2017 has ended 15 days ago and it was quite the goodbye. As I said goodbye to the new year, and welcomed the one, I did the same to close relationships and adventures as well.
I’ve met so many people in just one semester, heck even in the last month, who’ve had a larger impact on my life than those I have known for years, and it honestly feels like such a hit to the soul that I can’t lean on them in the upcoming semester like I could recently. I feel like I’ve known some of these people my whole life and I’m – for the first time – without them. I actually had a “mini-reunion” a week after the semester ended and it felt like I was meeting a childhood friend – it’s mind boggling. That’s the kind of bond a study abroad journey creates, something that feels unbreakable.
This month has also been a dream if we excuse the sadness goodbyes. I was able to say hi to very familiar faces whom I haven’t seen since I was a child – including my grandfather, who was sadly diagnosed with cancer recently. I was finally able to reconnect and speak Japanese with him, something I was unable to do before arriving to Japan do to my lack of confidence and skill. Luckily, living abroad has granted me both of those to a degree at which I could speak to him. I was so elated to be able to sit down and communicate to him, even if only for a couple of hours; it is a memory I will never forget. I was also got to experience a New Year’s celebration in Japan for the first time in 15+ years, so that a plus.
None of these bonds and connections were made possible without receiving the Gilman, and that’s a fact. I could have never come to Kobe and meet with my grandfather without the money provided by the Gilman. If you haven’t already, start taking the Gilman seriously. It can change the course of your study abroad experience – it has mine.
In terms of new adventures, and even more relationships, the new semester will be upon me soon and I can’t wait to tackle it knowing how the system at AIU works. It will be quite the start to a new school year, and I can’t wait. But first, I have to make it to April.