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Studying Abroad

        Studying abroad is becoming very popular in Japan these days. In the past, a holiday homestay was the most common choice for university students. Now, many universities have exchange programs that allow students to gain credits for studying abroad for up to one year. This can be a great experience for many students, but for others there can be many problems.

        Going to study in a foreign country for a year can be a wonderful adventure for many people. If you are studying English, you can go to the UK, Canada, Australia or many other countries. Surrounded by native speakers, you will have to use English every day, so your language skills must surely get better. I studied abroad in the UK, and my English is much better now. My time in England changed me in other ways too. It was my first time to be away from my family; it was a bit difficult at times but, I found a new strength in myself. I am much more confident and outgoing than I used to be. Living in a foreign culture is very interesting because there are so many new things to see, do and learn. It can also make you appreciate your own culture too! The best thing for me was that I made many new friends from all over the world, we keep in contact and sometimes visit each other.

        However, some students may find studying abroad quite difficult. Of course, there are practical things to think about such as money; it is very expensive. One of my fellow students in England said he could not stand the food, and he did look very slim.  Also, some people find it too difficult to be away from their family and feel very homesick. If students return home before finishing the course, it can cause all sorts of problems with their grades. Some students complain that they find it difficult to fit in again when they return to Japan after being away for so long. One of my friends went to a school where there were many Japanese students. She enjoyed it but was disappointed that her English speaking did not improve as much as she expected.

        Studying abroad can be a fantastic learning opportunity, but it does not suit everybody. For me, I think it was the best decision of my life. I did have some problems for sure, but dealing with them helped me to grow up. Living in England changed my way of thinking in many positive ways and opened up new possibilities for the future. I have lots of friends that I can visit all around the world, and I can answer job ads for bilingual staff. If you get the chance to study abroad, you should take it.

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