Studying Abroad as an Introvert

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Amarachi Alozie
June 9, 2024

Being an introvert in Japan is an extremely humbling experience. Everything is new and overwhelms the heck out of me. It was my first time traveling alone to a new place, and I remember having a panic attack as soon as I boarded the first plane. Not only that, BAM! Orientation started immediately, so I had to deal with new people and new locations.

Although I have warmed up to everyone, which I really applaud the programers for doing with their activities, I don't tend to hang out with them. It's hard to go outside my new route, from home to school, every day. Because they knew of my hermit activities, members of my family begged me to go outside every day. Their bribes ranged from money to pictures of my cat. I realized that you couldn't pay me $10 million dollars if I went outside every day for the month; honestly, I'm okay with that.

Language is a struggle here, friends. I can barely speak English, my native language; now I have to speak a language that is hard for an English speaker to learn. Even with the many Japanese classes, speaking to people is such a struggle. It's a humiliating experience when people immediately whip out their Google Translate or try to speak English because I'm struggling to say "I need help" in Japanese, but I will get there eventually. If the program gives you the option to speak with e-pals, take it because I am the valedictorian of the clown college.

One of the biggest issues is staring. I hate being stared at in general because I am hyperaware of myself, but here's another level. I go to a predominantly white school, so I knew I would get them and what it would feel like. I am probably the first Black person a lot of Japanese people may have seen, but I wish it wasn't as lasting as many people tend to do. Sometimes I wish I could sit in the train or walk around without being othered. The gaijin seat happens at times, and there is obvious avoidance of people at places, but I don't really want that to be a deterrent for others to not come to Japan. Some people fall under the trap that if they never had an experience, it would not exist, and I think that is rather narrow-minded in judging people's stories. 

My experiences with othering are pretty relaxed, and while anxiety-inducing for me, that doesn't mean it's the same for everyone.  And with the short amount of time I have left I hope to have a better experience. 

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Amarachi Alozie headshot

Amarachi Alozie

Hi, my name is Amarachi. I go to New York City and go to school in Lewiston, Maine. A fun fact about me is that I love classic rock and enjoy analyzing it in historical context. I promise, it's more interesting than it sounds.

2024 Spring
Home University:
Bates College
Political Science
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