Coming to Japan made me realize that there are so many cultural differences that I was previously not aware of. Even when I met other exchange students I realized that we were all different. I’ve studied a lot in Japan and that made me realize how ignorant I was and still am. I’ve also come to learn that I can’t tell if other people’s choices are write on wrong, but I’ve learned that I should choose what is right for me. I’ve also learned that I always have to see things from “the other person’s side” so that I can understand where and what I did wrong. Of course I’ve also learned a little bit of Japanese, but I think that being an exchange student is much more than just learning a new language: we learn our limits, our weaknesses, our strengths, what we should change and, sometimes, learn to see how good we can be, and by doing so we also begin to respect ourselves more.
In Japan I’ve learned to apologize, but I’ve also learned how to fight for what I thought was right. I’ve also learned to be thankful for the little things of life: I was used to having three meals a day for free, my own room and my privacy, but that was provided by my family. In Japan I realized that I was given all those things by people that didn’t know me at all – my host families. This was a great gift that I’ve received while in Japan.
At my Japanese school I learned karate and it gave me more self-confidence. It has taught me how to deal with emotions and stress in a calm way. Karate also taught me that being a part of a group is a good way to not get lonely and to learn faster: if it weren’t for my classmates and for my Karate-mates I wouldn’t be able to speak Japanese so well. Japan has also taught me the value of tradition and of patience which I didn’t really understand much when I first came here.
Japan, thank you for everything!