3rd-year student, Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies and International Studies
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Advertising Creativity
For Rachel Roberts, taking one Japanese course as part of her communications degree is all it took to realise she wanted to study Japanese full-time.
“I took an elective course in Japanese in the final year of my Bachelor of Communication Studies, and loved it so much that I came back to AUT to enrol in a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies. Learning Japanese at AUT is really interactive and super immersive, and along the way I discovered I really loved international studies and added that to my degree too.”
Expecting to graduate at the end of the year, she already has a good idea what she would like to do next.
“Once I graduate I’d love to be involved in exchange facilitation – organising getting students from Japan to come to New Zealand and be placed with families and in schools here, as well as giving New Zealand students the opportunity to study in Japan for a while.”
Supported to thrive
There have been many highlights for Rachel throughout her time at university.
“I’ve loved getting to know my classmates and make new friends. A lot of people I’ve been studying with are taking Japanese as an elective or a minor, and I’ve met people from all kinds of pathways across AUT who are learning things that are totally different to me. I’ve absolutely relished getting to hear their stories. The academic staff are all passionate about their subjects and happy to pass their knowledge on to students.
“One of the things that stood out most to me was taking a language teaching course, and the lecturers kind of opened my eyes to the possibility of language teaching. I’d always counted myself out of teaching because I didn’t think I would have the patience or resilience for it, but the course was so interesting and useful for my own language learning that I kind of had a realisation that it would be fun to help others learn languages.”
She has appreciated the support available to her throughout her studies, Rachel says.
“The biggest challenge I’ve faced is living away from home without the support of my family, and having to balance my studies and a part-time job to support myself. AUT has been really helpful with the Foodie Godmother support programme and having pantry staples for students who need them. My lecturers also helped me organise my courses to make the most of my time so I can study and get in a good chunk of paid work around my classes too.”
Advice for other students
Now in the final year of her Bachelor of Arts, Rachel has some great advice for other students.
“Be unapologetically enthusiastic about what you’re at university to do, don’t be embarrassed to have fun in your classes and ask heaps of questions. These are the best ways to make friends and find people who share the same mindset as you, especially if you make it clear you’re there to make the most of the class.”
Don’t be afraid to change courses, she adds.
“If you don’t like something you’re doing, switch out straight away instead of staying with something you don’t love, you’re not likely to change your mind later on. Try everything.”