Tips on Adjusting to Life in Japan

Study abroad is an exciting and eye-opening experience for anyone. Being in a new place away from home and all your familiar things may take some getting used to.  There are several stages you may feel when in a foreign country: initial elation, culture shock, gradual adjustment, and finally adapting to your new second home in Japan.

Here are a few tips on transitioning to your life in Japan:

30681501265_b6f33d1f55_zLearn about Japanese culture before you go.

Read up on what to expect once you arrive in Japan. You’ll have a heads up on what clothes to pack and the proper courtesy and manners to observe. You wouldn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb or unintentionally offend.

Fall 2016 students at KCP tea ceremony. | KCP Flickr

Keep an open mind.

Every country has its own unique culture. Keep an open mind and observe, take in, and embrace the many layers of Japanese tradition and culture. It also helps to have a positive attitude towards every new experience. It may give you a deeper understanding and awareness of what and why certain things are followed in Japanese culture.

30688174066_874aeabf58_zMake new friends.

Go out of your way to meet new people. You will encounter other students from other countries taking the same Japanese language course. Making new friends allows you to learn more about what life is really like in another country. Befriending someone from Japan and other countries will enable you to build your network of friends.

Fall 2016 Ikebukuro Dorm welcome party. | KCP Flickr

Immerse yourself in local activities.

Do what the locals do. Tokyo is a bustling metropolis that has many intriguing sights and activities. Keep abreast of new things that you can join near your area.

30851627955_51f182f48c_zExplore new places.

Go where the locals go! Get out of your comfort zone. KCP is right in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. Being right smack in the middle of the bustling metropolis offers lots of places to explore: temples and shrines, narrow alley ways, and majestic gardens. You’re never left without a new place to explore each day.

Going up Mt. Fuji. | Mike Doeren at KCP Flickr

28273800520_7da6ed479a_zKeep a journal about your experience.

Keep a record of your experience abroad such as a journal (written, video, and/or photo). This will give you the chance to look back on your experience and the changes in your perception and understanding of Japan and the Japanese. This will also give you memories to look back on after your stay abroad.

Keep ties to family and friends back home.

Write emails, send post cards, share blog posts, photos, and videos with family and friends. Let them join your adventure vicariously.

Summer Short-term 2016 students at Yamanashi. | KCP Flickr