International Travel / Japan / Personal / Tokyo

Studying Abroad at Waseda

This is my beyond sick view of Tokyo from my 11th floor dorm at Waseda Hoshien International Dormitory.  My bed is right next to the window, so this is what I wake up to each morning (read: afternoon– what can I say? I’m living a life of luxury here).  If you look at the top right of the photo, you can see the Tokyo Sky Tree.

I had the fortune of studying abroad twice during undergrad (summer in Switzerland and fall in Singapore).  Both were amazing experiences, the latter of which introduced me to some of the people I consider to be my closest friends today.  When the University of Virginia School of Law sent around an email introducing their exchange programs, I was hopeful that one of the programs would be a match for me.  Included on that list was Waseda Law School, located in the young and vibrant west-side of Tokyo.

I’m a Yonsei in the States, and sadly admit to having a very limited knowledge of Japanese language, traditions and culture.  Growing up in Rowland Heights gave me some exposure to a general “asian culture” (if there is such a thing), but most of the Japanese kids I knew were bananas like me.  I have always known I want to visit Japan one day, but it was one of those dreams I kept ridiculously pushing back.

I actually had multiple opportunities to go to Japan — I applied to and was offered a seemingly GREAT part-time job teaching English at a pre-school for 6 months in Tokyo back when I was 18, but ashamedly declined to go because an ex-boyfriend discouraged me (another story for another day, haha).  I also could have applied to go during undergrad for study abroad or applied to JET to teach English for a year or two.  I think I was always under some delusion that I would someday buckle down and learn the language and that visiting Japan any sooner would be a wasted trip.

I think hitting my quarter century and seeing the light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel that is law school finally gave me a reality check.  I hope I still have a lot of time in my life to travel and see new places, but there’s no sense in putting off something on my bucket list that is right in front of me.  Sure the yen is strong and I don’t speak Japanese, but carpe diem (or YOLO as kids today like to say).  So I applied to study at Waseda and I am really grateful to UVA and Waseda for accepting me because this has really been one of the best experiences of my life so far.  More on that to come…

And if you weren’t jealous enough already, here’s one more view.  This time, it’s a shot of my view after arriving home on the first train (meaning, I missed my last train the night before and stayed out all night in a sleepy daze)…

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