Anybody would be crazy to even think about rejecting an opportunity to study abroad. You get to live in the hub of Japan! Meet completely different people from you! Observe (and eventually cherish) a part of the world that is so unique and colorful that it’s impossible to even say no to at least a little peek—in fact, this could very well be the highlight of your college years. You are so lucky to be studying abroad. And now you’ve been given the chance, there is nothing holding you back. No reason to say no.
But… somehow it crossed my mind:
Of course, I am so grateful for the opportunity. Almost overwhelmingly thankful. With all this gratitude comes an urge to repress all worries and anxieties. But boiling water can’t be held down in a pot that’s already filled to the brim, and suddenly the floodgates opened to let in the rush of questions I’ve had since my acceptance letter:
What will happen to my friends and family while I’m gone? What kind of new friends will I make? Will the friendships I make here last even after we separate? I have millions of questions about both the experiences gained in Japan and the experiences missed at home, but the thought that rings loudest is this one: What if people move so far on with their lives that I’m left behind?
In a sense, your life is on pause while you’re studying abroad. You’re growing as an individual (which is great!!), but the life left back at home will be waiting for the person who left, not the person you became. You’ll have to readjust to the changes that happened in the time you were gone.
Now this all sounds sad and grey, but something that helped me come to terms with all this doubt was not actually fixing the problem itself—it was fixing how I feel about the problem. I decided to look at this trip as a traveler would. An expedition! There are some people who enjoy exploring simply for a sense of self-satisfaction, but there are also those who, more so than travel, love to share what has happened to them, where they’ve been, who they’ve seen. And through this blog, I hope to become that person!
The people at home may not be the people I remember, but I’ll have new things to share with them—and they, in turn, will have new things to share with me! On my first days here, I realized this will also work exactly the other way around, too. I’ve shared a lot of old experiences with new friends, but to them, these experiences are fresh! Being alone in a completely new environment takes a lot on your part, but it gives you even more to share with friends—old and new. In a way, I have to get to know my friends from home again. But writing my thoughts out on this blog can really help me process my experiences here, and get to share an even more vivid story when I go back home!
I’m really scared of heights, but I love the adrenaline and amazing sights that come with it. I’m also really scared of animals, but I find them fascinating and hard not to love (except spiders… though I still admit they are fascinating/terrifying, but I digress). If this pattern follows, even if I am absolutely terrified of nearly all things new, I think it will be impossible to not look back on this year fondly. So… here’s to 2015-2016 in Japan!
Pictured: Kiyose Sunflower Festival in Kiyose. Went the wrong way twice, but still somehow made it into the fields!!! And the flowers were endless!!! Just another reminder to have an optimistic and sunny outlook.