Home. For some of us, “Home” is a complicated subject. It’s hard to define at times. We often hear phrases like “Home is where the heart is” and “Home is where the WIFI connects automatically”; regardless of what phrase we use today, I am home. Those who know me understand my struggle, as for years I have been torn by the concept of “home”. It wasn’t till this morning, while drinking my coffee, breathing in the fresh Washington morning air and talking to my family about my adventures abroad that I realized home is Washington.
Japan was an amazing experience. I am so thankful that I could step out of my comfort zone and go abroad to meet new people, experience new culture and learn from those who I would have otherwise never had the privilege to speak to. I will always remember and appreciate how I was treated as a foreigner in Japan. Although it was obvious that I didn’t know the culture, customs or language, I was always met with patience, kindness, and respect. I will miss the subtle but constant expressions of respect and regard displayed to others. Although this might be local to Matsuyama, I will miss the more obvious sense and importance placed on community, and the genuine interest people had in one another.
For those of you who are wondering if you should do study aboard, I truly mean this: DO IT. I will not be able to truly express on paper all the benefits that this program has brought to me, personally and academically. Stepping headfirst into a culture which isn’t yours is a journey I would highly encourage everybody to embark on. The ways in which your will see your own culture and others will be changed completely. If you go in with an open mind, willing to learn and appreciate, I guarantee you will be blown away by what you encounter.
Going to Japan was an amazing experience. I would like to thank UWB Study Abroad for helping me make this trip possible, to allow me to experience a new world, a new culture and make so many new friends. I honestly believe this was a life changing experience. I was glad I went, and I’m glad to be home.