After my 14 hour flight behind a crying baby, I was SO relieved to finally come home. I absolutely loved my time abroad but towards the end, I surprised myself by actually wanting to be in Beaver County, PA. I got exactly what I asked for; to be surrounded by a whole new culture. But after 5 weeks or so, I just really wanted to eat a big hamburger and be around something familiar. With that said, I would take the next flight to Japan if I could.
Truthfully, what I miss the most is the food and the people. (Sorry Market, Tsunami Sushi just doesn’t compare.) I’d love to get freshly made tempura with all the friends I made in Japan but luckily, most of them will be pretty close to me soon when they study abroad in Buffalo, New York. It seems that there are no cranky or rude people in Japan; I was showed nothing but kindness for my entire stay.
Not that I had a bad experience, I loved every minute of it actually, but being abroad made me appreciate being able to live and work in America. I was surprised at how male-oriented society, and particularly business, is in Asian countries. I love the convenience of American suburbs, the variety of foods and cultures, and the opportunities to be whoever you want. I will come back to Japan (to climb Mount Fuji if nothing else) but I think I would prefer to work in America where women have more opportunities to work their way up the corporate ladder.
I truly believe studying abroad has made me a different person. I feel more confident in new situations, I am a better speaker and communicator, and am more aware of societal and cultural differences. Studying abroad has made me realize the importance of intensive global marketing and fitting into cultural norms and I think that my international experience has made me a stronger student and a potential asset for companies when I’m looking for a job. I can’t believe I did it, but I cannot wait to go back.