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Sheila Garcia's Experience

Name: Sheila Garcia
Major: International Relations
Program: Japanese Theater in Osaka
Traveled Abroad Before: Yes

Q: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your study abroad experience?
A: The sounds of the train station and the sound of of the school bells ringing. These were the sounds that greeted me in the mornings as I made my way to class.

Q: Why did you choose this destination?
A: I wanted to learn more about Japanese culture and as I couldn't commit to a full semester due to a variety a reasons, this program was the perfect fit.

Q: What are some things that surprised you about the campus, the classes, the culture, customs or traditions?
A: Well one of the things that sticks out the most in my mind is how narrow the roads are in Japan. A one-way street in the US is a two-way street in Japan. Overall though, it was the small things that caught my eye, having people come up to us randomly and try to speak in English with us, being surprised at the lengths to which the locals will go to help you, including basically walking you home if you're lost, and of course, learning to recognize when the cashier asked you if you wanted your bento (pre-made lunch) heated up or not.

Q: What are some things you would like students to know about studying abroad in this destination or the program provider you studied with?
A: This program really gives you a taste of traditional Japan and modern Japan. It's all about visiting temples one day and visiting Namba, where large screens blast music and signs light up the sky, the next day.

Q: What advice would you offer?
A: Go out and explore. Explore your entire neighborhood within your first week and try to speak the language as much as possible. People in Japan were very friendly and more than willing to speak with you. Also, try to bring gifts from the US to Japan, so that when you leave, you can thank them properly with a small gift. Don't forget to go to karaoke, it's too fun to pass up!

Q: What was your academic goal while studying abroad?
A: I wanted to understand Japanese culture better, beyond the idea of many that it's the "land of anime and manga". The course really allowed me to understand other art forms in Japan and learn more about Japanese society as a whole.

Question? Email Sheila!

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