Beaches, pies and the time of his life
19 year-old Daisuke Manabe from Japan came to Newcastle as part of a study abroad partnership with his university in Kyoto. He liked the idea of Australia because there is no jetlag and had heard good things about higher education here. It didn't hurt that Daisuke loves animals and nature too. It was the perfect fit.
Daisuke had a choice between Melbourne and Newcastle but wanted a smaller place to allow him to focus on his studies. Then he saw a picture of Newcastle's beaches and his mind was made up!
Tokyo-based education agents MEC came to Daisuke's university and helped arrange his plans. A representative even came to Newcastle during Daisuke's stay to see how he was going.
"I think it's a good service. They are very nice people," Daisuke says.
It was very hot when Daisuke first arrived in Newcastle but people said hello to him in the street. His first impressions of Newcastle were that it was very relaxed with friendly locals.
"I thought, I can enjoy life here," he says.
The global communications student loves music so luck was on his side that he was placed with a host family whose father is a musician.
"I've always loved music, it's my life. Without music I can't live", Daisuke says.
Daisuke has enjoyed the time with his host family immensely and recalls his first day.
"On my first day, my host parents took me to a pie-shop for lunch. It was so heavy! I thought I would be fat," he laughs.
When asked about his experience with the University of Newcastle, Daisuke cites the academic staff as having been the stand out.
"The lecturers were so kind and friendly. They were very relaxed and approachable."
Daisuke's experiences outside of the University and homestay have also been rich. He visited Sydney for the Vivid light festival and found it "beautiful, absolutely stunning".
When a friend came to Newcastle, Daisuke took him to the beach.
"He was so amazed and I felt very proud to be showing him," he said.
Daisuke says his experience in Newcastle has changed him.
"I feel like I can do anything because I have made things work in a foreign country. I have more confidence.
"I did lots of writing, reading and researching which will help me study better in Japan, and of course my English has improved.
"I would definitely recommend the University of Newcastle".