Faith Xiong is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Japan.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Being a foreigner in a foreign country was difficult. This was something that I did not expected out of Japan. Living in Japan as a foreigner, challenged me to balance between being the majority (the Asian) and the minority (the American). Exchanging ideas and learning about the Japanese culture abroad was more than a class room. I was able to compare and contrast Japanese culture's ideas and knowledge with the United States, and understand being an American overall. Studying abroad I japan, I realized that I learned so much about myself, culturally and personally.
Another great experience was the Karuizawa trip in the beginning of the semester. This trip was a great way for our group and Japanese students to bond together outside of school. We were given the opportunity to enjoy Japan, not in the city, but in a green mountainous area of Japan. This trip was where I made long lasting friends.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
Growing up I have always wanted to explore the world outside of my home. I wanted to understand differences and exchange ideas with other culture about the world. In my head, I knew that college was going to be the best time and the only time in which I will be able to fulfill my wants (especially as a young adult). Upon entering into college, I have always wanted to go to Japan. I had the opportunity to learn the language for five years, and decided I should put Japanese language to use. My decision to go to Japan did allowed me to explore outside of my comfort home, exchange ideas, and use the language daily.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I love being in Japan. The excessive freedom and independence living in Japan was great. This is the only time that anyone can experience life as an individual and as a young adult in a foreign country. In addition, I really enjoyed living in the city because I was able to explore various aspect of city life that I would not get to in central Minnesota or Minneapolis and St. Paul. One may say that Minneapolis/St. Paul is a big city, but the Minnesota's cities are not comparable to Tokyo, Japan. Living in the heart of Tokyo is not only a place with lights and modern building, but also a place that is surrounded with historical culture.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
Not only have I gained a better knowledge on Japanese culture, but I have also gained a better understanding on Japanese Political culture. Throughout the course of the semester in Japan, I learned a lot about Japanese history and politics. I have to say, it was interesting to understand politic from the Japanese point of view. Learning about Japanese history and politics was definitely a cultural exchange. I was learning about the decline of Japanese birth rate, their aging society, homelessness, and their life after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was interesting to look at Japan from a various angle base on their historical and current circumstances, and to learn that that it is okay to lose some in order to gain something back. This was something I would like to bring back to my own personal life and to my community here on CSBSJU.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
The world is your education, so really take advantage of learning the culture abroad.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Japan? Email Faith at firstname.lastname@example.org