From ANU to Japan: Brian’s Journey

20th February 2020

Brian Hukins, a graduate of Asian Studies (BAS) with a double minor in the Chinese Language and the Japanese Language, recently narrated his experience at ANU and shared his plans for the future.

I recently graduated from the ANU in 2019 with a Bachelor of Asian Studies (BAS) with a double minor in the Chinese Language and the Japanese Language. While I was never the perfect student, I felt as though this was achieving a personal goal I never knew I had. Coming from the rural and cold Snowy Mountains region, this was my move to ‘the Big Smoke’ and while it was exciting and new, moving away from friends and family is always tough.

During my studies at ANU, I spent a large part of my degree focusing on the language, culture and international relations of East Asia and its surrounds. With the flexibility of the BAS degree, I found myself pursuing my interest in languages, and this is where I found myself neck-deep in Japanese language courses. I did find myself struggling, even to the point of failing a prerequisite course in my first year, but I continued to pursue my passion for Japanese with constant encouragement and help from the incredible Japanese teaching staff at ANU for the next three years.

From initially struggling to understand my lecturer’s jokes in Japanese and laughing just to fit in by faking my understanding, I evolved to finishing a degree with two languages under my belt and a new perspective on not just Japan, but the entirety of the Asia-Pacific region.

There are lots of experiences that really stuck with me but whenever I think about Japanese at ANU I think of the word 自動販売機 (vending machine), as at the beginning of my degree this was always a word I struggled to remember! But I look at it now and it just seems simple to me.

Now with a degree behind me, I am only months away from yet again moving to my new idea of ‘the Big Smoke’, with a position secured in a teaching role in Japan’s capital, Tokyo. So, for students who are about to start studying at ANU, my advice is study subjects and themes you’re passionate about. And even if a course feels impossible, reach out to the teaching staff and others around you for guidance—they will help you achieve your goals!

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Brian, and we all wish you the very best as you embark on your new journey. We hope you keep us posted from there and share the amazing experiences you’re set for!

If you are or have been a student of CHL and would like to share your experience with us, please write in to us at

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster