Year/term abroad: Academic Year 2014-2015
Why did you choose this program? I chose this program because it was one of the few offered and the price was relatively affordable. Nagoya is like a big city but not nearly as crowded as Tokyo.
Describe your favorite class abroad. My favorite class was the Japanese Society class. It was interesting to learn the meaning behind seen and unseen culture in Japan. Each week we would read about a certain aspect of Japanese society and then come to class to discuss the readings. I also had a very charismatic teacher who would bring snacks related to the topic every class period.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I lived in a host family and I really liked it. I had a lot of freedom, but all the members in the house worked so I did not always have a lot of time for one on one. However, my host mom always tried to take me to events and always talked with me when she could.
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Try to make friends with or talk to the locals when you have the chance, you'll never know who you meet or what wisdom they can give you. Also, immerse yourself in the culture and always try a new thing at least once. You will never know if you truly like or dislike anything until you try.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? My best memory was traveling because I got to see so many different types of environments that I never thought possible.
What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? My biggest surprise was that transportation was so easy. In Indiana without a car, you cannot go anywhere, but in Japan there are trains, bicycles, buses, and it was easy to get around by walking.
Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. In Japan, the Japanese will often stare at foreigners. It is annoying at first but, I did not mind later. However when I came back and when I saw people looking in my direction I thought "Isn't dangerous to stare at people in America? Why am I being stared at?" I forgot that when people stare in your direction they’re not always staring at you.
“If I could do it over, I would…” I would apply for more scholarships and try more thing I had never tried before.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I would have liked to understand just how short 1 year is so that I could try hard to treat everyday as a special experience.
What do you wish someone had told you before you left? I wish I knew about the JASSO scholarship because it can cover your living expenses.
What was your greatest challenge? At times, My greatest challenge was the language. Once or twice I lost my train pass on the train and I had to explain this to the train attendants. At first it was really hard to do but after talking to a couple of train attendants, I began to not only to understand they way Japanese people talk but I also started to help others when they lost their items on the train.
Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” On campus, your world view is broadened and you get the chance to meet a diverse group of people. By going abroad, you get the chance to experience a new culture and new ways of living that might contrast your own. Going abroad can help you to understand that one country's way is not the absolute way.
What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? All the weird trends that you see on-line is done by a minority of Japan's population. However, the country is a land of very creative people who often do not let conventionality stop their creativity.
How did you find scholarships for study abroad? I found my scholarships through the Office of Overseas Study.
Would you recommend other students pursue any specific scholarship opportunities? I wish I had known about the JASSO scholarship because it can cover your living expenses.