A Dream Come True in Japan by Bethany Snider
I have always dreamed of visiting Japan and being here now hasn’t fallen short of any expectations I previously had. I always listened to my friends and family talk about their experiences abroad and truthfully: You never really understand what they mean until you yourself are in a foreign place.
This experience has truly empowered me. Not only am I living in Japan and going to school, but I also joined my university’s women’s lacrosse club and started an internship at a company. Being in Japan has made me realize just how much I am capable of achieving. My language skills have improved in fantastic ways and I am no longer nervous to step out of my comfort zone.
The friends I have made here and the places I have seen will always have a place in my heart. You sometimes forget how beautiful the world is and how generous complete strangers can be. It’s refreshing to be in a place and know that even when you feel lost or confused, people will help you find your way.
If I could choose one memory to rehash to a future study abroad student, it would hands down be my trip to Hiroshima. One of my professors planned a trip for us to listen to an atomic bomb survivor early in October. Instead of going with him and the other group of students, I chose to book a trip by myself. And I am so glad I did. So, I took the bus and spent a weekend in Hiroshima. From Osaka, it’s about a 5 hour bus ride, so it wasn’t anything too bad. I stayed in a hostel that was about a 5 minute walk from Peace Memorial Park. I hate to summarize this experience but I can say just say that this was the greatest experience of my entire life. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I could smell the ocean. I spent the entire weekend sightseeing and exploring by myself.
The first day I arrived, I went to Peace Memorial Park and the Peace Museum. This experience, on top of hearing an atomic bomb survivor speak, was indescribable. I think everyone should visit the museum and park, it’s an incredible experience. I couldn’t make it through the museum without crying my eyes out.
To sum it up, I think everyone should go out of their comfort zone and travel abroad. It’s an experience that truly changes your life. I am looking forward to coming home and sharing my stories with family and friends. And also seeing how much more I am capable of doing when I return.