A picture of the SJMC group at the Edelman building.

Where do I begin? My journey with Japan has been a long one and definitely a fun one. I first became interested in Japan when I was in Junior High. I had a friend over and we were watching Youtube videos when we stumbled across one about ordering pizza in Japan. After that, I began watching every video I could to learn about their culture and way of life over there. I found it so fascinating and knew I needed to learn everything I could about Japan. It was about three years later that I knew I had to visit this place and see if what I had been learning was true. So one day in Spanish class, after I had finished my work, I used the computers to find a study abroad program for high schoolers!

CIEE was just what I was looking for, so I packed my bags and flew to Japan. I was lucky enough to be able to spend a month during my summer before my senior year exploring Japan and learning all about it and myself. We got to stay in the housing that was used for the Olympians the last time Japan held the Olympics which was pretty cool. It was in an amazing location that was super pretty and located close to a train and a subway. The program included trips to beautiful shrines and temples, learning how to write calligraphy, a weekend homestay with a Japanese family and so much more. The second I landed back in America, I knew that I had to find a way back because I found myself homesick for a country I wasn't even living in.

Flash forward three years to the summer in between my sophomore and junior year of college. One of the reasons I chose Texas State University was because they had amazing study abroad options. When I heard the news that SJMC would be having its first program to Japan, I jumped on the opportunity. I was able to travel to Japan for the second time and for two months at that! I spent the first month on Dr. Martinez's SJMC program taking two classes and getting to travel around Tokyo and Kyoto. Throughout the program, all the students worked hard to put together a blog that allows everyone to see what we did while in Japan. The second month I spent on my own traveling and attending a certification program that would allow me to teach English as a foreign language.

I know I will return to Japan several more times in my lifetime. There's still something so magnificent and beautiful about it that makes me want to live there. I may not move to Japan as early as I thought, but I will definitely live there one day.

Top Three Favorite Places In Japan: