Location:  Oyama, Tochigi, Japan
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Term Abroad: Fall '15

Major: Global and International Studies (East Asian focus)

Minor: Japanese Studies

Career Plans:

I plan to return to school and pursue a master’s and eventual doctorate degree focusing on East Asian culture and religion. I wish to become a professor of Asian studies and conduct research on the cultural and religious impacts that East Asia has throughout the world. 

How did studying abroad impact your experience at IUPUI?
Studying abroad was required in order to graduate with an international studies degree, and I am thankful I was given that extra push to study abroad. Learning at a new institution abroad and learning how to live in another country was an eye-opening experience. I saved my study abroad semester so that I would be able to graduate upon returning, and it made my last experience at IUPUI an overwhelmingly interesting and exciting one. 

Was your study abroad program as you expected?
I feel that unless you have been abroad before, you can never really know what to expect from the experience. I was blown away by Japan. Everything was so different, and yet so inherently Japanese that it made for a surprising semester in Japan. The way the Japan operates and runs its universities and classes is vastly different than expected. The way of life in Japan was also different than what I expected. I wish I had taken two semesters to study in Japan, because I felt like I was just finally getting adjusted and figuring how to be successful in Japan before I came home. 

At a templeWhat did you think about your study abroad program? Would you study abroad again?
I wish I could have taken a wider variety of classes that delved into the rich culture of Japan and its long history. The program was geared towards Japanese language majors, and I was sort of the oddball out. While I have studied Japanese for 3 years, I was nowhere near fluent enough to function independently in Japan. Instead of studying abroad again, I would rather travel more frequently, and possibly live and teach in another country. 

What do you think you gained from studying abroad?
Studying abroad in Japan gave me a skill set of living independently and functioning in a foreign environment that will be useful for my future. The experience helped me become better at solving issues and understanding how to overcome language and cultural barriers. It also deepened by love for the Japanese culture and way of life. The experience was eye-opening in the fact that I thought I knew all there was to know about how to be Japanese and live in Japan. However, this experience showed me that I had just scratched the surface in my knowledge of Japan, fueling my desire to continue my studies on Japan and East Asia as I still have so much to learn! 

What advice would you give to other students thinking about studying abroad?
Have an open mind. Do not expect anything from the experience and you will be blown away by everything. Enjoy different foods, new experiences, and learning in a new world. Meet people and make new friendships abroad. They can help you succeed in your new home and show you new and exciting things. Do not be afraid to explore and live a new and exciting life while you are abroad. This is a once in a lifetime experience, so make the most of it! Another small bit of advice is to be wise with your money while you are abroad. Remember that you need money to survive while you are there, so try to avoid splurging on cool things you see and toys you want to buy during your first month or two there.