The Wonderland, Japan
The Wonderland, Japan
  • Kim Se Jin / Guest Reporter
  • 승인 2010.04.06 15:59
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September 21st 2009, I crossed a sea to visit Japan for six months.  Even though it was only a two-hour flight away, the neighboring country of Japan was very different from my motherland Korea.  Japan was like a ‘wonderland’ to me.   I want to share my valuable experiences that I gained in Japan as a foreigner.


Dreaming about Japan; the Neighbor Country far away

Japan was not so unfamiliar to me when I was young.  My uncle was Japanese and also my cousin settled in Japan after her marriage.  My mother majored in Japanese.  I first learned Japanese when I was in primary school.  I had o aversion about learning Japanese due to the background, but to be honest, Japanese was not a big interest to me.  studied Japanese materials as my mother suggested and I visited Japan several times to visit my uncle.  I also took apanese as my third language in high school.  I continued this long and thin relationship with Japan.  This was imply done without my will.  The time when I started to dream about Japan began from a very small thing.  I atched a Japanese drama and three years later, I was in an island country called Japan. I began to learn Japanese eriously and prepared all the required exams with a wellorganized plan.  


Fighting against Myself

The students had to submit their application for the exchange student program to Japan in only two short days.  here were many documents to fulfill the requirements.  The documents were a personal statement, licenses, cademic results, recommendation letter from professors and so on.  Using the Internet and online community, I was able to gain some basic information that I needed in order to apply to this exchange program but it was not enough at all.  I wanted to know how competitive it was, how good my academic grade had to be in order to pass through the exams, but the information offered was not so detailed.  However, luckily I was preparing it with my friend who already had an experience last year.  She helped me out and everything went smoothly.  Moreover, one day before the application deadline, SMU held an international exchange counsel program with students who already have been to Japan for an exchange program last year.  This was very useful to me. This counsel helped pique my curiosity.  To be picked as an exchange student, I gave up sweet morning sleep in order to study Japanese more.  I practiced my interview with my dog until past midnight.  I fixed my personal statement more than ten times. The pressure gave me stress, but the hardest thing was to exceed myself.  On March 24th 2009, my name was on the acceptance list. After the acceptance, I was cleaning up my lap top. In the lap top, I found a document I wrote when I was a freshman.  My imagined resume was written; ‘JLPT level one, third grade of university, exchange student to Japan.’ I almost cried, as this was not an imagination anymore.  I made my dream come true and reached my goal.


Alice Arrived in Wonderland!

On September 21st 2009, I arrived in Kansai International Airport.  I found a welcome card with my name on it.  This is how I arrived in Osaka. Two students including me passed to come to Konan Women’s University in Kobe, and strangely, the other student was my friend who helped me out with all the preparation.  It was raining on the first day in Japan and even the rain was like a welcoming song to my fluttering heart.  We lived in a dormitory.  We could eat breakfast and dinner in the cafeteria.  The laundry room was to be shared with others.  There were many helpers around us and they gave us a welcoming party for just four foreign exchange students.  Japan has trimesters and the first one starts in October. Konan Women’s University did not have a limit of credit and therefore I could take all the subjects I wanted to.  There were many different kinds of after-school activities and clubs and we chose to enjoy a club named ‘Korean Project.’ All the students who were interested in Korea gathered around together.  We sang K-POP in karaoke, watched Korean movies and drama, or sold Korean food Jijime. We made great memories together.  One day, the school introduced me to a job and I tutored an old Japanese gentleman. He loved Korea so much and he said that he also wants to introduce Japanese culture to me.  He bought me different kinds of Japanese food like sushi.  He also introduced me to Korean Japanese who cooked really well.  In six months, I gained many unforgettable memories in Japan.  I brought back 70 kilos of packages, but I could not bring a single gram of Japan that I loved.  I can’t forget a piece of them. Japan is here, in my heart.


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