a leader in design and it is very relevant to what I want to achieve in the future.
Japan has provided Beatrice with countless amazing experiences so far on her journey.
“Coming to Japan in the spring, I was lucky enough to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom lining all the streets, including the path leading to my dorm.”
Béatrice also had the chance to reflect on her love of design when she visited an interactive gallery in Tokyo.
Beatrice during her visit to teamLab Borderless, an interactive gallery in Tokyo. Photo credit: Beatrice King
“Japan has a cultural heritage linked to tradition and storytelling. This continues to manifest itself through digital innovation today. I hope to do an internship at the teamLab Borderless gallery. Seeing how technology and storytelling can combine to create such an incredible digital landscape makes me all the more eager to undertake an internship component.
Beatrice also had the opportunity to develop new friendships and connect with a variety of people.
“After I finished my first semester final exams, a close friend of mine invited me to visit her hometown to celebrate. Her mother and grandmother helped us dress in yukata – a kind of kimono worn in summer – and we took pictures with sparklers. It was one of my best memories here, and it was so fun to just be with everyone and relax after working so hard everything the semester.
Béatrice and her friends dressed in yukata celebrating the end of exams. Photo credit: Beatrice King
Although her time was filled with memorable moments, Beatrice had to adapt to changes in her upbringing.
“The biggest adjustment I had to make was getting used to the class schedule here. Every day my lessons are from nine to one, and homework is assigned every night and our teachers check that we have completed it in class the next morning. We are also tested every other day, leading to larger presentations and exams. »
The workload is a change from the independence-oriented learning system used at its home university.
“The change was a little difficult to understand at first because I came from such a different environment. However, it is obvious how invested the teachers are in seeing us succeed. This means that my Japanese skills have improved considerably in not much time.
Cherry blossoms outside Beatrice’s dormitory. Photo credit: Beatrice King
The advancement of Beatrice’s language skills has given her greater confidence living in Japan.
“It was amazing to feel the communication barrier disappearing. I can now walk into any situation here and know that I can handle it. The next step for me is to learn more about communication in an environment professional before my internship.”
Beatrice urges fellow NCP Fellows to keep their goals in mind while at their host location.
“Have faith in yourself and never forget the goals you are aiming for in your program. In my first four months here I have had so many amazing experiences, but I have also had times where I got a little homesick Knowing why I’m here and what an incredible experience awaits me, it’s all worth it.
Béatrice looks forward to continuing to improve her language skills.
“I plan to take the Japanese proficiency test at the end of the year. Once I complete that, there’s no limit to what I can achieve here. I’m really just getting started. .
Beatrice encourages anyone considering NCP to take the plunge.
“It was the most rewarding experience I have ever been part of! If you are an academic about to leave, take home lots of Australian souvenirs. Pass them on to any new people you meet. Personally, I recommend the clip-on Koalas!