My name is Alyssa. I am a 16 year old, 11th-grader, exchange student. I always knew that I wanted to study abroad but when I started learning Japanese, and after I visited Japan with my family, it became clear to me. I wanted to study in Japan. It has such a unique culture, completely different from any other country. Aside from that, the language is very attractive. I wanted to take this opportunity to learn the language from the natives themselves, and also experience something that not many people get to do. Sure, there's people studying abroad for university, but how many people are willing to go while they're still underage and dependent on their family? It's a challenge not many are willing to take, but I'm hoping that with time more people will come to see how rewarding it is.
I have already been in Japan for almost 4 weeks. The first half of the first week included orientation and sightseeing around Tokyo with the other exchange students and CIEE staff, the second half included traveling to kyoto with 2 other exchange students and some CIEE staff, settling in with our host families and getting orientation at our schools. For me, it also consisted of trying to order some things for my uniform, as how I was the only exchange student who got a school that required a uniform. Fortunately, my school was willing to lend me this much.
The first day was as overwhelming as I thought it would be. I got to school late because I couldn't find the station, didn't know where my classes where and had to have people guide me, and my classmates had lots of questions for me and we're all speaking quickly and at the same time. Nonetheless, it was fun and made friends rather quickly, even though that was my biggest concern because of the language barrier (plus I'm shy).
Anyways, that's all for my introduction. Yesterday was the sports festival (体育祭) so I'll write about that and post pictures sometime this upcoming week.