English plus Golf

English plus Golf experience at BROWNS on the Gold Coast.

Hello, I am Yusuke, a high school student. It’s already been a month and a half since I came to to study at BROWNS English Language School on the Gold Coast, Australia.

It was relatively recently around October or November last year (2022) that I started thinking about studying abroad. As I started to see the end of high school, when I thought about what I could have done this year, I was able to get good grades in my studies and club activities, but other than that, I didn’t take any particular action. In my second year of high school, I started studying for university entrance exams, and I don’t really have time to go abroad. That’s what made me want to study abroad. I think that the fact that there were two other students from the same grade who went abroad for a year to study abroad had no small effect. I didn’t have enough time to prepare, but thanks to the support of my parents, school teachers, and agents, I was able to leave Japan safely.

My study abroad this time was a ‘language study abroad’ plus ‘golf study abroad‘ (English plus Golf). My aim is not only to improve my English and communication skills, but also to develop my way of seeing and thinking by gaining new values through this study abroad experience, and to gain experience that will be useful for my future. In addition to this, I would like to give a good stimulus to my future golfing life by becoming more serious about golf and practicing in Australia, where the practice environment is more fulfilling than in Japan.

In this letter, I will write about my experiences since arriving in Australia.

The Gold Coast is located relatively close to Japan, about 8 hours by air and +1 hour time difference! I left Japan on the night of 3rd February 2023 and arrived in Australia early the next morning. Because we left at night, I slept on the plane and arrived when I woke up. It was not a particularly comfortable sleep, but when I got off the plane, I realised that Australia is in the opposite season to Japan and the Gold Coast has a climate similar to late August or early September in Japan, which felt very hot to me coming from Japan in winter. Unlike summer in Japan, summer on the Gold Coast is not as humid and muggy, but the sun is very strong and I basically wear sunglasses outside.

I was expecting something like a ‘Welcome Yusuke’ with a banner, but of course I was a bit surprised. However, the driver of the car (BROWNS Airport Pick up) was very friendly and told me a lot about Australia until we arrived at the homestay house, so I was not bored on the way. When you are in a car, the car lane is the same left lane as in Japan! When I realized that, I was surprised because I had thought that most of foreign countries were in the right lane. The view of Australia from the window was naturally very different from that of Japan, with no towering office buildings and a clear blue sky.

Gold Coast

When we arrived at our homestay home, we were greeted by our host family. The host family is a Turkish-New Zealand couple and they have a 15-year-old boy. The boy had won a tennis tournament and his host father is also a tennis coach, so he sometimes came home late at night for practice. The house had a swimming pool, and I was so excited! I couldn’t be happier to be in the pool every day in the summer. After that, I played a bit of table tennis with my host brother and had a chat with him, and spent the rest of the day taking a nap in my room, not going anywhere in particular, as I knew I would be tired on the first day of school.

Homestay on the Gold Coast

As our arrival was on a Saturday, the next day, Sunday, we went to a shopping centre with our host family. The inside of the shopping centre is very spacious and it is sometimes difficult to find what is where. I enjoy doing this, as it is a good preparation exercise for living on my own in the future. I think that being able to learn about the differences between the Japanese and Australian economies in this way is one of the best parts of studying abroad, and I now feel that I would like to visit more countries when I become a university student or an adult.

Gold Coast

Finally, school started on Monday. The school is about 10 minutes from the bus stop, a 10-minute walk from my house. However, the bus I was supposed to take did not arrive on time at all and I was almost late on my first day. On the way there, my host mother showed me the way and took the bus to school with me, but she was not particularly upset when the bus did not come, and I have now changed my mind that it is normal for buses not to come on time. In Japan, I use the train every day, but it basically comes on time, which I am very thankful for. On the first day, there were speaking, vocabulary, reading and writing tests to sort the students into classes. The Intensive General English course is divided into five classes: Beginner, Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-intermediate and Advanced, and there are various other courses such as Cambridge Exam Preparation and IELTS Exam Preparation courses. As my study abroad this time was a ‘language course’ and a ‘golf course’, I chose the General English Course + Golf course. This course consists of 21 hours of lessons per week plus 2 hours of golf lessons. On the afternoon of the day of the test, the class placement was announced and I was in the Intermediate level. I was very happy because I had heard that most Japanese students start at Beginner or Pre-Intermediate level.

English plus Golf

This is my timetable (above). I have a test every Monday, so on Sunday nights I prepare for the test by reviewing the contents of the textbook. I heard that if I fulfil certain conditions in this test, I can move up to the next class, so I will continue to work hard so that I don’t cut corners. The next day classes started in earnest and I was surprised when I walked into class. There’s no one my age?! I asked the person sitting next to me how old he was and he said 25, and then I asked another person and he said 30, which was very confusing because I thought I was entering a school where there were usually people of my age. The nationalities of the students seem to come from South America, Asia, Europe and many other countries to study at this school. During the first week, I was really struggling to understand the language after listening to the lessons and going home to review them, and I didn’t make any friends because there were no students of my generation. I asked the school if I could change to a course where there were more people my age, but after I heard about the other course, I decided to stay with my current course. I was told that the course had a lot of students going on to Australian high schools and it will be focused on more academic and there are a lot of homework given every day, which I thought I might not like.)

BROWNS Gold Coast

On my first weekend, I went to a kind of aquarium and amusement park (Sea World) with two Japanese university students I met at school, and enjoyed the whole day. I hadn’t been to an aquarium at all in the last few years, so it was a lot of fun after a long time. However, there was one thing I failed to do that day, I forgot to apply sunscreen. It was a sunny day and I spent the whole day outside in the sun, so I got very sunburnt that day alone.

