The Study Abroad Newsletter

Unbelievable Japan

Mitchell Sambrano
Tokyo Gakugei University, Japan

I can’t believe that I’m in a world that I had only known through textbooks, movies and anime/manga. This world that I’m referring to is Japan, an island nation no bigger than the state of California, but is home to a society that is both ultra-modern and traditional. I’ll be honest; the first few weeks tested my ability to cope with my unknown surroundings. In time, however, I met some of the greatest people on earth who have now become what I consider family.

A class of students holding pieces of artwork

With their help, support from people back at home and from the generous organizations/people that provided me with scholarships, I was able to make it the best time of my life. I’ve been on many trips with friends and on my own. The one thing I can’t get enough of is school visits. It was my chance to get to know the students who I may one day get to teach if I return to Japan as an assistant language teacher. Their excitement when foreign students enter the classroom was always a thrill. They would chat up a storm and look at us with amazement like there was no end. Once we get to sit down with them in small groups, they would be ready to practice the simple English that they know. We would also play games, eat lunch together and, go outside to play tag. The students always say that I am fast but I’m sure if they reach my age, they would outrun me anytime. Their smiles and energetic personalities was reminder that learning should always be fun, and not just by textbooks and test. With everything said, I will bring with me the precious memories, knowledge, and life lessons that I have collected from my Japanese experience to wherever the next adventure lays.

Mitchell Sambrano with friends at a university cafeteria