It is 12 days before I leave for Japan, and it’s starting to sink in that I am leaving the country for an extended period of time. 11 months!
My wanting to go to Japan started in first grade with a school project. Ever since then, it has been an exhaustive journey trying to get over there: As a nine year-old, I was researching exchange programs; in middle school, I was putting my name on rotary lists; in high school, I was joining schools groups that promised to take us abroad.
While I received opportunities to go other places abroad towards the end of high school, everything to Japan always fell through or was too expensive. Unfortunately, the curse continued throughout my and many other college students’ experiences once COVID-19 hit. My May-term fell through my freshman year, and then my plans to leave for an academic year my junior year were… DEMOLISHED (thanks, COVID). However, after a lot of patience, scholarship applications, and hard work, I finally have a visa in hand and am packing my suitcase!
I have no idea what awaits me this next year, but I am feeling emotions I was not expecting to feel. I am really excited, but also really nervous. I like to think of myself as someone who is open-minded, but how will I react to living in a new space for an entire year? How will I fare using majority my second language? How will I respond to different societal expectations and family rules? No doubt, it is going to come with challenges, but I also believe it is going to be a beautiful part of my life story. I will dive deeper into who I am as an individual whilst learning about another culture.
I’m excited for you guys to go on this journey with me and get to know me more as I am getting to know myself.
See you in Japan!