It has been about a month since I first arrived in Tokyo, and it somehow feels both shorter than that with how fast it is going and longer with how accustomed I’ve already gotten to life here. Since I chose to go with an affiliate program, we were driven to our housing, which is dorms by the campus, and I remember being slightly in shock that first night. I walked into my room and everything was different from what I was used to, from the layout to the appliances covered in unfamiliar Japanese. Then, as I went to grab something to eat at the “konbini,” or convenience store near the dorms, it really struck me just how far away I was from home when I both hardly recognized anything in the store and had a difficult time checking out because of the language barrier. Though the first couple days were stressful, it has been incredibly fulfilling to adjust to the way of life here, from learning the common phrases used at stores to developing my own tastes and favorites of all the new foods here.

Classes have also started fairly recently, and they’ve been very interesting so far. I was recommended to try taking classes very different than offered at UA, but even in my more “regular” classes like history, I’ve never been surrounded by so many people from all sorts of different countries and cultural backgrounds. For example, after talking to a friend from France, I might go grab dinner with my friend from Zimbabwe and someone we met from Australia. There’s also this great sense of community from us all being in “the same boat,” most of us very new to living in a different country and wanting to explore it. I can already tell this will be one of the things I will miss most after studying abroad.

Lastly, one of the things I can recommend most from my short time here would be that while traveling with the friends you make is great, don’t be afraid to do some solo traveling as well if there’s a place you want to go that friends either aren’t very interested in or unavailable for. So far, possibly my favorite day of this first month was planning and going on a solo trip to Mount Fuji. It was something I was very nervous about, from figuring out the trains to get there and back to the sites I would go to, but after a day full of some of the most gorgeous views I’ve ever seen, it was probably one of the best days of my life. Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to some amazing experiences, and I hope to have many more in my time here.