I can't believe I am already back on American soil. It feels like just the other day I was getting my passport checked in Japan, with excitement rushing through my veins. Just moments before meeting Xavier, who little did I know, would be come my best friend on this amazing experience. It feels like just the other day I was sitting in a room of 150 international students complaining about the drawn out orientations and comparing excitement and expectations for the semester ahead. I remember meeting my host parents for the first time, meeting the IES Abroad group in Inuyama, the beautiful scenery at Shirakawago, everything about this experience is still fresh within me and I am excited to see how my life goes on from here. Studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan, through IES Abroad, is hands down the number one best way I could have spent my first semester of my senior year. The things I learned this semester, whether in the classroom or not, will be with me for the rest of my life and I am extremely proud of my progression through it all. I don't want to call this list the things I will miss most about Japan, I'd rather call it the things I look most forward to when I return to Japan.
- My host family
- Japanese friends I made in Tokyo, as well as the very close friends I made in Nagoya
- Lawson convenient stores (more specifically the Machi Cafe snacks)
- General politeness amongst Japanese people
- Reliable public transportation
On the contrary of how this post may seem so far, I am actually excited to go back home. For one, I miss my family. Very excited to see everyone again and tell them about my experience in what seems like an entirely different planet to most Americans. I am also excited to get back to work, as crazy as that sounds. But I do miss having my own money in my pocket and ready to use whenever I would like. On that note, I'd like to share a quick list of helpful tips for anyone wanting to study abroad in Japan, live in Japan, or for visitors to Japan.
- Generally speaking, Japan is a fairly expensive country to live in (specifically if you like to eat fruit, it will definitely get pricey)
- Since Tokyo is the #1 tourist attraction and has the most number of foreigners in it compared to other Japanese cities, the streets are not nearly as clean as other place. Not to say don't go to Tokyo, DEFINITELY GO TO TOKYO. But just keep that in mind, although I guess compared to some U.S. cities you may not be too shocked (i.e. Atlanta)
- Don't forget to say "itadakimasu" "gochisoosama deshita" when beginning and ending a meal, respectively. And if staying with a host family, "itte kimasu" "tadaima" and "okaerinasai" when leaving the house, returning home, and when someone else returns home, respectively.
- DON'T BE SCARED TO TRY NEW FOOD. TRY AS MUCH NEW FOOD AS POSSIBLE. (unless you're allergic to fish)
- GO TO SHIRAKAWAGO; IF POSSIBLE IN THE FALL
- Have fun!
For me, the most important part about studying abroad was experiencing an entirely new culture and being around people who are a part of that culture daily. It was about trying new things, meeting new people, and stepping out of my comfort zone. The knowledge I gained while studying abroad in that beautiful city in Japan, I know I could not have gained anywhere else on this planet at any other point in time. One last time, I want to say thank you to everyone who was a part of my study abroad experience in Japan and everyone who allowed me to be a part of theirs. I know you will all do great things, and I will see you again when I return to Japan!
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<p>I am a graphic design student at Georgia State University. I work in a number of mediums including drawing, painting with oils, acrylics, and watercolors, and screen-printing. I tend to draw inspiration from artists such as Chuck Close, Dan Flavin, Roy Lichtenstein, KAWS, and Jeff Koons. I also enjoy studying different artistic styles as a whole, including: surrealism, pop art and Japanese ukiyo-e prints. Other than art and work, the majority of my time goes to listening to music and attempting to learn anything new from photography to playing a saxophone to transcendentalism. **attached creative sample is titled "A Groovy Portrait of a Universal Soul". 19.5x25.5. Micron pen and watercolor on paper.</p>