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Ian Valverde '10

ian
During the spring semester of my junior year here at Mount Union, I chose to study abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan.  Upon making this decision, I was excited about the sights I would get to see and the experiences I would have thanks to my decision to study abroad.  When the time actually came, however, I (like many of my classmates) was worried about everything from making it to the airport on time to getting lost in a foreign country with no way to communicate.  Mostly, I was worried about expenses, but after receiving the Freeman-ASIA Award (just one of the many scholarships available for students studying abroad), I was able to experience Japan to its fullest.

Overall, I would have to say that my time in Japan was an amazing experience. There is certainly something to be said about living in a country where one could be walking past a side street’s parking lot one minute, only to come upon a hundreds of years-old shrine the next.  The country literally pulsates with history and culture, both old and new.  Of course, not only did living there give me the ability to experience another country’s culture first-hand, but it also gave me the opportunity to meet and interact with hundreds of people from all over the world, helping to put some of my world views into perspective. Given the chance, I would be more than willing to go back, as living in Japan was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had.  Looking back, I’m incredibly happy I made the decision to study abroad.