If given a chance to study abroad, it may be tempting to pick a country that is similar to your own. You may feel better about traveling to English speaking countries like England or Australia, where the food is similar, and many of the cultural expectations are the same. But imagine, for a second, what a life-changing experience it would be to step out of your comfort zone and visit a country that is completely different from your own. Imagine jet-setting across the ocean and arriving in one of the most vibrant, culturally rich and technological advanced countries in the world? We’re talking about Japan.
Japan Values Education and International Students
As one of the most innovative cities in the world, Japan provides world-class educational opportunities for students from all across the globe. Japan is home to most of Asia’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, a factor in the country’s commitment to high-quality education. For students who are serious about knowledge and strive to surround themselves with other intellectuals, there’s no better place to learn than Japan. There are over 750 universities in Japan, providing students with countless options for world-class places to study.
And not only is Japan a city that values the education of its own people, but it also prioritizes international education as a form of economic growth. Japan encourages students to study there and has a variety of strategies in place to make it easy for students from all over to continue their education there.
You’ll Never Be Bored
As if exploring a new city isn’t exciting enough on its own, exploring Japan is unlike anything you’ve ever done before. Night and day, this electric city offers so much to see and do. From outdoor adventures like mountain climbing and strolling underneath cherry blossom trees, to riding a bullet train and shopping at one of Japan’s high-end markets. Japan offers activities and attractions that you can’t experience anywhere else. Most of the popular things to do in Japan are located in Tokyo, such as beautiful inner-city parks, Michelin star restaurants, and the famous Kabuki theatres. Outside of the capital city, students can visit the temples in Kyoto or submerge in one of the many hot springs around the country.
For stunning photo opportunities, explore a portion of Japan’s ancient pilgrimage trails, covering over 750 miles and rich with Japanese history. Small inns along the way provide a rest from the trail, but it takes weeks to complete so you may only want to do a part of it. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, jump on a ski, snowboard, canoe or raft in Hokkaido, a snowy winter wonderland for outdoor lovers.
The Food Is Incredible
Japanese cuisine is so much more than sushi. While you probably won’t be able to pronounce most of the menu items, Japan offers some of the most fascinating food options around. Some “must trys” when it comes to eating in Japan include:
• Shabu Shabu
Foodies love Japan because of the diverse food options, and Instagrammers love it because of the wild presentations and colorful dishes that you can find in almost every restaurant in the area.
For students (and professors) on a budget, Japan offers some tasty eateries that won’t break the bank. You can’t help but notice the delicious smells coming from some of the street carts in Japan, and they offer some homemade goodness for a fraction of a regular restaurant price. However, keep in mind that walking while eating or drinking is considered taboo, so wait until you get home to devour your steamed pork buns or hot sweet potatoes. Japan also has vending machines for Ramen, which is basically the definition of cheap eats. Also, restaurants seem to offer better deals during lunchtime, offering “lunch sets” that feature significant portions for smaller prices.
A Cultural Experience Of A Lifetime
Not many people can say they were able to experience Japanese culture first hand. By studying abroad, you can immerse yourself in the culture. You will master the use of chopsticks, learn quickly how important punctuality is and will get in the habit of taking your shoes off. A lot. A trip to Japan will put you on the fast track to learning the dos and don’t of Japanese culture. You will immediately notice how clean the country is, but it may take time to master the language and understand social norms. Your experience in Japan will be one you remember for a lifetime and will provide you with a fresh outlook and expanded global perspective.
Working, living, studying and exploring in a place like Japan is a once in a lifetime opportunity. From the breathtaking geography to the innovative technology, high fashion, and world-class educational opportunities. Japan is a must for students looking to broaden their horizons and experience a culture with a rich history and exciting future.
Written by Diana Eastman