Major(s): International Business/Economics
Minor: Asian Studies
Program: Temple University Japan
When: Fall 2004 & Spring 2005
Highlight: Racing with my “mama” bicycle along the
side of the bus that TUJ students normally commute on
Best Excursion: Dipping into the steamy hot springs of
Next Destination: Somewhere in Europe; if not, back to
What was one challenge you faced? How did you deal with this challenge?
After taking a crazy risk and registering for another semester in Japan, my perfect budget of $3,000 collapsed and fell to shreds. This was after I did the excursion to Hakone. My parents were willing to pay for my apartment because I found it more beneficial than living in a dorm full of study abroad students. Paying the rent was not the problem; however, living and staying alive on a small budget was the main challenge. By conserving money, I started to learn how to cook (keep in mind, I do not know how to cook). I stopped going to the luxury grocery shop every week and started going to the 99 yen shop to buy my groceries. I also avoided public transportation and used my bike to go everywhere. Moreover, I tried finding small jobs offered by professors at Temple. By living on a tight budget, I was restricted to going out on rare occasions. Therefore, instead of going out to eat and enjoy the Tokyo nightlife, I went on bike rides with friends, picnicked in the parks, and took the train to random spots in Tokyo.
What is one piece of advice you would pass on to a student who is about to study abroad?
It is believed that when one studies abroad, traveling is priority. However, in order to live and immerse oneself into the culture, he/she should attempt to live the normal life as a regular student. When I traveled to Japan, I focused more on studying with the Japanese students and less on traveling and going out with study abroad students. Of course I did go on a few excursions, but I felt more adapted to the culture, and it was easier to adjust to the lifestyle. Therefore, I always tell my friends, “You aren’t a tourist; you are a student. Instead of observing the culture, you should live the culture. By doing so, you will gain the most experience in studying abroad.”