Where can it take you?
Well firstly, why do people choose to study abroad? Personally, I think I wanted to get out of my town and go elsewhere. I didn’t want to just travel to another state. Instead, I wanted to get a passport and go somewhere where people didn’t speak my language.
I chose to come to Japan because I was required to take a foreign language in college. I chose Japanese because I had grown up with Japanese cartoons and the art styles interested me. When I started taking the language courses was when my interest grew tenfold. I met others who had the same goals and interests. I met Japanese teachers who educated me and Japanese exchange students who were learning English.
As I passed my first two years of college I met people who participated in the same program I am currently doing. It’s because of them and my teachers and friends that I am here now. So what is it doing for me?
Studying abroad if anything can give you something to add to a resume. It’s something I think employers enjoy seeing applicants have done. It shows independence, willingness to meet others, mental strength, and open-mindedness.
Opportunities To Meet Others
Having been in Japan for ten months, I’ve met so many new people I couldn’t even count. I’ve made Japanese friends who have helped me improve my language skills. Also, I’ve met international students from other countries who have taught me things about their own cultures, not just Japan. The teachers I have had classes with have taught me the language and culture and the boss at my part-time job as an assistant English teacher has taught me how to deal with children in the classroom! All of this in only a year!
Learn A New Language
One of the main reasons I came here was because I wanted to learn Japanese. I studied at my home university for three years before coming to Japan. It’s not at all easy to learn a new language. It is especially difficult to learn one so opposite of my native language. I think that was one of the real rewards of coming here because I could put my skills to use.
Experience Other Cultures
In the United States, we don’t have kimonos, yukatas, obento meals, ikebana etc. I never even know about things like flower arrangement, called ikebana even existed. I took a traditional Japanese culture class where we learned about taiko drums, ikebana, shibori tie-dye, calligraphy and more! I would never have been able to do these things in their origin country if I hadn’t have come here!
Before I came here I still lived with my parents and never knew what living on one’s own was like. This was the first time for me to be able to live away from my family in an apartment. I was able to learn how to function on my own, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and getting work done all in the comfort of my own apartment. I can’t imagine how much easier it’ll be when I return home!
One of the biggest and most useful outcomes of study abroad, in my opinion, is the career opportunities. I have been able to get a part-time job while being here that I can use to connect to other jobs if I want to return to Japan one day and work. I have teachers and friends also who I can use as references and I have experience living in Japan. There is even a friend of mine who was able to carry on the position of alumni from Toledo who previously working here. There are opportunities everywhere!
So all in all, studying abroad can take you to new friends, a new career, or a new hobby. I am hoping that my study abroad can take me to a job as an ALT or CIR one day. If you’ve never done it you should ask yourself, where could studying abroad take you?