When I was nine, I enrolled in my first karate class. In addition to learning karate techniques, I also learned the names of stances, blocks, and attacks in Japanese. As I began to compete internationally in karate, I had the privilege of meeting people form all over the world and learned about Japanese culture through these friendships. I decided to study abroad because I wanted the opportunity to continue my learning - both language and culture - in a highly immersive environment. Hopefully with the skills I learn through my time in Japan I will be well equipped to move to Japan in a few years and teach English as a second language.
I have learned a lot since living in Japan. Not only have I been able to make Japanese friends, but I've made friends with people from all over the world. I've been able to improve my Japanese while learning about cultures all over the world.
I have loved living with my host family. I get to eat dinner with them every day. Every day is a new opportunity to hear stories about their lives and learn about life in Japan.
I have also been able to do a lot of traveling within Japan. I've been able to travel to Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Hiroshima to name a few. I've been able to meet so many interesting people and see so many beautiful places. I'm extremely lucky and grateful for the experience. I really love living in Japan!
I had a very good study abroad experience. I was able to learn a lot about myself and other people. I had a lot of great experiences, and some difficult ones. First, let me talk about my good experiences.
In Japan, I was able to make a lot of new friends. With these new friends, I tried new food, visited temples and shrines that I had never been to before, and traveled through out Japan. I am very lucky to have had so many great experiences with so many amazing people.
Even though I had a lot of great experiences, there were still some challenges. Coming to Japan was the first time that I experienced culture shock. I loved living with my host family, but always using Japanese was very tiring. On days that I came home from school and didn't have the energy to use Japanese, I would just go to my room. Sometimes, it felt like I wasn't using my time in Japan to the fullest. In reality, I was just exhausted. Life in Japan was very different from my life in America. Every day, I was eating different foods than I was used to, having a much longer commute to and from school, and often not being able to sleep very well. However, these feelings mostly went away after the semester when I started to get used to my life in Japan. Even though it was difficult at times, it's a really great feeling of accomplishment that I was able to push through them and have a lot of rewarding learning experiences in Japan.
In the future, I'd like to become an English teacher. So, I hope to return to Japan very soon. Through my time in Japan, I was able to see so many beautiful sights that I'd be unable to see in America. Through these experiences, I really learned a lot. I had an amazing time studying abroad!