All posts by ckinney

Fall 2017 Photo Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who submitted their awesome photos this semester! We have carefully reviewed all of the submission and have our finalists. Congratulations to the following winners and honorable mentions!

Marauders Abroad

Platform 9 3/4

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Submitted by: Tara Kurtnecz

London, United Kingdom

Marauders in Action

Learning Chinese Calligraphy

Calligraphy

Submitted by: Lauren Oler

Nanchang, China

MU Spirit

Xunantunich Mayan Ruins

Mayan Ruins

Submitted by: Grace Smoot

Xunantunich, Belize

People and Culture

Mind Over Matter

Mind Matter

Submitted by: Kenneth Arias

Santa Maria, Peru

Landscapes and Landmarks

Inca Kingdom

Inca Kingdom

Submitted by: Kenneth Arias

Machu Picchu, Peru

Honorable Mention

Inca Trail Trek

Marauders in Action: Inca Trail Trek

Submitted by: Kevin Arias
Santa Teresa, Peru

Market

People & Culture: San Ignacio Market

Submitted by: Grace Smoot
San Ignacio, Belize

 

Pavilion

Landscapes and Landmarks: Tengwang Pavilion

Submitted by: Lauren Oler
Shanghai , China

 

International Student Fall 2017 Activities

September 

International Student Orientation

Students had the opportunity to meet with faculty, staff, and administration on campus to discuss future career options and network.

Employment

Dinner with Millersville’s President

International students were invited to have dinner with Dr. John M. Anderson and other administration, faculty and staff.

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Barnstormers Baseball Game

International students hit this one out of the ballpark when they attended a game for the Lancaster Barnstormers, the local baseball team.

Jaiqi

New York Day Trip

Director Patriece Campbell and Program Coordinator Daniel McCleary  lead a group of international students on a full-day excursion to the big apple.

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October

Pumpkin Carving

International students were invited to take part in an American, October tradition! The fruits of their labor decorated the porch of Global Education for a week.

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Homecoming Porch Party

International students lined George street to take part in this spirited event full of friends and fun!

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Hershey Park

Students had a sweet experience visiting Pennsylvania’s own Hershey Park!

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November

Ropes Course

Students got to try out the Ropes Course before it got too cold!

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International Education Week

A great celebration of all things international! Check out our detailed article to learn more information.

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December

Bowling

Global Marauder’s partnered with the international students for this smashing success; an event that’s right up everyone’s alley!

Bowling

End of Semester Send-Off

Global Education held an end of semester ceremony to celebrate the students that matriculated out of the English Language Institute, and to celebrate our exchange students returning home.

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To see more international student activities, check out our Fall 2017 slideshow!

MU Guided Programs

Students interested in studying abroad at Millersville can choose between three broad types of global opportunities: Traditional, Professional, and Guided. MU Guided are short-term programs coordinated by MU professors and Global Education, usually offered during break sessions. While some programs are associated with a course, there are also non-credit options available. In the past, MU Guided has included international conference, sporting events, research opportunities, service learning, musical performance, and other cultural experiences.

Past Programs

Honduras – Service Learning

In May 2017, the Millersville University School of Social Work and the Departments of Biology and Nursing are hosted a summer break service learning trip to Pespire, Honduras.  Participants visited rural communities to assist in medical clinics, learned basic some basic nursing skills, and toured the local hospitals and beaches.

“I was honored to participate in a GO Guided program that took me to Honduras. There were four faculty members and about 10 student participants.  We partnered with an organization called CARE, Central American Relief Effort, headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Our Mission was primarily to provide basic healthcare to remote villages in southern Honduras. Many of our students had never been out of the country before and to be immersed in a rural area in southern Honduras was certainly a unique experience. Some students were cautious in their reaction to a very different culture, a culture steeped in poverty. Other students immediately embraced the children with whom we were interacting. I would say that, by the end of our time there, all of our students considered it to be a life-transforming experience.

I would highly recommend this type of experience for anyone in our community. We often get complacent about conditions around the world because we live so comfortably in the one in which we exist.”

Dr. John Anderson, Millersville University President

 Honduras

England – Sports Tour

The Millersville University Men’s Soccer Team participated in a 10 day team trip to England in August 2017. They stayed in the traditional city of York in northern England, played games against teams from Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley FC, and participated in practice sessions with a guest coach.

