Living Abroad, Student Life Abroad

Friends-giving: A Much Needed Experience

December 20, 2017

So November is over and let me just say, it went by in a blink of an eye. So much has occurred, but nothing struck me more than the loss I felt during the week up to Thanksgiving. Mind you, my Thanksgiving was fantastic, but the week leading up to it felt like there was a hole in the middle of my heart. A hole that was left by family.

Not spending such a family oriented holiday without your loved ones left an unwanted feeling in my being for the entire week…until I realized that I had already formed a new family here in Akita – one consisting of friends who are also missing their loved ones dearly. The friends that I have created while being in AIU thus far are some of the closest friends I could have ever hoped for. It’s like starting college over, but with double the pressure. You’re more than “freshman lost,” you’re a foreigner confused. That pressure can be found in so many of us students, and it allows us to connect on a different level. Celebrating Thanksgiving with the friends I have made here was a special moment that I never want to forget. The food may not have been the same, but the emotions were almost parallel.

This study abroad experience has given me so much so far in terms of memories, and I cannot wait to continue it. Also, important note: I SAW SNOW FOR THE FIRST TIME!

If you ever feel lonely abroad, confide in your friends, they’re honestly probably feeling the same too.

I want to really thank the Gilman Scholarship for this experience, as it would not have been possible to form these bonds without it. Trust me, friends who come from ALL different walks of life each have different ideas of fun…most of which are expensive. The Gilman provides me the breathing room to be willing to go do some activities. So thank you Gilman.

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