The Experience of a Lifetime (on a backpack): 12 Day Countdown!

The fact that I will be going to Asia for the first time ever has been slowly sinking in, but it has not quite hit me yet. Perhaps it will all register once I board the plane to Japan and commence my overseas experience. Nevertheless, I can not wait to take off! To say that I am excited to study abroad would be an understatement; I am exhilarated. I have been dreaming of going to Asia since I was about 8 years old but never the resources or opportunity to go until now. This will be the first time I ever travel across the world (with the exception of a few trips I’ve taken to the Dominican Republic to visit family) and I plan to do it all on a backpack.

Wait.. did you say, “a backpack?!” 

That’s right. And here is the very backpack that will take me around Japan and South Korea for the next two months:


(It’s much bigger than it seems, I promise!)

I want to travel and make the most out of this learning experience, so packing light is my best bet. I’ll be staying at a hostel in Osaka, Japan for 9 nights before going over to South Korea to begin my official study abroad program. Afterwards, I will head down to Jeju island, a densely populated tropical island just south of the South Korean mainland, where I will spend 5 nights exploring the island and learning it’s history. Did I mention that I will be taking a tour of the Demilitarized Zone and Joint Security Area in North Korea?! (Nope, not a typo, refresh the page if you don’t believe me). This opportunity is offered through my host institution as a cultural immersion experience and believe it or not, I am looking forward to it. Since I want to experience as much as I possibly can in South Korea, I ended up signing up for nearly all of the cultural activities. A few of the one’s that I’m most excited about are: Making Kimchi, Temple Stay, and South Korea’s annual Mud Festival event!

So, how do I feel about all of this? Scared? Nervous? Excited? Well, to reiterate, I am ABSOLUTELY EXHILARATED. It is invigorating, yet surreal to picture myself on the other side of the world with my life in a backpack. Nonetheless, I am prepared, both physically (maps, bus routes, travel equipment, etc.) and mentally.

I will be sure to keep you all posted on my travels/experiences. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave it as a comment below!



My name is Jeremy Luna, and I am a Dominican-American student participating in a year-long study abroad opportunity at Kanazawa University, Japan. Currently, I am majoring in International Relations and Asian Studies, and I will become a diplomat in the future! Last summer, I studied abroad in South Korea, where I undertook an English-teaching internship, and backpacked through Kansai, Japan! I was just recently offered the opportunity to work in the U.S. embassy in Osaka, Japan this summer!

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