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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Jocelyn in Japan

Jocelyn Montejo ’19 is a major in Asian Studies and a minor in Sociology who is studying in Tokyo, Japan.

My name is Jocelyn Montejo and I am a third year student with an Asian Studies major and a Sociology minor and for 5 months I have been studying at Toyo University at the center of Tokyo, Japan. Being here was something I would have never dreamed of, but something I am grateful to have had the support and resources. Sadly, today is the last day I will be in Japan, hopefully not for long, but nevertheless my time has ended as an exchange student in Japan and will continue on as I go to Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. I write this letter from the local Starbucks in Akihabara and I think back at the many moments in Japan that have, I would say, made a significant change in my life.

If I were to only name three of these events the first would be my weekend homestay experience offered by Toyo University in Itakura. I was able to learn more about Japanese family life and experience the less city side of Japan. There I was able to see traditional tea making ceremony. Another memorable moment would be going to Sebsou-ji, Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple in Asakusa, on New Years week to pray for a successful year and get omikuji, Japanese fortune-telling paper strips, to see how my fortune will be for the year. I have never seen so many people condensed in one area and the entire atmosphere was just indescribable. Lastly, I think the most important part of being in Japan was being given the opportunity to work on campus at a language center called the ECZ. There I was able to speak to Japanese students and gain more knowledge in terms of everyday Japanese life to simply just making friends.

In the end I think the most important thing I learned is that I was able to be myself in a place where I was told to be careful of how I expressed myself from people back in the U.S. I honestly never expected myself to feel so at home and content with being in Japan, and the thought of leaving has left me with feelings of sadness. Regardless if things weren’t always perfect, for me, my time in Japan has made me grow into a different person with new experiences and a wider understanding of the world and a greater desire to one-day return.
I am thankful for everyone I have met in Tokyo and will continue to keep these connections. But more specifically, I am thankful for those who have helped me achieve my life time goal of coming to Japan. I personally want to thank my parents, Ashley M Sinclair, Miguel de Baca, Shihue Chen, Ichinose Eiko, and the Ingrid H. and George L. Speros Scholarship foundation for providing me with the resources and motivation to continue to move forward with my dream.