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I’ve made it back to the U.S.

My last week in Kyoto was over before I knew it. My final exam was on June 14th and the closing ceremony and farewell party was on June 16th. Everyone lingered a good twenty minutes while saying goodbye.

Now sitting in my room in Miami, I reflect on my experiences in Kyoto.

I think about my room in the SEED apartment, the accommodations for our group of 16 FIU (Florida International University) students in Kyoto, the subway stations, bus stops, outdoor shopping streets, two-story houses, clothes on the line, melon soda, eating with chopsticks (poorly), handling yen (poorly). All of these differences in environment made me so happy. I could hop on a bus and go wherever I wanted, something I don’t usually do in Miami.


Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) Temple


Torii Gates (鳥居) at Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) Shrine


Gate at Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) Temple

I think about every day at Ritsumeikan. Hearing the bells signal the end of a period, getting lunch at the cafeteria and talking with the student volunteers, wishing I had learnt how to say “how do you say this in Japanese” before I had arrived in Japan.


Ritsumeikan Campus


Ritsumeikan Library


Ritsumeikan Campus

I am so glad I was able to take part in this program. And though I was somewhat uncomfortable with writing about my experiences, being such a private person, I am glad that I documented my days in Kyoto. When I look back over what I’ve written, I can consider my past, my growth, frustrations, aspirations. I can properly reflect on my life.

I will continue to study Japanese, earn my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certificate, get involved in clubs at school, hopefully complete an internship (maybe in Japan), gain more work and teaching experience. I’ll do as much as I can to prepare myself for when I apply to the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program upon graduation.

Once again, I’d like to thank the Fund for Education Abroad for making this study abroad experience so memorable.

I hope to find myself in Japan again, someday soon.

It’s safe to say, I left my heart there.