Had I been able to draw an ideal picture of what my study abroad at Keio University would look like, it would have matched reality exactly. My classes in Japanese cultural studies and Asian business offered me the vastly unique opportunity to hear a wide variety of perspectives from both Japanese and international students alike, and every single day in Tokyo or nearby prefectures offered me continual chances for new adventures.
Undoubtedly, the people with whom I experienced Japan are an integral part of what made my entire experience so special. Before arriving in Japan, I signed up for Keio University’s “Tomodachi Program,” which places international students with Japanese students to facilitate the formation of cross-cultural friendships. I could not have asked for a more wonderful group of girls—some of my absolute favorite memories come from our adventures going to see fireworks on the beach, getting a bird’s eye view of the city from Tokyo Tower, eating soufflé pancakes in Harajuku, and spending a day at Tokyo Disneyland.
Additionally, I was fortunate enough to be placed in a dorm with an extremely tight-knit community of students from all over the world, including Japan, Korea, Australia, Taiwan, and Luxembourg. This living situation afforded me even more friends with whom to explore daily life in Tokyo, as well as valuable friendships that I believe will last a lifetime. I’m already thinking of additional ways that I can incorporate this experience into my long-term career goals, and am actively looking for opportunities to return to Japan to develop professionally and make spectacular new memories.