First of all, I’d like to formally apologize for not posting sooner. I unfortunately forgot to bring a charger converter with me, and I only recently got one.
So I guess that means I’ve got to catch you guys up on a lot of things. I’ve been here for a little more than three weeks now, which may not seem like much time in the grand scheme of things (I’ll be here for about four months total), but I’ve done a lot of activities so far!
I’ll start with the months before I arrived in Japan. I left New York on March 25th (and arrived the next day on March 26th, got to love time zones!). That means that I had a little more than three months to prepare for my study abroad experience, go on an emotional roller coaster, and say goodbye to all of my friends, family and my home. I was really nervous to leave, but I was also really excited to experience something new.
In the months before my departure, a lot of people asked me why I had chosen to go to Japan. To be honest I didn’t know how to answer that question. As an Asian Studies major, academically it made sense for me to want to study abroad in Japan. And I’ve always been interested in the culture and arts of Japan, so why not. But to be honest I think I’m the type of person who just throws herself into things without thinking about it, and then just figures it out as she goes along. And I think that’s what I’m doing here.
I’m not experienced when it comes to travelling. I went to Puerto Rico with my family once, but that’s about as far as I’ve travelled. So I hadn’t really ever left the country before, let alone gone anywhere without the comfort of family or friends. I took two planes. The first was a little over twelve hours, and took me from JFK in New York to Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan. The second flight took only a little more than an hour and a half, and took me from Tokyo to Fukuoka. The next day all of the new students took a bus to Nagasaki, which is where I am currently. From the moment we arrived in Nagasaki we were thrown straight into orientation for the next two weeks!
I was extremely unprepared when I first got here. I didn’t pack until the night before my flight. Let me tell you that was such a mistake. Not only was I extremely stressed out, but I forgot so much stuff! My suitcase was 52lbs, but I still had to have my mom send me a package with important stuff as soon as I got here!
Not only was I unprepared physically, but I could barely remember any of the Japanese I had already learned (and I’ve been taking Japanese at New Paltz for at least three semesters, so that should’ve counted for something). I mean, I had brushed up on my Japanese a little here and there throughout February and March, but not nearly as much as I should have. I was a bit of a mess when I first got here, because I could only remember a few basic words and phrases. But I think I’ve got the hang of it now that I’m getting used to everything. The language barrier has to be the hardest part of studying abroad (but only in places where they don’t speak a language that you know). I’ve embarrassed myself on more than one occasion, but I think that’s just a part of learning a new language. Besides that, everyone is willing to help you when you put in the effort. I’ve made a bunch of new friends, learned a bunch of new things in Japanese and am really excited to experience new things that I never thought would be possible!
So I guess that’s it for now, but I’ll keep you guys updated on things in Japan!