Bao is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Japan
Major: Asian Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Going to Japan has always been a life-long dream of mine, so I chose to study abroad in Japan. I am in love with the culture, performing arts, contemporary arts, and language and would like to share that with other students who are also into Japanese art and culture.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I really enjoyed the pure mineral water hot springs (onsen) trip that was part of our excursions to Nikko, Japan. With all the schoolwork and events you really don't have time to relax, but the hotsprings was one of the best experiences I had abroad. The hotel also provided Japanese clothing (yukata) as well for you to relax and enjoy your time there. In the morning, just right outside the hotel, you're surrounded by glittering gold&red leaves contrasting off of the enormous clear blue lake and to the right of the lake, is a Tori gate in front of an even bigger mountain which symbolizes that a god resides in that mountain. A little while walk, and you can reach one of Japan's most beautiful waterfalls, that makes you really realize that you're in a different country.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was fantastic doing an internship with preschoolers in Japan. Not only are you teaching them English, but in turn can learn basic Japanese language and etiquette when working with the staffs at the preschool. It was also a paid internship but that meant that students who wants to do the internship had to get work visas.
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?
Studying abroad, I've becoming more motivated to go teach English abroad and learn more about other cultures. It has taught me to be more open-minded and dependent wherever I went, and most important of all to be more confident whether it be for personal, academic, or professional reasons. Academically, the Japan Study abroad helped me finish my Japanese minor and Asian Studies major requirements. Professionally, this experience has helped me develop the skills needed to work in Japan whether it be as a teacher, translator, or business person. The courses on Japanese business and diplomacy were very helpful in preparing me for my career goal.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Be prepared for any emergency bills while abroad because internet access will be limited to the dorm and school facilities. Come with an open-mindedness, and be prepared to immerse yourself in the culture as much as possible. Proper etiquette is also very important for socializing with other students from Bulgaria, Nepal, Malaysia, Turkey, and other staffs and strangers. It's more than just an experience to learn about Japanese culture, it's also a MULTI-CULTURAL exchange program with other students from all around the world.