Associate Director of Admissions, Jenkins MBA Programs
Program Name and Location: Oberlin University, Machida, Japan
- Area of Study: International Studies
- When: Spring 2005
Why did you choose to study abroad?
Studying abroad had been a goal of mine since grade school. I had already developed a passion for studying Asian food, culture, and religion and had selected International Studies and Religious Studies as my majors in college. I had also studied Japanese in high school and was continuing language courses in college, so naturally, I wanted to test them out in Japan through study abroad. There were a few schools to choose from, but Oberlin University (also called Obirin University) in Japan was located close to Tokyo, included a homestay with a Japanese family, and offered a mix of English and Japanese classes.
What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?
I studied in Japan for 4 months and took an additional month to explore Tokyo and the main island (Honshu). Traveling to different cities using the bullet train (Shinkansen), attending local festivals, and making travel/hotel arrangements using only Japanese really allowed me to experience Japan beyond a student or tourist perspective.
I was also able to save some money in Tokyo by continuing my homestay with my Japanese host family for two weeks. They took me to see both tourist and local attractions, hosted a family BBQ, and truly made me feel a part of Japan.
How has your study abroad experience continued to impact you?
There isn’t anything like living abroad in a foreign country for a long period of time. It changes your perspective and impacts your way of viewing and experiencing the world on a global and even local level. It made me appreciate parts of my personality that I know are rooted in growing up in the South and other parts that are uniquely my own.
What would you say to students who are interested in engaging globally?
It is hard to get an integrated cultural experience like study abroad after school. You should absolutely take any opportunity to travel globally or engage with international students now, whether that is studying abroad, hosting an international student, or even exploring internship/job opportunities abroad.