It takes a village to get a shy, Maryland girl 6,700 miles away from home. A village and a lot of patience. When I finally stepped off of the plane at Haneda airport, I did so with the encouragement and help I recieved from dozens of people along the way. I knew I was taking a big jump when I made the decision to spend the first semester of my sophmore year abroad in Tokyo, Japan. It’s probably the biggest decision I’ve made in the 19 years that I’ve been alive. Growing up, I was never a big risk-taker or adventurer. I mostly kept to myself and stayed in my own bubble. Nevertheless, curiosity killed the bubble. My interest and hobbies in Japanese language, media, and culture inextricably tied me to the country in a way I could not ignore. Visting Japan became bigger than a bucket list item for me. And when I found out about Temple University’s campus in Japan, it became a tangible goal.
The fun thing about goals, however, is that they tend to be made out of a great deal of smaller goals and steps. It took months for me to prepare all of the documents that I needed before my departure like my passport, COE, visa, medication importation certificate, and prescriptions. Even after those documents were handled, I still had to figure out how I was going to pack nearly 4 months of necessities into one TSA-approved suitcase. In spite of all the difficult tasks, after asking for help, I was able to sort everything out. I was then able to spend my last couple days in the United States with my loved ones before I boarded that 13-hour flight all by myself. I left the country feeling supported, confident, and most of all excited for all the opporunities about to unfold.
Thinking of studying abroad? Find all the preparation you’ll need in one place.