After more than 16 weeks, 8 courses, 9 cities and tons of memories, my time in Japan has ended. I could not be happier with the time I have spent in this beautiful country and all the amazing people I have met along the way. I am incredibly grateful for the amazing opportunity to live and study in such an interesting place and I hope to return one day to visit my new friends and all the cities I didn’t get to.
Even though I was a foreigner in Japan, I’ve never felt safer or more welcome than I have in the last four months. Before I arrived in August, I was sure that I was going to be faced with extreme culture shock, however, due to the extreme hospitality and the nature of this seemingly western Asian country, I was able to adapt quite nicely and be as comfortable as can be before I left. While there were of course obstacles along the way, with the help of my friends and NUCB, I was able to overcome them and have a beyond incredible time.
What is amazing about Japan is the amount I learned outside of the classroom. Japanese culture is so extremely high-context and complex that I was constantly learning every day. Not only did I learn a lot about Japan but also about myself. This was my first experience living alone and in a country where I don’t speak the language. I also met many other exchange students from different countries with varying viewpoints. These experiences have truly taught me how to adapt and not only understand the differences between my culture and others, but appreciate them. With this, I now have a greater grasp on my identity as a Canadian; whereas if you had asked me before I left what it meant to be Canadian, I don’t think I could explain it. This change has allowed me to appreciate the finer details about my life in Canada and in Edmonton.
For those of you considering studying in Japan or even just traveling there in the future, my advice to you is DO IT. You truly won’t regret it. I will never forget my time in this amazing place and I look forward to returning. Thank you U of A, thank you NUCB and thank you Japan. じゃまた!