'New Zealand is a good place to learn about media...'
Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication, and Chinese
Broadcaster, TV Tokyo
‘I definitely recommend Foundation Studies for people who don’t have the required TOEFL or IELTS score. Your English skills will develop rapidly, and you will make new friends from all over the world. It will be your lifetime treasure,’ Shotaro says.
Shotaro began his studies at UC as a Foundation Studies Student in 2012, where he learned English. He learned additional language skills while playing for University of Canterbury Rugby football club, as one of only two Japanese players.
‘Even if teammates couldn’t understand my English, I could make my thoughts understood through playing rugby. Rugby gave me the opportunity to improve my English and make some important friends.’
In 2013, Shotaro started a double major degree in Media and Communication and Chinese language. Broadcasts about Japan’s radiation event back in 2011 made him want to understand the effect media had on public thinking in regards to historical, political, and geographical issues between Japan and Asian countries. He came to believe that his and other international students’ viewpoints could make a difference.
‘It was because each country’s media covers news from a different aspect. The media-created news heavily affects people’s thoughts. I thought it is very interesting and I hoped to see Japan from outside through foreign media to break through my stereotypical thoughts. This is the reason why I decided to study Media and Communication at University of Canterbury.’
When asked why he chose New Zealand as his place of study, Shotaro says it was because of its ‘great nature, peaceful country, high standard of education, and the reasonable tuition fee compared to the US, UK, or Australia. NZ is a good place to learn about media for many reasons. And of course RUGBY’.
He picked UC and Christchurch in particular because of the beauty and closeness to mountains and beaches.
‘It’s also the largest city in the South Island, so you don’t have to worry about food, drink, and transportation. UC is only 15 minutes away from city central but still has lots of greenery. Importantly, people are very kind, not just inside of the campus but also outside the campus. All the professors and lecturers are very kind. Usually, an international student’s English is not perfect. However, they never hesitate to teach, they always taught me kindly until I understood.’
Shotaro says he felt shy when he first arrived due to his English abilities, but after traveling in New Zealand and studying a bit at UC, he grew in confidence thanks to the supportive community.
‘I didn’t have be afraid of making mistakes in speaking English, because it’s my second language,’ he says. ‘The important thing is communication with people, not to speak correct English. Once you think in this way, you will start to enjoy life more in NZ.’
Shotaro now works in Japan as a TV Tokyo Broadcaster. He does broadcasting news, commentating sports, MCing for entertainment programmes, and narration. He hopes to one day cover global events such as the Rugby World Cup for other eager rugby fans.
‘I would love to share the “wonderfulness” of rugby and other sports to audiences,’ he says.