The Study Abroad Newsletter

My Homestay Experience

Julie Ann Bicoy
Seinan Gakuin University, Japan

Julie smiling with members of her host family

During my first semester of studying abroad in Fukuoka Japan, I home stayed with the Kubo Ohana in Karatsu. Karatsu is located in Saga, the prefecture south of Fukuoka, an hour train ride away from my host University, Seinan Gakuin Daigaku. The most challenging fact was being far away from my school, and friends who lived in the dorms or near the school. I road the train daily, Monday through Friday to and from the University, and sometimes on the weekends. The trains between my home and the University came every half hour, and missing a train meant I’d have to wait another 30 minutes for the next one. Living far away from the school and from my friends, taught me how to manage my time, and be able to spend more time with my host family to experience the countryside of Japan.

Julie eating soba noodles by a waterfall During my second semester of studying abroad, I home stayed with the Takeuchi Ohana in Tojinmachi, Fukuoka. Tojinmachi is approximately three kilometers away from Seinan Gakuin Daigaku. The train between my Takeuchi home and the University came every seven minutes, and walking to and from my home and the University was a very easy 20 minute walk. I was able to spend more time with my host family and my friends who lived near the school. Many of my other friends who chose to do home stay regretted their decision later. However, I was very blessed to have two wonderful host families. My choice in home stay, I was able to live and learn like a local Japanese person. The family enhanced my experience with local activities, and not just commercial activities.