Gold Coast

In the second week, I gradually got used to the classes and some people in the class started speaking English to me. During break time, everyone eats a few snacks and I spend time outside the classroom talking to my classmates and their friends. I was also able to play golf with a Swiss boy who approached me when I was in the school carrying my golf bag. The golf course was very busy that day and we had to wait a lot, but two old men in the group in front of us offered to play with us to save time, and the four of us ended up playing together. I was surprised because such a thing rarely happens in Japan, but we called each other “nice shot” and had a good experience in the last few holes. We played 18 holes in the heat without a break, so both he and I were exhausted by the time we finished. He is going home first, so I will invite him to play with me again before he leaves.

English plus Golf

Well, the next week, I was able to go to the beach, which I had always wanted to do, and I took a surfing lesson with a friend and enjoyed two hours of instruction and practice together. The last time I surfed was when I was in primary school in Hawaii with my family. It had been too long and the waves were too strong that day for me to get up on the board. Just when I was starting to think I was getting used to it, the time had come, so I would like to try again next time.

Gold Coast

It’s been a month and a half and I’m getting used to life here. I feel a little sad to think that I have only half a month left, but I want to enjoy the rest of my study abroad experience to the fullest before I return to Japan. It is a little depressing to think that once I return to Japan, I will have to start studying for the entrance examinations in addition to the study I have missed, but I decided to study here because I believe I can do it, so all I can do now is to do my best.



こんにちは‼ 高校1年の菊地悠介です。


僕が留学したいと思い始めたのは、去年の10. 11月頃と割とつい最近のことです。高一の終わりが見え始めるにつれて、自分は今年何が出来ただろうと考えた時に、勉強や部活では良い成績を収めることが出来たけれど、それ以外特に行動を起こしていないなと思いました。高二になると、大学受験に向けての勉強が始まり到底海外に行く時間はない、、、行くならこの高一の三学期の今しかない!というのが留学しようと思い始めたきっかけです。他にも同じ学年から2人も1年間海外に留学する人がいたことが、少なからず影響したと思います。準備に十分の時間はなかったのですが、両親、学校の先生方やエージェントの方のサポートもあり無事出国することが出来、今こうして充実した留学生活を送れているので、本当に感謝しています。





検査場を抜けて待っていたのは、ホストファミリーではなくエージェントでした。横断幕掲げてWelcome Yusukeのようなものを期待していた僕は、当然あれ?というような感じはしましたが、送迎の運転手の方がとても気さくで、ホームステイ先のお家に到着するまでオーストラリアについて色々と話していただき道中退屈せずに済みました。車に乗っている際に、車の車線が日本と同じ左車線!ということに気付き、海外の国のほとんどが右車線だと思っていた僕は驚きました。窓から見オーストラリアの景色は当然のことながら日本とは大違いで、そびえ立つオフィスビル群もなく、青空が綺麗に見えました。


到着が土曜日だったので、翌日の日曜日はホストファミリーと一緒にショッピングセンターに行きました。中はとても広く、どこに何があるか迷うことがあります。スーパーに入ってまず思ったこと、ものの値段が高い‼ 普通のポテトチップスが約500円、、、調べてみると、日本の最低賃金が1072円に対し、オーストラリアの最低賃金は2030円と約2倍でした(Yahoo調べ)。こうして考えると、この物価は割と妥当なのかなとも思いましたが高いものは高いです。しかし、ただ単に全ての商品が高いわけではなく、週ごとに特別価格などの商品があり、半額になったり2つでいくらなどのサービスもやっているようです。僕は、両親から毎月自由に使えるお金をもらえるので、いかに安く済ますかなど結構頭を使って買い物をし、支出はexcelにまとめて管理しています。将来一人暮らしをする際のよい準備体操のような感じで楽しくやっています。このように日本とオーストラリアの経済の違いを知ることが出来たのも、留学の醍醐味だなと思い、大学生や大人になったらもっと様々な国を見て回りたいなと感じるようになりました。

さあついに月曜日から学校が始まりました。学校は家から10分ほど歩いたバス停から約10分のところにあります。ところが、乗る予定のバスが全く時間通りに来ず、危うく初日から遅刻するところでした。行きは、ホストマザーが道を案内して一緒にバスに乗って学校まで行ってくれたのですが、彼女はバスが来なくても特に慌てておらず、今ではバスは時間通りに来ないことが普通であると認識を改めています。日本では電車を毎日使っていますが、基本定刻にくるのでそれがとてもありがたいことだと改めて感じ入っています。初日はクラス分けをするためのspeaking, vocabulary, reading, writingのテストがありました。一般英語コースは、クラスは初級、初中級、中級、中上級、上級と5つに分かれていて、ケンブリッジ試験対策やIELTS試験対策コースなど他にも様々なコースがあります。僕の今回の留学が「語学留学」兼「ゴルフ留学」ということで、一般英語コース+ゴルフというコースを選択しました。これは週21時間の授業に加え2時間のゴルフレッスンというものです。テストを行った日の午後のうちにクラス分けが発表され、僕は中級でした。日本人は大抵、初級・初中級から始まると聞いていたのでとても嬉しかったです。













学校は8時10分から始まり、2時間総合的な英語の授業があります。この授業ではクラスのレベルごとに分けられた教科書を使って、Reading, Listening, Speaking, Vocabulary, Grammarなどを学びます。Grammarは、助動詞や完了形、受動態など、既に日本で学習した内容なのですが、日本語では分かる文法単語でも英語で言われると新しいことを学んでいるような気になります。その授業が終わると20分の休憩を挟んで、今度は科目ごとに特化した授業がまた2時間あります。しかし僕の場合は、木金がゴルフのレッスンが入っているので、この授業は週に2回火水にだけ入っています。