The Study Abroad Newsletter

Rikkyo I Will Miss You

David Gentry
Rikkyo University, Japan

Hi, I'm David Gentry and I'm spending my senior year abroad at Rikkyo University's College of Business as a Communication major with a Global Engagement Certificate (which is something that everyone studying a foreign language abroad should apply for.) Choosing the senior year rather than the junior year has come with a lot of difficulties, and I could not have managed it without the help of the CGEE office. I'll be graduating in August instead of May, but it has been worth all the struggle. I was fortunate enough to go to Rikkyo with a Gilman Scholarship, and I urge everyone thinking about studying abroad to apply. What an experience! So many cultures, so little time.

I still have a month left of school due to the way semesters are structured here. What I will remember most about my time here is the myriad of cultures represented. Rikkyo is a true multi-cultural experience, not only did I get to experience Japanese culture, but through other international students, I have been exposed to Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipino, and several other customs and cultures. It has been a wild ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Many people standing on a beach at sunset The International Club “JoinUs!” has hosted many events. Two of the best are the Winter and Spring campouts. They’re not camping in the literal sense as we were in cabins, but they were a great way for a hundred of our closest friends to get together and spend a couple of days at Mt. Fuji and Nagatoru Auto Camp. You don’t actually camp on Fuji, but across a lake from it. The ones from the Spring campout are less scenic and does anyone really want to see me and my buddy playing guitar and relaxing in a messy cabin? Probably not.

Something else I won’t forget are the Hanami festivals. They’re festivals celebrating Spring, mostly the Sakura (cherry) blossoms. If you’ve ever been to the Potomoc in Washington, D.C. in May, you know how beautiful it is. Imagine that times a hundred. The streets and parks are full of the beautiful white and pink flowers. People take the afternoons off work to go the park for the festivals. They’re like unofficial national holidays. There is a lot of eating and drinking, with games and horseplay and the trappings that go along with large crowds. Even downtown Tokyo at rush hour felt less crowded than Yoyogi Park during Hanami.

As my time in Tokyo draws to a close, I’m struggling to fit in everything I wanted to do. I know I’ll be back.