It is now August, and a full school year has passed by since I decided to enter Nagoya University and embark on a journey to an entirely new country. As someone who has lived in the United States her whole life, I never would have been able to imagine the adventures and life lessons I would experience in Nagoya. Waking up past midnight to the excited yells and laughter of my dormmates experiencing the first snowfall of their lives, potlucks and birthday celebrations, overnight buses to Tokyo or Osaka during the winter and spring vacations – in short, my year has been full of events, and my perspective has broadened widely since leaving my hometown of San Francisco.
I attend the School of Law, and for those interested, social sciences classes here often involve a lot of note-taking and reading. At times, the workload was intimidating, but I was always able to ask my fellow classmates and my professors for help due to the G30 Program’s small classes.
Some of the most important lessons I learned came from the interactions I had with other people, especially since everyone in the G30 Program comes from a different part of the world. I did experience a lot of culture shock and often felt uncomfortable, but I would say that my discomfort was critical to learning about other cultures and what the world thinks of my country. I heard a lot of stereotypes that made me laugh, and others that made me exclaim “that is so true!”
There are also many opportunities that you can find here in Japan, specifically at Nagoya University. Fellow classmates introduced me to my part-time job, and I also recently joined a “bukatsu” – or club activity. Meeting and interacting with Japanese people and foreigners outside of a class setting taught me a lot about the global society, and I am always reminded of the importance of language when a customer and I try to communicate partially in English, partially in Japanese, and the rest with outrageous gestures that somehow get our points across. It may sound tough, but it was always fun as it forced me to think outside of my comfort zone.
In conclusion, although the year has not always been bright, and culture shocks have often left me homesick and mentally exhausted, I can say that I am glad that I made the decision to come to Nagoya University.