Believe it or not, I was actually a little hesitant in the beginning. You would think it would be because traveling anywhere can be scary, but this was not my case. You see, this was my second trip to Japan, so I already knew I would do fine with the travel and immersion into the culture. What made me hesitant was the itinerary for the whole trip. Most of the things we saw on this trip I had the privilege of already visiting back in 2016 when I first came to Japan. I was afraid that I would be wasting money and time revisiting those places with people who were strangers to me at the time. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong! It was the complete opposite; seeing these places again with people who had never even heard of some of them was the BEST part of the whole trip.

Getting to watch twelve people realize just how amazing Japan can be is what made this trip complete for me. I realized this when we visited our first shrine in Japan; Meiji Shrine. I remember picking up bits and pieces of peoples’ conversations and their reactions when our tour guide, Aya, would tell us a fact about whatever we were looking at. The fact that I could see a passion for Japan growing in some of the other students made mine even stronger. I hope to work in industry here one day that will allow me to share my passion for Japan just like I got to do with my classmates.

This is a perfect time for me to talk about my future. I’ve known from a young age that I wanted to move to and work in Japan after university, but I recently had been struggling with where I would work. I knew I would have to start as an English teacher, but I don’t want to do that as a career. My love for mass communication and wanting to work in that industry was making me lose hope of living in Japan because I kept turning up empty-handed when searching for the perfect job. Thankfully, the SJMC program was able to help restore all the hope I had and get rid of my worries! I now know that I want to work at Edelman in the future where I’ll be able to fully use my degree and get to do what I enjoy the most in the country I love the most.

I did face some challenges on this trip when it came to writing our blog posts. Being that they are blog posts, it was nice to know I didn’t have to worry about writing formally and could have fun with it. My problem was thinking about what to write and how to write it. I seem to struggle with putting my creativity onto paper – or in this case, a blog post – which really started to aggravate me. I was reading all these fantastic blog posts written by my classmates that were full of engaging sentences that kept the readers interested and having fun while reading. This made me start to compare my work to theirs, making me even more frustrated because I didn’t want to produce bad content for the class blog. It turned out I was being too hard on myself and didn’t realize that this was also still a class where I’m learning new skills. After working with Dr.Martinez on editing my posts and understanding what I was missing and how to fix it, I slowly started to gain confidence in my posts.

I hope that once I get back to Texas and resume my regular schedule that I will be able to become a Texas State Study Abroad Ambassador and help promote not just this program, but all of them. I think it’s so important that students study abroad while in college because it’s the perfect time to learn the new things that come with traveling to foreign places. If I had to give one piece of advice to someone considering studying abroad, it would be: Just do it! Texas State offers help with everything you need so you’re never entirely on your own and there’s no better time than now!

As for my plans once I return home, I’m on track to graduate in December 2020, which I will then be taking another international trip abroad to Germany before beginning my move to Japan. I hope to land a job with the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program where I will teach English while becoming fluent in the Japanese language. Once I become fluent, I will then hopefully get a job with Edelman, where I can begin my career.

In conclusion, the SJMC Japan trip was more then I could have asked for and made my summer one to remember. I gained new friends and skills while on this trip that I otherwise wouldn’t have and for that, I’m very grateful that Dr. Martinez decided to create this program.

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