Soccer

Sweden – School Experience

This trip is for students interested in learning about schooling in Stockholm, Sweden. One full week will be spent at Internationella Engleska Skolan Nacka, and two days in a school for students with special needs. Students’ lodging will be staying with host families to immerse themselves in the culture and will be able to use weekends, and most nights, to explore this gorgeous city and local attractions.

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South Africa – Service Learning

Operating since 2013, this reoccurring program presents an opportunity for cultural immersion, service learning, and development of skills that fosters both personal and professional growth in January 2018. Participants will explore historical, social, and political factors that have shaped South Africa with the goals of enhancing knowledge relating to social justice and human rights, fostering global citizenship, and expanding world views. Attendees will also participate in service learning at various NGOs whose mission is to advance social justice and human rights.

Dominican Republic- Music Abroad

January 2018 will represent the 4th annual abroad experience to the Dominican Republic with Dr. Barry Atticks! This program is geared toward students enrolled in Music at Millersville, however, it was open to ALL students who want to experience this amazing country and its culture, as well as learning about Caribbean Music. Participants will learn about traditional Caribbean music styles from locals and gain international teaching experience, all in a city known for its beautiful, long stretches of beaches and clear waters.

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Costa Rica – Sustainability

Dr. Len Litowitz will lead this reoccurring, environmentally focused abroad experience in Costa Rica this January 2018! Costa Rica is often ranked as one of the top three sustainable countries in the world because of its dedication to the rain forests and water systems. As much as 30% of the entire country is in some form of preservation area, in order to protect more than 10,000 species of plants and 800+ species of butterflies that are native to Costa Rica. Students interested in participating in this experience should be prepared for moderate hiking, outdoor activities, fast-paced travel, and a fun-filled abroad experience!

London – Sports

Drs. Daniel Keefer and Ying Wushanley will lead an International Sport Facility Trip to London this Summer 2018. Participants will visit sport facilities unlike those they could visit in the United States, including stadiums and museums related to cricket, soccer, rugby, tennis, and the Olympics. The trip will introduce students to global sport-related issues and industries and provide firsthand experience in international sporting events and organizations while exploring the most frequently chosen host city in modern Olympic history!

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Upcoming Programs (applications still open)

Europe – Music and Culture

Join Dr. Barry Atticks and the Music Department during summer 2018 for the Music and Culture tour of Europe!  Participants will explore the rich musical history of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Liechenstein, and Iceland. This program is geared toward students enrolled in Music at Millersville, however, it is open to ALL students who want to experience these amazing countries!

London – Theatre Tour

Join Professor Tony Elliot on a unique three credit travel course, exploring theatre as it developed in the exciting city of London, England this summer 2018! Most class gatherings will be on-site, focusing on first-hand experience (as opposed to lecture) all while leaving students ample time to explore the city. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover the rich history of the London threatre tradition!

Puerto Rico – Disaster Relief

Join Drs. Karen Rice and Duane Hagelgnas on a disaster recovery experience to Puerto Rico this Summer 2018. This 7-day global service-learning program will focus on hurricane relief and interact with themes of land rights, environmental justice, Puerto Rico-US relationships, social change, democratic citizenship, leadership, and international development. This program will most likely actively involve re-building mangrove forests that were destroyed by the recent Hurricane Maria. In addition, there may be other clean up or rebuilding activities related to communities near the forests. Participants will spend the week based in and around San Juan meeting with local community and professional leaders; serve 30+ hours for local organizations on the front line of community development; and explore the country and culture through field trips and community events.

Belize – Mathematics and Culture

Join Drs. Ximena Catepillán and Alex Redcay on an exploration of ancient Maya mathematics and modern communities of Belize and Northern Guatemala this Summer 2018! The focus of this service learning trip is to offer students cultural immersion, learning through service, and development of knowledge and skills related to diversity and cultural competence that fosters both professional and personal growth in past participants.  Specifically, the service learning trip will address the social work core competencies of ethical and professional behavior, engage diversity and difference, engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities and to use self-reflection to evaluation their knowledge, skills and abilities to do so. This program especially geared toward non-math and science students that need a G2 mathematics course to fulfill their general education requirements but is open to all Millersville undergraduate & graduate students, faculty, and staff. Students minoring in African-American Studies and Latino Studies are strongly encouraged to apply.

Iceland – Sustainability

Join Dr. Len Litowitz on an environmentally focused abroad experience this Summer 2018 to Iceland, the only country to generate all of its electrical power through alternative means! Participants will visit geothermal power plants, take a boat ride to a glacier that forms large icebergs as it recedes due to the climatic effects, hike pristine gorges, go on a whale watch north of the Arctic Circle, soak in geothermal pools, and enjoy the scenic beauty of this sparsely populated and largely unspoiled natural paradise.

Toronto – International Film Festival

Students will participate in the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) for five days in September 2017. This experience includes 12-15 film showings (depending on the offered schedule) and 2 special screening events. Participating students have the option of completing Modern Cinema, an independent study course offered for 1 credit.

For more information on MU Guided Programs, check out our webpage!

ELI Launch

Millersville is pleased to announce the launch of the English Language Institute (ELI)! This program is geared towards international students and focuses on language development for college-readiness. ELI provides six levels of intensive English instruction in classes that are taught by experienced instructors trained in English as a Second Language instruction and holding a master’s degree or higher including new Global Education employees, Mrs. Marika Mando-Fedorcova and Mrs. Janet Purcell.

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To accommodate this new program, ELI has expanded to Adams House just across the street from Global Education’s own Cumberland House. This new facility houses ELI coordinator offices, instructional spaces, and a computer lab making it the perfect location for students can develop their skills.

The intensive, non-credit English courses act as a bridge for students to meet admissions requirements for Millersville University. Students may earn credit through concurrent enrollment during levels 5 and 6. If a long-term English program does not fit the needs or schedule of students, the ELI also offers variety of short-term programs ranging from 2- 8 weeks.

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The ELI is not exclusively in-classroom learning. It also offers students cultural events, activities, community outreach, and trips to attractions, such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore and historic Lancaster.

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To learn more information about this program, check out our webpage!

International Student Home Countries

Millersville is host to more than 60 international students from over 20 different countries around the world! International students help grow to our campus and community by sharing their unique experiences and contributing to globalization. The above map illustrates the diversity of our international students by highlighting their home countries from the highest concentration to the lowest.

The chart below lists the countries by name and also provides a visual of the percentage of students from each country.

MU Country Chart

International Student Spotlight: Meet Jiaqi

Name: Jiaqi Zheng

Age: 24

Home country: China

Home university: Xi’an University of Architecture & Technology

Field of study: Technology & Innovation, Sports Architecture Management

Why did you decide to study in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?

My personal experience in my undergraduate school helped me to make the decision to go abroad to learn more about sports development. Even though the Chinese government already came up with codes and standards to promote sports to public and more and more people participated in sports, the relatively backward concepts and people’s prejudice are still a problem in China. I hope to do my part and improve this situation in the future. It was my pleasure coming here and accessed to innovative ideas and critical thinking not only in sports but in my life. Millersville University gave me the chance and helped me open my mind in different areas.

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal?

I was not really good at English before and I was afraid to talk to anyone prior to arriving at Millersville. After I came here, my English skills improved quickly because Global Education, ESL class, and the writing center helped me a lot in speaking, listening, and writing. Most importantly, everyone here is kind and patient and they like to teach me and listen to me carefully.

What did you like best about Millersville and the United States?

I really enjoy learning at MU, not only the environment but also that there were equal opportunities and chances for everyone. It is a place where you can make your life whatever you want to be. You can start a project with your classmates and advisor, join in the clubs which fit your interests, find a job, or intern on the school websites. It’s a microcosm of United States in that there are so many different cultures which vary widely in just one nation.

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying in the States? Did you enjoy it? (it could be an activity, a type of food, etc)

What I tried for the first time while study in the States is watching a professional baseball game and NBA. It such a huge difference between watching them on TV and going to the stadium. It’s all about the atmosphere and it was my first time felt the passion people have about sports.

What food or drink do you miss most from China?

Different kinds of Hot Pot.

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

I hope I can work with my advisor in my country to organized the National Games in 2021 with my experience from here. In addition, I will tell my friends and classmates about my experience and encourage them to come here.

What did you learn about yourself personally over the past year?

Taking online or face-to-face classes encouraged me follow a schedule which establish a positive habitat in time management. I have laid out personal goals and made a schedule to achieve my goal. After concentrating on my time management skills, I also learned that by writing down and prioritizing each step I needed to take, I was able to better visualize the journey, which helped me manage my time more effectively.

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

I have made an effort to develop my skills and experience in numerous different ways. As an operation intern for the local baseball team, Lancaster Barnstormers, I have matured as an individual and my experience of working with colleagues and customers has contributed a lot to my interpersonal skills. Furthermore, I reinvested in my career goal in the field of sports because I understand that sports can influence people’s lives. I met with a customer who has watched baseball games at Clipper Magazine Stadium for 13 years and has made friends with everyone who worked here. I also interviewed a facilities designer who assisted in building the stadium. When he told me the building process and the problems they solve, I saw passion in his eyes.

