久しぶり FEA, long time no see!
Wow. It’s been over three hundred days since I’ve come to Japan. three. hundred. days. The longest I’d ever been away from my home in Toledo, Ohio was three weeks. This was when I took a summer abroad class in Japan in early May of 2016. Needless to say, Japan has made an impression on me.
Why is it people like Japan? What do they think of when they hear the country’s name? anime, manga, seafood, ramen, Zelda? But Japan is so much more than what America sees it as from across the ocean. It’s a country that has hundreds and hundreds of years on the still young United States of America.
On my year abroad here I experienced so much that there’s no way I could type it all up in this one blog post. I’ll save the details for my post-departure video. For now, I just wanted to note the biggest challenges for me when I arrived here.
- Countries are different
It’s amazing that even these days people still seem surprised to find that countries other than their own have different customs and cultures! My own family finds certain things about Japan shocking. Such as the fact that Japanese people slurp their noodles when eating. It’s a sign to tell the chef that they are delicious. Another tradition Japan has that differs from the U.S. is the celebration of entering adulthood on one’s 20th birthday. In the U.S we celebrate adulthood at the age of 18.
2. You have to get used to different food
When I first came to Japan I expected to be able to find things like strawberries, peanut butter, and cranberry juice. In reality, strawberries are very much seasonal here (and expensive!), peanut butter tastes different and I have yet to find cranberry juice!! These are the things you have to get used to living without and making do with what you can find. I think the best thing for an eager traveler to do is to try and make foods native to the area you are in! You’ll certainly find the ingredients for those types of meals!
3. You are never alone
I came to Japan with two other girls from my university. My classes are with international students from France, Taiwan, China, and Thailand, as well as the Japanese people I’ve met her along the way. I have a support system with my international university.
Anyone studying abroad should know that as long as they are willing to try, they will have plenty of opportunities to make lasting friendships with others both international, and native to where they want to go.
How am I supposed to pack up my foreigner life and move back to my home in Toledo? Some people might be happy to go home because of being homesick but I think I’ll feel homesick for Japan once I leave.
I’ve taken so many photos throughout my year here from my arrival to my departure and everything in between. Here I want to share my roller coaster journey one last time as an FEA Scholar. I hope anyone who views these posts can see the pure joy one can get from participating in a study abroad.
Without FEA I wouldn’t have these photos, memories, experiences, and knowledge. I’m so thankful for everything the Fund for Education Abroad has done for me in the past year. I hope they can continue to give other students in need the chance to experience this wonderful journey no matter where they choose to go.
Thank you, Japan. I’ll miss you dearly.