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Study Away in Japan Enriches

When a trip abroad exceeds expectations, the experience can be an enriching one

December 2, 2019

Mount students (from left) Rebecca Prompichai, Paola Castillo and Gabriella Quintanilla are all smiles after their panel discussion on Study Away in Japan.
Mount students (from left) Rebecca Prompichai, Paola Castillo and Gabriella Quintanilla are all smiles after their panel discussion on Study Away in Japan.

When a trip abroad exceeds expectations, the experience can be an enriching one. That was the sentiment shared by three Mount students who participated in the Study Away Program in Japan over the summer. The students spoke about their global experience during a recent panel discussion on the Doheny Campus. 

“We had a very deep cultural exchange there,” said Gabriela Quintanilla ‘20, a political science and global politics major. “It started off as an academic trip, but it ended up being a cultural experience.”

The study abroad program offers a summer intensive language course at the University of Shiga Prefecture located in Hikone City, one of the most historic and culturally rich areas in Japan. During the program, students can participate in several field trips and practice their language skills with Japanese students.

While Mount students earn credits for their studies abroad, music education major Paola Castillo ’20 chose to take the trip solely for the adventure. “We must be open to all possibilities,” said Castillo, who hopes to find a job in Japan next year. “You never know unless you try.” 

Following the four-week program, students can extend their trip for another week by participating in the Japanese Traditional Community Stay Program in Hachiman. Through the program, students stay with a Japanese host family, expanding their exposure to the culture. “You get to take the concepts you learned in class and use your knowledge with your host family,” said business administration student Rebecca Prompichai ’20, adding that her host family was “very welcoming.”

Study Away Advisor Jaime Wood says that one of the things she likes best about the program is that it doesn’t require proficiency of the Japanese language, making it accessible to virtually all students. “It’s a wonderful program because students can learn so much in such a short timeframe, even if they don’t know the language,” said Wood. “It’s also an affordable program that is hands-on and integrates you in the rural Japanese culture.” 

The application deadline for the next Study Away Program in Japan is January 15, 2020. For inquiries about the program, please email studyaway@msmu.edu