Post-Return: No Place Like Home


Personally, living abroad was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. I was not necessarily homesick, but rather the thing that made it difficult was the language barrier. My first few weeks in Japan were not ideal to say the least and a lot of that boiled down to the language barrier. I have mentioned this a few times, but when I first arrived to the Japan I accidentally explored all three terminals and not on purpose. Or witnessing my friend, who is also a foreigner like me, be yelled at by a Japanese officer for “pushing people” despite the fact that she was the one being pushed. Needless to say those were some testing times during my stay in Japan.

Thankfully as the semester went forward it became progressively easier to live in the country. Although, admittedly, I would never live in Japan full time because as much as I enjoyed the memories I have created like going to the firework festival at Nagoya Port, there truly is no place like home. And for me that is Hawai’i, but I am still glad I got the experience of being away from the state for the a bit of time. Albeit arriving home with a broken suitcase that entered the plane with four wheels and left the plane with two. Which a mini takeaway from this: invest in luggage. Do not go too cheap with the luggage one you decide to travel with to wherever you may study abroad or visit. Unless you are willing to go hunting for a replacement suitcase before your layover flight, do not take the chances.

Now on the academics I did not go in with too many expectations for what I was hoping to get out of it. I wanted to experience the program for what it was without being clouded by expectations, but what i can say is that they were both educational and interesting at the same time. Although at points the classes tended to teach similar contents and it felt like I was going through deja vu some weeks, but that would be my only real complaint I have for the classes. Now because I had taken about nine classes in total in order to get the proper credits there was a major change I had to make in terms of my time management skills.

I am someone who can luckily get away with doing work at the last minute because I am a pretty decent writer. However, because I was in a new scholastic system I had to be very careful with how I did my school work layout. In addition, because I wanted to do some exploration I had to ensure that I had completed my assignments on time so I can have enough free time to enjoy my weekend without having to stress over if I had turned something in. So with the useful methods I had developed throughout my time abroad I was able to do just that and thankfully this had also managed to save me on different occasions. For example, I made sure to map out when we had quizzes or tests in my class so when someone randomly freaks out over thinking the test was that day I knew not to panic because I had it already on my schedule with the notifications turned on.

Another skill that I have built up is my cultural awareness and sensitivity. Being from Hawai’i, there are so many different cultures that makes up the community around me that I thought I had some ounce of cultural awareness and sensitivity. However, once going to Japan I realized that I had no idea what I was talking about. There were different cultural differences that threw me for a loop like watching young children (like around 5 years old) going out by themselves or having to sort the trash. So my main goal that I learned from this was to watch and learn from the locals that were around me in order to not mess up. Even though there were times that I did misuse a word when trying to convey something, I at least would try what I would observe and they would normally work out for me. Like when I first learned how to ride the subway or pay for my groceries without the English translations. Learning to be adaptable had became my number one survival trait throughout the experience.

And finally, with the blogs from Japan coming to a close that next question is: what’s next? Well, for me I am taking a year off from school. It is not because I am giving up on my dream of becoming a family law lawyer. But rather it is more so to give my brain a break and to help ease the built up tension in my brain from the four years of university. So while I am on my gap year I will be working as a in school tutor for third graders at my old elementary school where I will be teaching and assisting students in core subjects as well as teaching testing strategies. After the year I will continue my pursuits for higher education and attend law school. From there hopefully it will lead to me working as a lawyer. Well with that all being said and done I hope whoever has read all my journal has learned something from each of them. I have enjoyed my time abroad, but now it is time for me to enjoy my time back home. Thank you for reading!