The end of the semester is finally here. I don’t really know how I feel about it yet, but I want to spend some time reflecting on it.
I have made friends with so many amazing people that I can’t even describe how fun my adventures with them have been. It still astonishes me how we all ended up at Nanzan University to study Japanese in Japan. In all, I am very grateful for all the friendships that I have made this semester.
Japanese class has been fun, but there is also that feeling that concepts are being constantly thrown at you and you have no choice but to try to pick them up as fast as you can. This semester has been really difficult, but also really rewarding. I feel that studying in Japan has given me a chance to really comprehend and understand Japanese in a more natural setting. It’s difficult learning a language when you are not surrounded by it, but thanks to my Japanese friends and family, I have become able to hear and understand how to use the Japanese concepts that I know, and that I am still trying to understand, in everyday life.
With the help of IES Abroad and adventurous friends, I have gone on some amazing trips this semester. With Nagoya being right in between Osaka and Tokyo, there are many places within reach for quick weekend trips. I feel like being able to get out and explore Japan has really helped me to adjust to Japanese culture. I have learned about local arts, different local sweets, participated in matsuri and learned about the history of many of the places that I have visited. Japan has definitely been my classroom.
I am also really grateful for my host family. My host mother has done such a great job taking care of me while also taking care of my 2 year old host sister. She has really put in the effort to make me amazing meals and even take me to family events and places in and outside of Nagoya. My host dad works during the week and doesn’t come home until very late, so I usually haven’t seen him much outside of the weekends. But, each weekend is so much fun with him around. It has also been really amazing being able to watch my host sister grow and become better at speaking Japanese. It has been really fun playing and teaching her what I already know, but it has also been a learning experience for me as well (I learn quite a bit of Japanese from her interactions with my host mom).
I kind of want to write more, but my word limit is up. Overall, I am extremely happy with this semester. It seems so strange that I am going to go back to an English speaking society for winter break. Right now, final exams are right around the corner, so you won’t hear from me until I’m back in the states. Wish me luck!
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<p>Hi, my name is Ashley Bell and I am a Junior Political Science major at Santa Clara University. I'll be spending my spring semester in Nagoya, Japan and am very excited to share my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy seeing Japan through my eyes!</p>