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Indiana University

Student Profiles

Jeff exchanges t-shirts with a friend at Nanzan University.

Overseas Study Program

Nagoya,  Japan

Don’t rule out living in a dorm during your time abroad. Weigh all of the housing options that you have and pick the one that is right for you.”

Jeff Heerdink

Jeff’s majors: International Studies, East Asian Languages & Cultures, Germanic Studies

Year abroad: Fall 2009

Reason you chose this program: : I’ve wanted to study abroad in Japan since I was in high school, and the IU-sponsored program at Nanzan University was the perfect fit to both fulfill that goal and continue to make academic progress at IU.

Favorite classes: Seminar in War & Peace

Housing situation: I lived in Nanzan’s apartment-style dorms (Nagoya Koryu Kaikan) with one Japanese student and two other international students as my roommates.

Best memory: On campus I happened to run into my Japanese friend from high school. I hadn’t seen her nearly four years, and while I knew she was from the area, I never expected to meet up with her on campus. We had a very movie-like reunion, complete with running, hugging, and slow-motion, of course.

Biggest Surprise: There is a large IU Alumni group in Japan. Several of the other IU students and I were able to meet with them for a nice dinner and share stories of our experiences at IU.

Greatest challenge: Filling out all of the paperwork. Japan requires a myriad of documents in order register for a foreign resident card, national health insurance, and a bank account.

What you know now that you didn’t know before: I now know just how useful study abroad is for language improvement.  Although I felt like I wasn’t actually improving while I was in Japan, once I returned I realized just how much my Japanese language abilities had grown.

What I wish I knew before I left:  I wish I had known how hard it would be to leave after only a semester.  The fall semester was great, but I know it would have been an even better experience had I stayed for the academic year.

Fact about Japan that you think people would be surprised to learn: It is not crowded everywhere in Japan.  Even in one of Japan’s biggest cities, Nagoya, there was plenty of room to breathe.