Samantha is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Japan
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose this program because I am studying Asian art and because I am of the Japanese heritage. Also, I knew that the Japan program was one of the most well established and local one of the bunch, with home stays and becoming close to the students and the area.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
All of us CSBSJUers lived in a house near campus and after our last trip to Kyoto/Hiroshima we came back to find all of our Japanese friends there waiting for us. The had cleaned the kitchen and they had gifts and they were all there to stay goodbye to us. This is something uniquely Japanese. The people are so kind and so respectful and so loyal. The best part of our trip was making lifetime friendships with the students at BGU and being able to have them come visit here in February.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Japan was incredible! There's no way to explain it unless you were there, I had a hard time sharing my experiences with my family! But that is something so unique and so valuable to experience; to have something you as an individual will cherish for the rest of your life and something that you shared with your classmates. I made the closest friends with my fellow CSBSJUers that I had never met before the trip. I think that being away from everything you are familiar to really strengthens who you are and focuses you on what you want for your future. That's what this trip did for me. I am now solidified in my Asian art studies, and I leaned about my Japanese ancestors, I learned a new language and now I have friends that will last a lifetime!
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
I have grown up immensely through this trip. I now know who I am more intimately and what I want for my future. I also feel like my options have broadened as I feel I can now call Tokyo my home. Also, academically, I am very confident in my Japanese language now after intensive classes almost everyday! Also, I am now very informed about Asian relations and more specifically Japanese politics and tradition and business etc. things I would have never been able to know so fully if I had stayed here. Going to another country to learn their ways is so much more effective and valuable than a classroom in the Midwest could ever be.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would say to ask a lot of questions and get the application process going early. The whole thing is a little stressful to organize, but don't let that deter you! And by being interested in a program you have the right to feel knowledgeable and comfortable applying to it, so don't be afraid to ask many questions!
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Japan? Email Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org