The Study Abroad Newsletter

Memories of Japan

Kadi Igawa
Seinan Gakuin University, Japan

My name's Kadi Igawa, an Art major, and I studied abroad at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan! I had a really fun and awesome experience there; I thought a year abroad was a long time but truth be told, it went by so fast I still feel like there were a lot of things left to do. I made a lot of precious memories with new and old friends, and have experienced and learned a lot of things, including things about myself. But one of the memories that I think will stay with me would be my first day in Japan at the dorm.

Lit up fish display

I was fortunate enough to have six of my family members come with me and help me move into the campus dorms. It was my first time ever living away from home, as well as being out of the country. I thought I would be okay, but as soon as it came to say goodbye, I broke out in tears. It didn't help that it was that day we had to take a placement test. So I had to do my best not to cry in the middle of it. It was tough, but I managed to last the day. That night, I was alone in my dorm room, checking on my email and trying to keep my mind off of how lonely I felt. I didn't think I would be doing anything that night, until my neighbor randomly called me on my room's intercom at around 9 pm, asking me if I wanted to join them in a late night walk to the beach. So, I grabbed my jacket and walked with a bunch of other new foreign exchange students and introduced myself. It was dark and it started to drizzle a little, but we all just sat and talked to each other, watching and taking pictures of the night scenery at the beach. The lights of the city made it all the more beautiful. Suddenly, being around these other people, people who would later become my friends, I didn't feel so alone anymore.

Float from Karatsu Kunchi Parade

It was a small act of kindness, but it really left a mark on me. It made me realize that change is scary, and so is being away from things that are familiar, but it's also exciting too. It was the beginning of a new chapter. It also made me realize that I wasn't truly alone; there were several other students experiencing the exact same feelings that I was at that time. Even though there were times where I did miss home and my other friends, I wouldn't have traded this study abroad experience for the world.