Who am I? I live in a town in the US. It’s a very small farming town, but at least it has a McDonald’s now. I’m a pretty good student at school as well. My interests are in web design and writing mainly. Favorite school subjects include English, Spanish, and Science. Right now I’m a Senior, and plan to go on to the best college I can get into. I want to get into MIT, but obviously that’s highly selective.
Why did I choose to go to Japan? A lot of people have asked me this, either in person or over the web. I want to go to Japan because I really like Japan. I like the culture, I like the language, I like the history, it just seemed like a great (and safe) country to go to. Before I went, I also wanted to be a video game designer. Obviously Japan has a huge industry. Did I accomplish learning anything about that? No, not really. But I’ve decided to go onto general Computer Science instead, so it’s all good.
Did my opinion of Japan change? Yeah, it did. I guess I can answer this better now that I’ve completed my exchange year. It is a great country, I’ll start off by saying that. The people are generally very friendly and happy. I never felt like I was in danger there, it’s a very safe place. The school though, it’s kind of sad. They push the students unbelievably hard, and to what end? They may get better jobs, but at the sacrifice of happiness. And you only get a finite amount of time to live, you ought to just be happy. You’re not going to take any of that yen with you when you go. At least that’s my take. I would really like to go back to Osaka though, best city in Japan!
What exchange program did I use? Rotary International Youth Exchange. It has been a good group to use for me, but just be aware that there are a lot of events that you must attend. Also, it is fairly strict. So basically if you’re used to being a good student, you shouldn’t have a problem. If you’re used to making your own rules, you might. I went through two interview processes, then had to wait in suspense to see if I could go to Japan. Luckily, I did, and now I’m already done! It was one of the best years of my life, for sure.
How is my Japanese? My Japanese is not awesome. I do speak it at a conversational level though. If you decide to go to Japan for a year STUDY. I didn’t study enough, and now it’s one of my biggest regrets. I got overwhelmed by the amount of English they spoke. Don’t fall into the same trap. Luckily, I did come out with a decent lexicon of words. I just wish I had become fluent.