Shiori Iwanaga, School of Human Cultures
My Study Abroad in Michigan as a USP Exchange Student
Shiori Iwanaga, school of Human Cultures
I had an opportunity to study at a university in Michigan through the exchange student program with this university, The University of Shiga Prefecture. It was without exaggeration, the greatest experience that I ever had.
Ferris State University (FSU) is where I spent 2 semesters, which was about 10 months. FSU is located in a town called Big Rapids in Michigan. Big Rapids is a small town but it is peaceful and quiet and a very nice environment for studying. FSU has a wide range of majors, and I took Music Industry Management. You can learn music and show business things there. I learned Music Theory, Music in Film, Music Technology, Music Management, and many other things about music (For more details, you can visit: http://catalog.ferris.edu/programs/119/ ). Classes were a lot of fun and everything was a new discovery to me. I not only studied but I also joined some student clubs. Joining them brought me many new friends and helped me learn about cultures and society practically. I guarantee if I weren't a member of those organizations, my campus experience wouldn't have turned out to be fabulous and the greatest.
The one thing that I felt strongly about the education system in the university there that was students are given many opportunities to make presentations in class: it could be all by yourself or could be group work; anyhow, I felt that was a big difference for me in comparison to the Japanese education system. What was funny to me was when my roommate told me that it is often said that " giving a speech in public is more scary than death." Well, it was not that bad, I guess...
Traveling all over the states was one of the greatest fun experiences that ever happened to me as well. I visited Chicago, took a train to Los Angeles, drove to Florida and Atlanta, and took a bus to New York. I was so blessed to visit those places with my friends. My impressions about visiting those places were that they are all in the same country, but sometimes there is a huge different atmosphere between them. When I visited Los Angeles, I didn't even feel that I was in the U.S., because all I could see there were Hispanic people and environment. That was very interesting to me. New York was also an interesting city for me. I stayed in Brooklyn, NYC for about a month, and it was literally "The Melting Pot." I met many kinds of people and made some friends and enjoyed the life there very much.
Again, this experience was the greatest gift that ever happened to me (up to this point in my life). This would never have happened to me if I hadn't been at The University of Shiga Prefecture. I am thankful for this opportunity and to the people who helped and supported me through this. This experience taught me that to become more internationally minded while I live in Japan, I should recognize that I live in just a part of the world; therefore, I should look at what's going on out there, not only in my home country but also world-wide. Since I ACTUALLY saw many an ethnic group in the U.S.A I could ACTUALLY feel there are many different people in the world and many more things to see. So this experience made me pay more attention to the world.
Lastly, if anybody thinks that they would like to study abroad, I'm telling you, just Go For It!!!! You will definitely meet a whole new world!