When you go to study abroad, the lure of being in another country is sure to pull you out of the typical student mindset at times. Personally, with everything that Tokyo has to offer, that ended up happening quite a bit. Between themed restaurants, two Disney parks, all you can eat sushi, and arcades, I was pretty much concerned with anything but studying for a large portion of the time I have spent here. However, studying abroad is exactly that, STUDYING abroad.
Yes…yes, I know. It stinks to have to open a book or do a worksheet or write a 15 page essay on the Japanese economy when you could be playing racing video games in full sized cars that are on hydraulic platforms to make it a realistic driving experience. However, just like in real life (which you’re still technically in while studying abroad), you simply have to put on the adult pants and do the required work sometimes. Ultimately, the choice to study abroad should be driven by the opportunity to learn something new and not just have a vacation. Those with the vacation mindset tend to have an incredibly rough time with the work required of them, and may end up with a negative experience overall. So remember, come in with a student mindset, and be appreciative of the bonus of being able to have fun in another country!
For those of you with the student mindset, let me give you some tips. The work you will get abroad will almost always be less intense than the work you get at home. That being said, it is very often more relevant to what you’re doing, so it’s imperative that you absorb as much of it as you can. Do your assignments early and put the most effort in that you can, because it will ultimately help you understand where you are much sooner. Finals are often similar to the homework you will get during the semester, as always. That being said, it is way more difficult to study for them while abroad. As soon as finals end in your program, you may be heading right back home. That is a huge incentive to not study so that you can hurry up and do everything you wanted to do in your country before you leave. Again, the doing work early and putting in effort thing comes into play. If you put in effort during the semester, you won’t really have to study, and you will have effectively bought yourself time when it counts. So, don’t stress out at the end of your program and make yourself want to go home. Be a student first and a vacationer second!
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Hi all! My name is Ben Krieger, and I am a rising Junior at Miami University in Oxford, OH. I grew up in the Cleveland area as an aspiring professional football player, but clearly that is a path that I've abandoned because I'll be in Japan during my first season away from the game in fourteen years! I'm very excited to be in Tokyo for the fall, and I've been preparing to be able to at least survive in Tokyo by studying Japanese for the first time ever in Beppu, Japan this summer. I may not be great yet, but hopefully you'll watch me grow as I blog my way through the fall program!