I’m not sure how many people will read this, but hopefully it will one day become a valuable resource for anyone planning to study abroad in the future. This blog is intended as a record for my friends and family to keep up with while I’m away.
My name is Christine. For most of my life on the Internet, I’ve gone by many identities, but my main two are Kasumi Torisei (named after a fictional character I created in middle school) or Sooyong (just another alias). I am currently 19 years old and entering my third year at the University of Maryland.
Well, I would be at UM, if not for this special case. In just a few days I will be leaving to study abroad in Japan for a year. I am going to attend Rikkyo University in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
The application and planning process was just as long as the time I will be spending abroad, but it’s well worth it. I haven’t shown too much excitement, but as my date of departure approaches I’m becoming a bit more nervous. It usually happens–when I was in high school I was nervous about after graduation and being in college. Now I’m in college and nervous about what will follow after I get my undergraduate degree in Japanese. Being nervous helps me to make sure that I focus and do things carefully and properly. So far, so good.
So it’s Thursday, and I leave on Tuesday morning. I have a number of things to do before then. I recently picked up my visa from the Embassy of Japan. The process is very simple, so I’m pleased about that. I have to pack my suitcase, which is going somewhat slowly because I still don’t have everything I need. Not only that, but I have the feeling that if I pack everything too early, I’ll want to take something out. As I have several days left, I’d hate to take out a piece of clothing to wear that’s already been packed.
I also have to stop by the university to buy a few UM-themed gifts. Gift-giving is a custom for Japanese people, whether it is to a host family or people that you meet and become friends with soon after your arrival. My friend Hikaru, whom I stayed with during a one-week homestay in 2005, will be meeting me at the airport in Japan. I’d be sure to get a gift for her. I might also buy a few small things to give to Rikkyo students that I may become acquainted with during orientation.
I think I’ve typed more than I expected, and I’d like to get some things done, so I’ll stop here for now. I’ll definitely post another entry before Tuesday.