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### Transformative Experience: Studying Abroad

This summer, I am embarking on a six-week study program in Japan as part of a study abroad initiative. The level of anticipation I feel far exceeds mere excitement. This upcoming journey marks my first prolonged venture outside the United States. While I have briefly visited some Caribbean islands, nothing compares to the duration of this upcoming trip.

The prospect of Japan feels almost dreamlike, much like any study abroad destination would. The reality of this experience still eludes me, although certain concerns and queries linger in my mind.

Foremost among these is the language barrier. The distinction between Japanese and English is stark, and despite my consistent efforts on Duolingo, I am acutely aware of the vast linguistic terrain yet to be traversed. To mitigate this challenge, I plan to engage with fellow program participants proficient in the language, leveraging their expertise to facilitate navigation in a foreign land.

Another area of apprehension revolves around attire and cultural norms. Japan exhibits a preference for modest clothing, even during the summer months. The customary attire includes pants, heavier tops, and formal wear. However, a dilemma emerges concerning my commitment to cross country running and meeting mileage targets. In scorching Nebraska, I typically don running shorts, a shirtless ensemble, and a cap. Yet, replicating this attire in Japan would undoubtedly attract bewildered gazes, possibly leading to unfounded speculations of nudism. The cultural milieu in Japan significantly differs from the relaxed ambiance in the US. Any inadvertent breach of cultural decorum might brand me as an insensitive outsider, a social predicament best avoided.

The logistics of travel pose a third area of concern. The exorbitant prices prevalent in the airline industry have astounded me. Some airfares rival the cost of an entire vehicle, prompting whimsical thoughts of embarking on a transcontinental road trip. Alas, the Pacific Ocean presents a formidable obstacle to such vehicular escapades.

Despite articulating my reservations regarding language barriers, cultural adjustments, and travel expenses, my enthusiasm for the study abroad venture remains unwavering. The sheer anticipation of this transformative experience eclipses any apprehensions. The opportunity to immerse myself in a foreign setting, despite its challenges, is an enticing prospect I am eager to embrace wholeheartedly.

The unwavering support and resources extended by Doane University for this endeavor fill me with immense gratitude. I wholeheartedly urge my peers to explore the possibility of studying abroad. The abundance of available resources to facilitate international experiences is truly remarkable. While the notion of navigating an unfamiliar country may seem daunting, the enriching potential of studying abroad motivates me to surmount any obstacles. Embracing the unknown and broadening one’s horizons through international education is a pursuit well worth the effort.