The Study Abroad Newsletter

Traveling with a Budget in Hokkaido

Eloisa Obero
University of the Ryukyus, Japan

Konnichiha! My name is Eloisa Viernes Obero and I am studying Japanese Studies and Kinesiology and Exercise Science in UH Hilo. Last year, I studied abroad in Okinawa at the University of the Ryukyus. The chance to study in a foreign country that I have I never been to before has truly opened me up to knowledge, opportunities and people that I would never have encountered before. Not only was I able to learn about the Japanese language and culture, but also I was able to learn a lot about other cultures such as Chinese and Thai, from my fellow international friends. For me, the best part of studying abroad was experiencing new things and making memories with people of different backgrounds.

One of my favorite memories has to be traveling around Hokkaido for two weeks with another international student. I was really excited because this trip was my frst trip traveling alone with someone. We traveled around Hokkaido from Sapporo to Kushiro, stopping at sightseeing spots such as Mashuko Lake, Mt. Daisetsuzan, Asahiyama Zoo, and Snow Festivals. It was the most fun I have ever had! We were following a budget while traveling around so every time we found a cheaper route to a certain place we would get incredibly happy. Also, we both did not have high-level Japanese skills, so trying to communicate with people was va challenge. Actually, a lady, after seeing us trying to speak in Japanese, came to us and started talking to us in Japanese. We were able to understand what the lady was saying because she broke down her sentences so we were able to understand. This trip helped me become more independent and it taught me how to budget my money.

A moment during the Ryukyus Global Festival

My frst semester wasn’t easy because the language barrier made it difcult for me to make Japanese friends. But this only motivated me to study harder. What made studying fun was that my classmates and I would study together and practice speaking in Japanese. This only brought us closer together. I learned so much about myself and the world through them. Our group was very diverse with people from Thailand, China, Taiwan, Laos, Indonesia, South Korea, Spain, and Papua New Guinea. The following semester, we met and became close friends with the most amazing group of Japanese people. No matter what we did, whether it be hiking to waterfalls or eating yakiniku or singing karaoke or making gyoza together, it was full of smiles and laughter. Through them, my experiences in Japan are something I will never forget and it is something I will always cherish. Even though my exchange period has come to an end, thanks to technology and social media, I am still able to keep in touch with everyone. What I got out of studying in Japan is more than I had ever expected, and I wish everyone would take the chance to study abroad because it is really the most amazing experience ever.