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American and Japanese students posing for a group photo

Japan Trip: Final Thoughts and Lasting Memories

June 22, 2018

I have only been home for two days now and I already miss Japan. I think the biggest thing I took out of this course itself was all the discussions our group had about the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Until going on this trip, I had never really thought about how many atomic bombs there are in the world and how I felt about it.

Students visiting a Japanese temple

Visiting all the different cities and talking to all the different Hibakushas (the bombing survivors) has honestly opened my eyes to how much we as Americans forget or just don’t want to talk about the real problems of the world, and I feel that this needs to change. That starts with educating ourselves on topics that people might not want to talk about, but that need to be talked about. For the first time in my entire life I had a fully political discussion with my parents about their feelings on the atomic bombings. Even though I feel very differently than they do, I am trying to make them understand my point of view based on what I saw and what we discussed on the trip itself in hopes that they will change their mind.

Students cooking lunch during a study abroad trip in Japan

The other thing that I will never forget from my time in Japan are the friends that I made along the way. I never expected to make so many good friends, and now I have new friends from Osaka and even some from Moravian that I never expected to have. I think my favorite memory with my new friends was when we played Hanetsuki, which is basically Badminton in America at Osaka Ohtani University. I remember it was the second day in Japan and we had all just met the day before, so we were all a little shy. Because we played Hanetsuki I feel like everyone had come out of their shell after that point.

Students from the United States and Japan posing for a group photo

On the other hand, I am very sad that the trip is over mostly because I don’t know the next time I am going to be able to see my new friends, but I am glad to have gone because the course itself opened my eyes to new possibilities with friendships and the world in general. If you ever get the chance to study abroad, I would go for it because the trip might change your life in a way you never thought possible.

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