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  • Ryutaro Higashigamae studied hospitality at the William Angliss Institute of TAFE
  • He is now working at one of the world's leading hotels, Hotel Okura in Tokyo.

People don’t just focus on career and study. They enjoy their personal life and enjoy life more.

When Ryutaro Higashigamae first came to Melbourne from Japan in 2015, he was instantly captivated by what he found – a harmonious city offering a rich cultural diversity and excellent vocational training. What he didn’t expect was the life changing transitions that came with life in Melbourne.  

Ryutaro studied hospitality at the William Angliss Institute of TAFE, in the heart of Melbourne. This course offered blended learning of academic coursework with practical experience to help him acquire the in-demand skillset expected in an experience-driven market. These essential skills directly led him to his current role at one of the world’s leading high-end hotels, Hotel Okura in Tokyo.

The insights gained in Melbourne developed and shaped him significantly – providing news ways of thinking towards a growth mindset. Ryutaro said that these new found qualities were in stark contrast to a Japanese approach on life.

“People are more open minded in Melbourne,” Ryutaro said.

“In Japan, the style of learning is that teachers give lectures, whereas in Australia teachers present their lectures however they also encourage discussion.”

An enviable skillset

Ryutaro also credits his experience in Melbourne to shaping a unique set of skills that he sees as vital to his industry. In addition to higher-level hospitality concepts and operations – including leadership and organisational skills – this exposure has helped gain essential soft skills and an ability to anticipate customer needs.

Most importantly, it was in gaining English proficiency and exposure to western culture and values – not commonly held by local hospitality industry applicants in Japan – which has provided the competitive edge he needed to work in a luxury hotel.

Career Opportunities

Since completing his studies, Ryutaro has thrown himself into his new role – which has helped him to hone his skillset and acquire new essential skills.

In making an impact on guest experience, Ryutaro said it is the process of preparing and opening a hotel that he finds most rewarding. His role provides exposure to all parts of the business. Operations management in high-end hotels stretches across the entire business with exposure to the full operations allowing further development.

I learn from many different professionals in this role. It is highly rewarding being involved in the process of preparing and opening a hotel.

Realising his dream

At its core, hospitality is in the business of delivering experiences with growth opportunities within the ‘experience’ economy – providing significant opportunities for graduates.

This is where Ryutaro sees his future – in owning his own Japanese style hotel – where guests can be immersed in Japanese culture and traditions.

“I want to start my own Japanese style hotel where customers can experience Japanese culture and learn about history during their stay,” Ryutaro says.

Becoming a global citizen

For Ryutaro this truly unique international city offered a rich diversity of nationalities and cultures that have helped him become a global citizen.

“Melbourne people are welcoming to cultural difference. You will experience many different cultures and have an opportunity to understand different ways of thinking.”

This leads him to his best advice for new international students:

Not to fear change when moving to a new country.

Don’t just focus on study, enjoy your life in Australia! Have an opinion and don’t be afraid to contribute to discussions.