Most students may not be aware of the college’s international education program.
I was not aware of it until I noticed a poster on the wall in the library/science building advertising a study trip to Japan; little did I know but that one little poster was about to send me on an adventure of a lifetime.
I contacted Mary Meulblok, international student advisor, and paid my deposit.
I was going to Japan. In the months before the trip, I learned during a couple of orientation meetings what Japan would be like, where we were going and local customs.
On June 20, I was sitting at the airport awaiting the jet that would take me to Japan, the land of the rising sun.
This was the first time I had ever done anything like this before. I had never even travelled alone before and here I was going to the Far East.
I finally touched down at the Narita Airport near Tokyo after a long nine-hour flight. I met with the other students and we were taken by bus to the university were we would be staying.
Some Japanese students were waiting at our guest house to greet us and chatted with us for a while. The next three weeks were a series of experiences that I shall never forget.
The students and staff of the university went out of their way to make us feel welcome, and truly became my friends; I still stay in contact with them to this day.
The sights and experiences of Japan will stay in my mind forever. Throughout my three weeks I truly got to experience another culture in a way that few people get to do.
I have seen the glitz of the neon lights, and the towering skyscrapers of Tokyo.
The serene gardens of the ancient temples and shrines reflect an older Japan.
I experienced a Japanese tea ceremony, practiced Kendo and wrote calligraphy. Truly, there is no better way to understand and appreciate another culture than to be immersed in it.
Alas, as the old saying goes all good things must come to an end, and soon it was time for me to return home. I remember fighting back tears as I hugged my friends goodbye and got onto the bus that would take me back to the airport, and back home.
My experience is only one of hundreds; Pierce’s international study program has done trips to many places in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. The prices are fairly reasonable; my trip only cost $1,500 plus airfare and food.
From my perspective, the life experience I received from a trip such as this is priceless.
Students interested in having an international study adventure of their own can contact Meulblok at 964-6725.