SPC Japan met all my expectations – Center for International Programs

I attended the study abroad program in Japan while taking International Relations. A trip to Japan has always been a bucket list destination for me. Although we had to endure the 13-hour plane ride, it was worth it. I could have gotten off to a better start in Japan as my phone decided to leave me behind in Tokyo during our connecting flight to Osaka. However, it led me to a smartphone-free international experience. Without the dependence on my phone, I had to rely on the information provided to global travelers by Japan. Leading to an entirely different experience than the rest of the group.

Despite Japan’s seclusion-based culture, they are accommodating to international visitors. I was okay with reading or navigating the areas we visited, as all the signs, pamphlets, and restaurants had English translations or versions. Their subway and train systems are straightforward to understand and navigate, even as a foreigner. On my next visit to Japan, I would be confident about getting around on my own with or without the assistance of a smartphone.

Even with my missing phone incident, Japan met all my expectations. The country is lovely and lush. Outside of shopping, I am not a city girl, so my favorite places we visited were out in nature. The three locations that really stood out to me were the Inari Taisha Shrine, the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and the trip to Mt. Komagatake. The shrine was colorful and engaging. The shrine’s site was beautifully maintained, and right outside the shrine were food vendors and shops selling traditional snacks and souvenirs. Walking up the mountainside to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove nearly killed me. But it was worth it. The bamboo forest, the river, and the surrounding village were beautiful and relaxing. On the trip to Mt. Komagatake, we had to take a cable car up the mountain. We were fortunate to have great weather that day, allowing us to ride the cable car without any issues; however, it was too cloudy to view Mt. Fuji. Fortunately, our dinner reservation was not booked, and we got a great look at Mt. Fuji on our way to the onsen we were staying in for the night.

Coming back from Japan gave me an entirely different perspective on life and America as a whole. I recommend this trip to anyone, including those who have no interest in Japan. Their culture and everyday living are so drastically different from ours that it is worth exploring and experiencing. – Christina, SPC Japan Study Abroad Program, May 2024

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