Why did you want to study abroad?
I’ve been interested in Japanese culture ever since taking Japanese language classes in high school, so I wanted to experience living in Japan firsthand, improve my language abilities, and meet lots of new people.
What has been your most surprising, positive, or challenging experience abroad?
Realizing how much money I’ve been spending, which is ironic considering that living in Japan is fairly cheap right now since the dollar is so strong compared to the yen. But since I go out a lot, whether it’s exploring/traveling or shopping or just hanging out with friends, I end up spending a lot of money on experiences. It’s not something I regret, since thankfully I have enough savings to cover it and I’m making lots of great memories, but it is something I will have to keep in check later on.
Any advice to potential study abroad students?
Seek growth and learning through discomfort. Living abroad for an extended period of time can be scary and challenging, but it’s one of the best opportunities for growth and self-development that you will ever have in your life, so take advantage of it and go somewhere exciting!
How are you managing your academic success abroad during the pandemic?
I minimized the amount of classes I’m taking so that I could put more focus on each one while dealing with the challenges of studying abroad. There is almost always something new that pops up that I have to deal with, or exciting experiences or events that I want to participate in, so I realized I had to take a lighter course load to have time for everything and still be able to succeed academically, as well as succeed in my other goals.
What are some ways that you are interacting with the local community ?
I’ve made friends with several Japanese students and they’ve shown me around different parts of Tokyo and taken me to places like restaurants, bars, karaoke, observatories, shrines, and temples. Having local connections really helps to better integrate with the local community because they show me how to act, speak, and what is considered acceptable and not acceptable.
What are some tips for managing your health and safety while traveling during the pandemic?
Take the normal precautions as you would anywhere else; wear a mask, wash your hands, try to avoid crowds if you can, and make smart choices