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Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Japan Study Abroad Experience- Part 1

My Japan Study Abroad Experience
Part 1: Beginning the Journey

UNO-Japan: Study at Doshisha University
Studying in Kyoto, Japan
To Learn more go to inst.uno.edu/Japan or contact them at UNOJapan@uno.edu or (504)280-6388.

I always wanted to go to Japan since high school. Once I reached college I had the opportunity presented to me, literally. I was in my Japanese class when I first saw the program director of the Division of International Studies department. She came into the class to recruit students for the summer of 2010 program. I listened to her presentation, took a flyer, and really considered it. And it was even in that class that I was like "I gotta go on the trip." She also popped into my music appreciation class which is when I was thinking to myself that I needed to go on this program. I told my parents that I needed the Japanese class they were offering which was true but I just really wanted to go to Japan. I applied for the program online and got accepted. The application form was easy to complete. I registered for two classes (a requirement for the program) and filled out the questionnaire about why I should go on the trip. Knowing I was going on the trip made me the happiest person I knew. By the time I saw the program director again in my Anthropology class I was already going on the trip and was encouraging others in my class to come along which I ended up recruiting a guy from my class that I was becoming friends with.

The 2010 program was the Japan study abroad program's second year, so it was still in the forming process. By that time the program director made a Facebook page so the attending students could get to know one another before the trip. It worked out really well because I made friends with some of the attendees before the trip even started. I even got a roommate through that Facebook page. Not only that but for people in the New Orleans area got to attend a introduction meetup. It was meant to introduce all the participants to Japan, the faculty who would teach us, our curriculum we'd be following, and all the other students who'd be participating. It was very fun and my parents got to meet the director of the program which put their minds at ease. They were also happy to see that I was going to be with friends since I recruited two guys from my classes to go on the trip with me.

When the time for the trip got closer, about 4 months closer, I booked my flight according to one of the teacher's flight. I shopped around for gifts I could give my lunch partner that I would be assigned to when I got to the college. My birthday was a few weeks before the study abroad trip so I asked for money to help with my spending fund. I knew I needed spending money because I wanted to do as much as I could. I didn't know if I would ever get the opportunity to go back to Japan. I pretty much went into this trip thinking it was my last time because I didn't know what the future held for me, I was only 19 and a freshman in college. I was nervous just because it was going to be something completely new to me but I was mostly excited to get into that culture and experience life in a new way. I started packing my bags a few days before the trip: clothes, snacks, school materials, and the necessities.

On the plane to Japan and walking through the Japanese airport.

It was a morning flight. I didn't get much sleep due to my excitement, but it didn't matter because I was up and ready to go. Before going through security and the bag checks the study abroad group for this flight was gathered to meet up with each other. All the students were still chatting with their families, spending the few minutes they had together because flying across the world. My parents and husband (boyfriend at the time) were very sad. They were happy for me, doing something I really wanted to do, but they still didn't quite get why I wanted to go to Japan. They probably took it as me leaving them. After all the students arrived at the airport we said our goodbyes to the people who were seeing us off and set our sights on Japan. We took a flight that went from New Orleans, Louisiana to Houston, Texas to Tokyo, Japan to Osaka, Japan. We got off the plane exhausted, ready to settle into the Keishikan (our dorm rooms). But we sadly had to stay up a bit longer in our drenched clothes from the rain we walked in to listen to the quick introduction to the program before bed. We were just starting our study abroad adventure.
My room I stayed in with my roommate.
To be continued in part 2: http://japantherapyneworleans.blogspot.com/2015/08/my-study-abroad-experience-part-2.html

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