Hi, welcome. This is actually my first time posting with SoJournal and if you cannot tell, I’m both excited and nervous. I have a couple things I want to share with everyone, but I thought I would start with a quick introduction of what study abroad programs I’ve participated in and a Q&A. I originally hosted the Q&A on my blog and other social media, but I would be super happy to do more if I get more questions sent my way! Thank you to all the lovelies who sent me questions!
Now then, I have actually done two study abroad programs. My first was in 2015 when I was a junior and I ended up going to Okinawa, Japan. My most recent one was last year (2018) and I went to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, Japan! As you can see I have a thing for Japan. For both trips, my classes focused on World War II, specifically the Asia-Pacific War. As an art major, I have focused on the art aspect of things for my finals. Not to mention that as a history minor, I have seriously enjoyed learning about and visiting the historical sites Japan has to offer. And lastly, as an otaku, well, you can just guess how it felt going to Japan my first time, hehe. Unfortunately, both trips occurred during winter intersession so they were very short (2 weeks).
Now that that’s taken care of, let’s get to the juicy bits!
kittenwhoeatsramen wants to know –
- a) What was your favorite cultural experience?
After an extensive and intensive appraisal of my memory, I have to say that it was the food (I’m not just saying this because I love food). Everything was made with so much care and delicacy that I was blown away. I think here in the US we are used to not eating, eating on the go, and/or fast food that we don’t really appreciate how food can be beautiful and a community event. Many of the moments I had meeting new people were spent eating a meal together.
Also, there was one moment where a group of us went out to an Izakaya (Japanese bar) and the staff hardly knew English and some of us hardly knew Japanese. It was a fun and funny experience!
p.s. Japanese 7-11s are going to change your world. I will forever be having withdrawal symptoms…
p.p.s. You guys HAVE to try all the buttons at a Japanese bathroom. And don’t even get me started on their sinks!
- b) Do you have a favorite and least favorite moment?
Oh, my least favorite moment is always the same: the return. To start with, the trips I went on were already short (2 weeks) so when the last days in Japan started rolling in I was already having withdrawal symptoms. I enjoyed my time there and just wanted to prolong my stay! I briefly considered “getting lost” hehe. As for favorites, wow, it’s so tough!
For both trips, I had so much fun and every day was a new experience but if I had to pick ONE favorite moment, I’d say…the trip to Miyajima Island (2018). It was a really fun experience with the students from Hiroshima University, who we hung out with for what felt like a big chunk of our stay in Hiroshima. I got to meet some new people and because technology likes to taunt me (my phone died), I spent a lot of my time there just really taking in nature and maybe trying not to get attacked by wild deer, are they aggressive?
- c) How did you feel when studying abroad? Was it emotionally difficult or did you have the time of your life?
I think I had the time of my life. As a kid I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and to have the opportunity to go TWICE is like winning the lottery (except with no money). I will say that I wish I could go back with my family because I just wanted to show them how beautiful Japan is. Unfortunately, my pictures didn’t do the sites we visited justice. I think it also helps that I am used to (and enjoy) traveling to new places and exploring. I don’t travel internationally as much as I’d love to, but I have done a bit more traveling nationally (and by myself).
Still, I’m not going to say this trip was just happiness all the way through. There were times and days where my anxiety got the better of me (social situations mostly), but I bounced back pretty quickly. I was really lucky that my class got along super well and I just didn’t have the time to stay down because we had so many things to do!
- d) Was there a specific reason that you studied abroad? If so, what was it?
Yes. Studying abroad satisfied one of my degree requirements for school, but I could have also done an internship. So, I guess the real answer is that I love to travel and I thought a study abroad trip would be a great opportunity to travel and learn something about a country I have always liked. Three birds one stone. Talk about effective!
Well, this post has gotten a little long. There are still a couple more questions to answer and definitely send some more about anything you guys are curious about. I want to share all my pictures. As a sneak peek, the next post will consist of technology.