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Ups and Downs of Studying Abroad 2008/9/8 10:34
I have my heart set on studying abroad in Japan for quite a few years now. I've been working very hard to keep my school progress great. I've been studying Japanese and I'm learning very quickly, which is great! Although money is not so great.

Ah~ finances. Money is going to be hard for me. My money for studying abroad is going to be in student loans and scholarships. If I'm lucky enough, both. I'm willing to work hard for them. I've done some research on how much apartments in Japan cost (because if I remember correctly, not all schools offer living for foreign students?), travel costs, every day needs, and so on. I even looked websites of foreigners living in Japan and what their experience has been like.
Does anyone possibly have an experience they can share with this similar problem of money? How did you manage to deal with everything?

The reason for my wanting to study abroad might not seem a good enough reason to pack up and leave everything I know behind, though. At least to some people. I would love to be a translator and I also feel that the best place to study Japanese literature would be where it started. I've also studied some Japanese history and culture by myself (and remembering stories my grandmother told me) and I have to say it was instant love. I also love music but this course is also available anywhere no matter what country you go to.
(By the way, I live in the US if this helps anyone)

... I have never been to Japan, and where things are standing now I won't be traveling there anytime soon. But! I still would like to study abroad in Japan although I've never been. When I say study abroad I mean I'm wanting to spend my whole university education in Japan.
My question is would it be better to just do a exchange program in college and then if it turns out I absolutely love Japan, find a way to complete my studies abroad?

I've been writing down information of the universities I would like to attend, and even information of the surrounding prefectures and cities where the university is located. This way I'm able to not only know what is around the area, but what options I'm given in those areas.

I understand that studying abroad is a very life-altering experience. Even if you say you're brave and bold and you're ready for the culture shock, it's going to hit you anyway and laugh in your face at your ignorance and stubborness. Despite this, I still want to go.

The hard thing about studying abroad (at least how I see it) would be learning to communicate, adjusting to your new lifestyle, and learning from this new culture. Leaving home and your family is hard even if you don't go to a different country. Luckily technology is advanced enough we can keep in contact without really spending any money.

My parents biggest fear is that I get to Japan and hate it. I see i differently (because I'm stubborn) but I still consider their concern. Although, I feel that I can take that risk and discover for myself. If I love it great, if not... then it appears that I'm stuck.

I know the road is going to be rough, but I've got my heart and mind set on this and I've got my parents supporting me (no matter how much it pains them). I feel that I'm willing to work hard for it and I won't let go until I've got it.

I'm 15 years old and a sophmore for those who are wondering.

Thank you~!
by Tiffani  

Go for it! 2008/9/9 00:38
Don't worry, you don't need a good reason to study abroad. Plain interest in experiencing another culture is reason enough to go. It's great to live in a foreign country for a while. You'll learn tons of new stuff, get to know all kinds of interesting people, learn to be more independant and probably mature a lot. You'll see the world with different eyes and even if there will probably be difficult times as well it's so going to be worth it.

And not everyone will suffer from culture shock. I've lived in Japan for a year (it was also the first time I went there) and the only thing that shocked me was the fact that Japanese washing machines wash with cold water. ;) Well, the many bugs creeped me out as well but as long as they stayed outside of my apartment (which they fortunately did most of the time) it was ok. You can get used to anything when you're young right?

I never felt extremely homesick or out of place. It was a lot of fun and I'm so glad I took the opportunity. Of course everyone is different but you can try and go to Japan for a summer language programm or something to test if you like the country or not.
by tay rate this post as useful

Thank you~ 2008/9/10 23:19
Thanks for your answer, tay! Everything you've said are reasons I've always wanted to go to Japan, especially about seeing things through a different eye and learning new things.
It makes me more confident that you say not everyone will experience culture shock. I never felt I would if I get the chance, but you never know.

Japanese washing machines wash with cold water? I didn't know that. That would take getting use to.

Again, thank you for your response! :)
by Tiffani rate this post as useful

good luck 2008/9/11 02:54
You may want to consider a high school exchange program first. This usually consists of you living with a host family for a semester. Several exchange programs will also pair you with another student who lives in Japan. The Japanese student would live with you and your family for a semester and vice verse. This is an excellent way to see if you like Japan and allow you to see the how the educational system works. It is also much cheaper option to see if you want to invest in renting an apartment, paying for all of your food, and college tuition at a Japanese university. The high school programs also have scholarship programs that may be worth checking out. Your guidance counselor may be able to point you in the right direction.

Here are some links to various study abroad programs that have a wide range of accommodations, classes, and prices. These are mostly independent programs and are usually much cheaper than college study abroad programs.

If you are in a large city or close to one, you may want to contact your local Japan-America Society. They should be able to provide you with some options and offer you some insight into the study abroad process and Japanese universities.

As far as money is concerned, apply for scholarships and maybe try getting a summer job to save money. I am assuming you will be 16 soon. If not, some schools and cities have programs that will allow you to work restricted hours at 15. If you only want to study abroad in college, I suggest you start saving now. College exchange programs can start at $25,000+ a semester and that is in addition to your college tuition. Many colleges have scholarships, but they are very competitive and rarely cover the cost of tuition abroad. My advise is the same if you want to study exclusively at a Japanese university. You may also want to consider studying or starting at an American university that specializes in Japanese studies. There are some very good programs stateside that have some of the leading scholars in the field, many of which are Japanese. You can always attend graduate school in Japan, which may be a better option.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
by Kali rate this post as useful

washing machine 2008/9/11 07:35
Japanese washing machines wash with cold water.

It is the same here in Australia. Most people only use cold water in the wash to save money. The clothes are also less likely to shrink
by traveller rate this post as useful

Late responses... 2008/9/15 09:04
Thanks Kali!

I had asked about the high school exchange, but my parents don't want me doing that.

I do live in a big city, and I had already been told that contacting the Japanese embassy here would be a good idea, I just wasn't for sure when I should do that. Would be a good time?

Again thank you for you for your help. :)
by Nyappy Tiffani rate this post as useful

high school exchange 2008/9/15 18:11
i came across this board and i thought i should drop a line here because i have been volunteering for an organization of high school exchange for some time. I would recommend high school exchange over uni exchange. the biggest difference is that you live with a japanese family when you come here for highschool exchange while you probably live in an dormitory in the case of uni exchange. High school exchange is more challenging in a lot of ways, but im sure youll learn a lot more. Ive seen a lot of high school exchange students who came to japan and left with a big smile and a fluency with japanese.
by momo rate this post as useful

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