When you travel abroad, the world around you literally becomes your classroom. You get to see the places you see in shows on the Travel Channel or try foods that are purely authentic to the country you are in. I feel like I’ve had a lot of these experiences since coming to Japan, but I find that they are really hard to convey to who people who haven’t experienced it themselves. But, I want to try telling you about the most impacting out-of-classroom experience I have had since coming to Japan. Recently, I traveled to Hiroshima with IES and visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The first thing you see when you get off the cable car is the Atomic Bomb Dome. After the atomic bomb was dropped in World War II, this building was still standing, despite being extremely close to the drop site. It has become a symbol of a Hiroshima that is still standing after such an event.
I went around the park and took a look at some of the memorials. The Children’s Peace Memorial is a statue of a girl holding a crane with actual chains of paper cranes in cases around it. It was a very amazing thing to see so many paper cranes made for spreading peace that had been given to be displayed in the memorial. The memorial for the atomic bomb victims led you down a path to an underground memorial that showed you places in Hiroshima in their relation to how close they are to the bombing site. Afterwards, you could read short stories of the thoughts of the youth who lost family to the bombing.
Afterwards, I headed straight to the museum. With listening devices, I was able to go through all of the exhibits and listen in English to the history, individual stories of those affected by the bombs and learn about the effects of radiation exposure. When learning about World War II in high school, there was very little that went over the bombings of Japan by the U.S. Not only did I get to visit the site where the bomb dropped, but I got to really learn about what had happened and how people were affected by it. It was really eye opening, because everyone knows about the atomic bomb droppings but nobody can really understand and relate to how horrible of an event it was to the nation of Japan. Because of this trip, I think my outlook has definitely been broadened and I have a new understanding of something I didn’t completely understand before coming to Hiroshima.
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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>