The First Two-Weeks Experience as an International Student Abroad

Onyekachi Nwabueze
September 14, 2015

10 September 2015 | 09:21 PM


It has been a whirlwind.


I am sitting here realizing that about two working weeks have gone by of me being in Japan. The amount of people I have met, friends I have made, embarrassing moments I have committed, and oriental customs I have learned in this short period of time have been unbelievable. The rollercoaster-like change of emotions I have felt in these past two weeks can be divied up into three smaller rides.



Words cannot describe how anxious, nervous, and stressed I was while packing and preparing for this journey. I packed everything last minute, our scale was broken so I could not weigh my heavy luggage, and I was running late for my flight.


However, in the end, it all worked out just fine. *phew*



Once all (or most) of the students arrived at the airport, our ePals helped us send our luggage forward and buy bus tickets to Hotel the Manhattan, where we would be staying for the first 3 nights. Immediately all the students were chatting with and getting to know one another. That same night, the ePals took everyone out for dinner near the hotel, which was a very nice welcome for us all.

By the way, the hotel we stayed in was top-notch. Thank you IES Abroad for that 5-star quality treatment.

View from my hotel room on Makuhari area

Makuhari business district

ePal Tour of Makuhari and Kanda University


One of the things I really enjoy about this program is that you are given the freedom to explore the area on your own and without a filtered guidance. One of the first nights of orientation week, I remember going out to dinner with a couple friends and struggling to read the all-Japanese menu before we struggled to order in Japanese.


I think it is crucial one’s learning experience that they are almost thrown into situations where their comfort zone is non-existent It makes for a good story (and in this case, a good Snapchat video).

From the mouths of everyone I talk to about Japan, come forth these words, “There is just so much to see in Japan”.  And they’re completely right. Everyday I am seeing and learning new things. While exploring the streets of Makuhari, my friends and I walked through an arcade.


It was interesting to see all types and ages of people enjoying themselves at various gaming machines. It was impressive to see those who were so basically like gaming professionals on some of the machines as well!

Gaming machines in the SEGA Arcade of Makuhari


We moved into our respective host families and dorm rooms on the 4th day of September.  Figuring out the Japanese subway system navigation was not as horrific as we thought it would be. Getting to and fro from station to station is becoming second-nature, (of course with a few trial-and-errors along the way).

An entrance wing of Baraki-Nakayama Station


One of the highlights of my journey so far was going to Tokyo. I went on a whim trip with a couple of other IES students and an ePal. It was such a fun time. As I wrap up with post with pictures of my first time in Tokyo, I would just like to express how unreal yet real it has been for me to come to Japan and study. I am so excited for what lays ahead and cannot wait to share the rest of my journey with you all!

Thank you! L8rrr!

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Onyekachi Nwabueze

<p>Hey there! I am Onyekachi Nwabueze and I am a Nigerian born and raised in San Francisco, California. I am a student at Occidental College studying Cognitive Science, Education, and Linguistics. I love love LOVE to dance, sing, learn, try new things, and paint my nails. My current career paths include varsity athlete, big sister, wanna-be professional dancer, and villainous chiller (one who chills like a villain).</p>

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