So, What is it Like Leaving The USA For The First Time?
On my first day back in the US, I felt like I should have never left Japan. The way of life there suited me more and the amount of dread I felt leaving me host family was something I’d never really felt. Although I was ecstatic when my bag was finally unpacked a week after I got home, I still really missed the relationships I made while I was in Japan. I miss walking down the streets unlike I could ever do in my small hometown.
What was it like leaving the USA for the first time?
I was told before I left that what I was doing was really brave. I didn’t feel brave though.
Traveling to Japan felt more like traveling home than returning to America actually did.
Being there, I was able to walk anywhere. Personally, I hate driving and I don’t believe I should be allowed on the road but I have to get places somehow. I felt like walking was just a better way for me to get around.
Was there anything that really surprised you about living in a different country?
Of course! The shower room is something I really miss now. You shower outside of the tub and it doesn’t sound weird when you turn the water off and on when rinsing your body therefore saving water. I also really like that the toilets were in separate rooms but those rooms got really hot because there was no central cooling and those rooms did not have an A/C unit.
How much Japanese do you know now?
Definitely a lot more. I am a little out of practice now and hope to find the time to get it done along with my school assignments. I am also hoping to go online and get a teacher to help me further my studies once I get a job. The teachers in Japan where so sweet and taught incredibly well. They didn’t mind straying from the lesson when you were confused and asked a question.
Why should other teenagers do this program in Japan?
This beats just about anything I have ever done during the summer (except for the trips to Disney World’s Epcot which originally got me wanting to do things like this). I think it was definitely an eye opener to how other people live. I’d say it was close to America in a way but completely different in others.
I really enjoyed being there and I can’t wait to go back. I bought a really nice tea set, a hakata doll, and a bunch of snacks. I will be sticking with my original plan which would be to go to Japan for college after a year or two in the United States and hopefully find a way to work there. Fukuoka will always feel like home to me and I definitely plan to visit my wonderful host family some day.
Emily Pipkin, from small-town Illinois, is a Greenheart Travel First Time Traveler Scholarship recipient. Learn more about Greenheart Travel’s scholarship opportunities to help you travel for a change!
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