Bryan School Study Abroad Program

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Claire YangClaire Yang
Seinan Gakuin University

When I arrived at Seinan Gakuin University, I was immediately impressed by the hospitality of the local students. The youth of Japan are very open to people from foreign cultures and went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and as if I were at home.

As a little girl growing up in Taiwan, I was fascinated by Japanese comic books and developed a strong desire to learn more about the Japanese culture. In middle school I began studying the Japanese language and continued this study into high school. I always knew that I would like to study abroad in Japan and the study abroad program at UNCG provided the perfect opportunity to further develop my understanding of this unique place. I highly recommend a full year of ex-change studies and believe that it is necessary in order to gain a true appreciation and understanding of Japanese culture.

What I really want to tell you about is the International House! It is beautiful and I felt like I was staying in a 5-star hotel! The I-house was built in 2004 and is the only housing option for international exchange students. You will quickly grow to love and appreciate this home away from home. Not only does every student get a private room, we get private restroom facilities as well! Oh, and did I mention that each room also has its own refrigerator? The real challenge here was finding an excuse to leave the room, and a magical sandy beach provided just such an excuse.

Located in the most upscale district of Fukuoka City, Seinan Gakuin University provides easy access to a wealth of amenities including the luxurious waterfront district a short twenty minute walk away. With a handful of local and fellow international students, I would often spend my evenings sitting on the beach, taking in the view and developing friendships which I’m certain will last a lifetime.

Japan is widely considered the safest destination for international travelers, and whether I was alone or with friends, I never needed to worry when I was walking through this magical city. Steeped in a culture of respect for others, today's Japan is a model of civility that other countries would do well to adopt. I miss this home away from home, and I can’t wait for my next opportunity to visit this wonderful place.

My biggest tip: The cultural of Japan is one of the most unique in the world, and it is very important to go into this environment with an open mind. Attending the intercultural orientation is a great way to jump-start your experience. Also, may I recommend a day of pampering at the hot springs in Beepu or Yufuin!


Page updated: 17-Feb-2009

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