I'm not really expecting anyone to read this. More a practice run to make sure this is the blog I want to keep before I go abroad. An intro for anyone who just so stumbles upon this and cares to know a little more about me...
My name is Jessica, I'm 21 years old. I'm in my 5th year of college, and not my last. After changing majors many times in my college career, I've landed myself in Interdisciplinary Studies: Asian Studies (Japan) with a minor in Theater (mostly because I wanted to take makeup and sewing classes). I have this dumb dream of wanting to be a makeup artist in Japan. EVERYONE says it's dumb. Until it comes true...
This year - actually, 1 month and 22 days from now - I will be on a plane to Narita Airport (NRT) in Tokyo, Japan. From there, I will be making my way to my new home, my new school, my new family, and the next chapter in my life in Kawagoe, Saitama. This is more than just an 'experience'...this is a DREAM. Even now, just sitting here, I find it difficult to put into words the exact feelings I'm having. I'm excited. And I'm scared. Almost every night, I stare up at my ceiling, wishing I could just fall asleep. But I'm often overwhelmed with emotion. To go 10 whole months without seeing my mommy. Without being able to hold her hand or hug her when I want to. To not be able to call everyday and hear her voice. To not be able to barge into Sarah's room. To not be able to geek out with Katie over random attractive asian men we see when we go about our daily tasks. There is SO MUCH stopping me from being completely ready for this journey. To those who read this months or years later, I expect anyone who loves their family and friends as much as I would feel the same. But you can NOT let this hold you back. These are most likely the very same people who encouraged you and pushed you to strive to reach this goal. By staying here, where it's 'safe' and 'comfortable,' sure you have nothing to lose, but also NOTHING to gain. It's hard. But I'm going to do this.
OK! Done with that. Moving on...
Let's talk a bit more about the program in which I've enrolled. It's called the Japan Studies Program through Tokyo International University. It's a small program, with average class size around 5 people. Unlike other study abroad programs where you have different living options, you MUST do homestay through TIU. I don't want to go too much into it, but here is a link to their site if you want more information.
Tokyo International University-Japan Studies Program
If you are not a student at an affiliated college or university, just have them send you a catalog and discuss it with your study abroad counselor. As far as scholarships, I'm 99% sure you need to be enrolled at an affiliated college to be eligible.
Just yesterday I received an e-mail from TIU informing the participants that they are getting confirmations from the families. After getting all the replies, they'll be mailing everything (including our Certificate of Eligibility needed to apply for our student visas), meaning in about 2 weeks, I will know more about my host family. I'm sure you all know about my ridiculous hopes for my family...but my crazy dreams aside, I'll be sure to let everyone know the second I get the information. It's all starting to come together. And in no time, I'll be on my plane to TEXAS...followed by my plane to JAPAN! I didn't want to start another stupid 'live journal' type blog where I just rant about my problems and daily occurrences, so I'll try to contain myself just a little. After all, I want this to be informative, more than anything! I'll try to keep track of whatever I'm doing to prepare from now till when I leave, but I can't promise much. I never know what will be useful to everyone else sooo, please just ask questions as they come, ok?
On that note...do you like my 'first night out in japan...in winter!' outfit???

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