Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kobe Summer Study Abroad (p1)

For 6 weeks during the summer, I went on a study abroad through my university to Kobe, Japan!
There were 10 other students from my uni and around 25 total from Victoria (Canada), Buffalo (NY), and Chicago (IL).
Here we are at the main entrance to Konan University (こなんだいがく).

After a placement test, they separated us into two classes: one that knows a selected amount of kanji, and one that doesn't. Most of the students from my uni were in the one that didn't know kanji. Our class definitely had more fun because I think in general we were a little bit less serious students, and the pace was much slower for us  (^~^)
For this specific study abroad program we were assigned to stay with host families. My ホストファミリ lived on Rokko Island which is about 1/2 hour away from the school. The family included a mom, dad, and a 15 year old boy. The dad is Pakistani and the mom is a にほんじん and everyone speaks Japanese. The whole time, I only got to see/meet my host father once because mostly lives separately from his wife and son in Kyoto where he works. 

Here is me and my host mom, Keiko san :)
This was taken at the farewell party. She was very generous and gifted me this yukata (summer kimono)!

Keiko san  was very, very accommodating to my being a picky eater. As per the program, host families should provide us breakfast and dinner everyday, and we are responsible for our own lunch. For breakfast she fed me croissants and orange juice ^.^ and for dinner most days was chicken and rice! Her chicken katsu was especially yummy (●⌒∇⌒●)
To get from my host family's home to school, I would walk about 5 minutes from the house to a bus stop and catch the bus for about 25 minutes closer to school. From the bus stop, I would walk about 13-16 minutes to the University. Public transportation in Japan is very reliable! It is one thing I miss most about Japan. There was a train I could have caught, but it was more expensive so Keiko san thought it would be best for me to catch the bus, and I was very comfortable with this.

Here are some photos of what the neighborhood looked like. It was very nice and clean.

In Japan, you often see very young children (elementary school age) walking or catching the train by themselves! This would never happen in America. This is one big culture difference that I find very interesting. Japanese children I think are a bit more independent but I guess that's because it's safer? Another thing is that you can leave your purse/bag/belongings at your seat in a cafeteria/food court and no one will take it or steal anything! Never never never in America would I leave my belongings around like that!

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