To say that Japan changed my life would be a major understatement; it changed my life, it changed me, it changed everything. I had always wanted to go to Japan, ever since I was 10 years old. I had a major appreciation for this very different culture.
Before I left for Japan, I had a lot of pent-up stress and frustrations. However, after being 7000 miles away from home, I realized that those problems I had were small, solvable, or not worth my time at all. Now back in America, I feel that nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. I see the world as a bigger place, and I want to explore it all.
In Japan I made lasting friendships, a lifelong bond with fellow exchangers (from Brazil, California, Virginia, and Ecuador), have a bigger view of the world, and now have the confidence to do anything. After going to Japan I realize that ANYTHING is possible.
When I got back from Japan, in a sense, I died inside. It was the happiest/calmest time in my entire life. However, I know that I will be back again, and I know that I still have all of the world to explore and fall in love with.
So what's next? Well, I am graduating from high school and I am going to attend university in the Fall.
My advice for future exchangers is that if you even have the opportunity to go abroad: do it. It will CHANGE your life for the better. If you are ready to jump into the unknown and experience a world of opportunities, then do it. I can guarantee that you will not regret it.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain