2018 Fall Susannah Duncan Temple Japan Temple Semester

Pre-departure thoughts: Feeling lost is part of the adventure

Studying abroad in Tokyo is a dream I’ve had for years. Ever since I got to travel to Japan for two weeks with my Japanese class in high school, I’ve wanted to come back and see what it’s like to live in a metropolis that you could spend a lifetime in and never fully explore.

I’m Susannah, a writer, artist, and English major. I’m native to the Chicago area, but my home college is Bryn Mawr, a Seven Sisters school in the Philadelphia suburbs full of Gothic castles and weird traditions. I may have been to Japan before, but the coming semester is going to be unlike anything I’ve ever done. I’ve never been abroad for more than three weeks, I’ve barely traveled alone, and thanks to Bryn Mawr’s meal plan, I’ve never had to cook for myself on a regular basis. All that newness is bound to be disconcerting.

Between packing, opening a new bank account so that I can withdraw money internationally without paying exorbitant ATM fees, figuring out a cell phone plan, finally replacing the laptop I spilled coffee on last semester, and applying for a visa, I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed. But more than that, I can’t wait to discover Tokyo!


I drew this comic as a reminder that feeling lost is part of the adventure. As much as I wish I could do everything right the first time, if it were all easy, I wouldn’t be challenging myself. I know that at times I’m going to feel overwhelmed, nervous, awkward, and uncomfortable. But I’m going to keep putting myself out there anyway, because I want to make the most of my experience.

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