APA Orientation

So today was the orientation put on by the academic programs abroad office at my school. There were a ton of people there! Most of the people were either doing summer cultural tours or the korean exchange program. There were only a few of us going to Japan, and even less going to Kansai. There is another orientation over the summer, so I’m assuming most people are going to attend that one instead. There were only five of us going to Kansai. Two of the other people had been in my Japanese classes before, one girl I’d never met, and then Peter and myself. The first hour we talked about general stuff such as don’t go abroad and drink and act like a crazy person. Most of it was common sense, but they have to tell us all of it anyway. The best news was that the university pays for our international health insurance. Our program fees are expensive, and that’s why. But I would rather pay the program fees than have to worry about purchasing international insurance. Also found out that our ISC card covers us if our baggage is lost or stolen. After experiencing the nightmare of having my luggage misplaced before it’s definitely nice to know they will cover us if that happens.

After the first hour they split everyone up into their own programs. At first we weren’t sure if anyone would be coming to talk to us from Kansai. But there was a guy who had been to Kansai for a year, and a girl who is originally from Kansai and doing her last two years here at EMU. We talked to them for a good while, and had some questions answered. Some of it I already had picked up from reading the Kansai Gaidai blogs of other students. But a few things that were mentioned were very helpful.

Its weird but most of the time I think about going to Japan, it just doesn’t seem all that real yet. It feels like it’s way down the road. And it always had been for so long. But it’s getting closer and closer. While listening to them talk to us the first hour about culture shock, it hit me that this was reality. I’m actually doing this. I also had a “What the hell was I thinking?!” moment, but for the most part I was excited. I think I’ll stay excited until I think about the plane ride over there. I wish I could skip that part of the experience.

From this point on, there won’t be anything else happening until I hear from Kansai. Unless they tell me I need to send some other documents, it’s mostly back to the waiting game.

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