When I went to Japan, I wanted to have various experiences and go to a new place every day. I also wanted to eat a variety of Japanese cuisine.
I assumed that I would make friends, but I didn’t think about it too much before I went. I mainly wanted to make friends to go with trips on. Since my host family turned out to be very kind, I was able to go on many fantastic journeys with them, which certainly enhanced my experience.
The first time I went to Kyoto with friends was a blast. We visited a number of temples and shrines and learned a lot about traditional Japanese culture.
I’ll never forget this trip because I met three new people who became my good friends over the course of the semester.
I ate lunch with two of them every week. I went on a trip to Hiroshima with one of them. Because I saw them each week, I was able to have a fantastic student life at Kansai Gaidai.
Along the way, I didn’t just make new companions. I was able to prove to myself that I could navigate around the country alone, but I definitely preferred to travel with others to places with gorgeous scenery like Osaka Castle.
“I’m glad I studied abroad because I was able to meet so many great people.”
When I went to the Osaka History Museum by myself, I was able to read all of the exhibits. However, when I went with my friend, we could have a lot more fun while walking through the museum, as it felt more like a family vacation when I traveled with certain people.
Before I came to Japan, I was nervous about my host family. I didn’t know whether they would be strict, if I would have a curfew, or if they would expect me to do activities with them all the time. My host family turned out to be the best, and I learned a lot about Japanese culture from them.
My host mother did a tea ceremony for us once, and taught me how to whisk the tea properly as well as how to drink it. In October, we went to their traditional Japanese country house, along with a festival, where I got to try playing a taiko drum.
My first trip to Osaka Castle was also with my host family the first weekend I was in Japan. My host mother made us lots of delicious food, and when I got sick, my host mother and father took care of me. I had many great experiences with my host family that I will cherish for the rest of my life, as they essentially became a second family to me.
Even though I arrived to Japan alone, I made a lot of new friends by the time I left. If I hadn’t met them and my host family, I can’t imagine what my Japanese experience would have been like. I’m glad I studied abroad because I was able to meet so many great people.