Featured Post

Planning a Trip to Japan

You could go the easy route and pay a travel agent to plan your trip but that'll cost you a lot of money, money that you may not even ha...

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Japan Study Abroad Experience- Part 3

Part 1: http://japantherapyneworleans.blogspot.com/2015/08/my-japan-study-abroad-experience-part-1.html

Part 2: http://japantherapyneworleans.blogspot.com/2015/08/my-study-abroad-experience-part-2.html

My Japan Study Abroad Experience
Part 3: Tomodachi

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.

This program has something very unique and that's the Tomodachi Program. Tomodachi means friend in Japanese. That's literally what you get when you sign up for this program, you get a ton of new friends. At the beginning of the program you have an opening ceremony to attend which is just a relax party to introduce you to some of the Japanese students involved in the Tomodachi Program and students who volunteered to help. You'll also get to see all your teachers and fellow program students. There will be a speech, food to eat, and an ice breaker game with the Japanese students.
My roommate and I socializing with some Japanese students at the opening ceremony.
The first day of classes is when you get to finally meet your tomodachi partner. You don't get to choose your partner, it'll be a surprise to the both of you. I remember all the study abroad students gathering in from of the Meitokukan, the building we ate lunch in which you can call the cafeteria. All the students were getting paired by the program coordinator. I was nervous as I was waiting for my name to be called up to meet my partner. The first thing that was going through my mind at the time was would my partner like me. That was probably the most important thing to me. My tomodachi partner ended up being pretty cool. Her name was Aki. Her English was not that great but it was still better than my Japanese in my opinion. To make it easy on her I would speak Japanese if I knew how to say what I wanted to say. At lunch time it would be me and a few of my friends that was studying with me and all our tomodachi partners. All the tomodachi partners had a limited English vocabulary and none of my fellow abroad student that I had lunch with knew Japanese, so I ended up being a translator. I don't know exactly how well I did but it must have been good enough because the tomodachi partners would comment on how well my Japanese was. 
I'm sitting in the cafe part of the cafeteria with the tomodachi partners.
My tomodachi partner and I got along fine but she was very busy. She was not available to hangout on weekends which was a bummer because a lot of the other tomodachi partners took the students they were paired off with to cool places on the weekends. Sometimes she would not even be available for lunch on the weekday which was also sad, but the other students I got close with let me eat with them and their lunch partners. I got to become with with a bunch of the Japanese students this way, so it all worked out in the end.

The best "tomodachi" I got out of the study abroad program were the other students. I made lifelong friends on this program. We all got to bond over this experience of being in Japan for the first time. We ate together, went on adventures, got lost together, and took care of each other when someone got sick. These friends I made on the program will be in my life forever. I seriously can't express these feelings any further. I love them with all my heart. They are like family to me. We all just made a connection and we took the effort to stay together. I'm very happy to have these tomodachi in my life.
Then (2010)
Now (2015)
We will all walk our own paths but we will always stick together.

Continue to Part 4: http://japantherapyneworleans.blogspot.com/2015/09/my-study-abroad-experience-part-4.html

Follow me on Google+ to be updated on posts: https://plus.google.com/+JenniferTorresjapantherapy

Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/japantherapynola

Follow me on Instagram: https://instagram.com/japantherapy/