I am also better able to see the bigger picture and how my role relates to the overall goals of my life and in my program, Technology & Innovation. Taking classes with my professors, I admire their study and achievement. I have learned a range of critical thinking, decision making, and integrative learning skills to handle unusual or difficult situations.

What is your dream job and why?

My dream job is working in the field of sports. I want to be a sports manager or a professor in college. Managers and professors influence people and students on a daily basis. By sharing their knowledge, they make a difference and help guide their workers and the next generation to their goals. I’ll pursue my passion and do what I can to improve sports industry.

Why should other international students come to MU?

MU helps students achieve their goals and find success. It is a chance for students to be adventurous, explore the unknown, and try their hand at activities and feel interactive.  It will be an amazing experience in life.

Jaiqi2

Meet Katarzyna: New Faculty Coordinator

What university did you attend?

I attended the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland for my undergraduate education and my magister degree. Then, I got an M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Ph.D.  from Illinois State University.

Do you have any study abroad or international experiences? Can you elaborate?

I was born and raised in Poland.  I originally came to the United States as an international student in 1997 to get my M.A., then I came back in 2001 to pursue my Ph.D., and eventually I decided to live and work here.  I have visited over 20 countries throughout my life. When I was a child my parents took me travelling all over Europe every summer, so I really caught that wanderlust bug from them.  Recently, I haven’t been able to travel much because my children are still too young, and I have to admit I’m getting a little restless.

Can you speak another language besides English? Is there one that you would love to learn?

Polish is my native language. I also know some French, though I used to speak it much better, and I wish I had time to brush up on it. When I was a student in Poland, I had some basic education in Russian, Latin and modern Hebrew. I would love to study many more languages, but my top choice would be Spanish. Whenever I see a Spanish text I’m surprised at how much of it I can understand without any prior knowledge, so I have an impression that it would be easy for me to learn.

What attracted you to working at Global Education?

When I studied at Illinois State University, I was part of a vibrant international community of students from all over the world. This was a very impactful part of my education, and I feel that I learned as much from interactions with my international friends as I did from my academic courses.  That’s why I welcomed the opportunity to join Global Education and help further its goals of internationalizing the campus. I would love to expand MU’s international community and give all MU students a similarly enriching experience as the one I had at Illinois State.  My other motivation for joining Global Education was simply to give back. I am well familiar with the challenges of being an international student in the US, and I thought I would be in a good position to advise MU’s international students.

What are your goals for Global Education?

Even though our office is more engaged than ever with the university community, I would still like us to develop a stronger connection with MU students and faculty, and to encourage them to recognize internationalization as a valuable component of academic experience. I would also very much like us to engage with the Lancaster community; I think we should take advantage of the creative and educational potential of the diverse groups of residents in our area.

What has been your most rewarding project that you’ve worked on for Global Education?

I love the monthly Tea Time with Global Education, a social hour that I launched with the help of Global Education staff. Because so much of our social interaction happens online these days, I really cherish the opportunity to personally connect with MU students, faculty and staff who are interested in international issues. I have a real sense of community during these monthly  gatherings – people coming together to spend time with each other, share stories about their cultures as well as delicious international snack and beverages. Another most rewarding part of my job is the day-to-day help I provide to MU’s international and study-abroad students. It’s great to be able to fix the little problems that make student lives difficult: whether it’s issues with the transfer of credit, adaptation to different education systems, or helping students feel comfortable in a new culture.

If you could travel somewhere new, where would you go and why?

I would really like to go to Cuba. I love Cuban music and literature; authors like Reinaldo Arenas, Cristina Garcia or Jesus Diaz have already painted a pretty vivid picture of the country in my head and I would like to see it for myself. I also hope that one day I can travel to Haiti. In my academic work, as a professor of English, I focus on African diaspora literatures and cultural translation, and through my research I’ve discovered some fascinating connections between Haitian history and the history of my native country, Poland. I would like to conduct on-site research about this topic at some point.

What is an interesting fact about yourself that most people don’t know?

During my student days I used to support myself translating books from English into Polish. I am the author of one of the Polish translations of Anne of Green Gables. Another popular book I translated is Koji Suzuki’s The Ring, which was the basis of the well-known horror film. This was a second-hand translation because the original book is written in Japanese. I do not fully support this kind of publishing practice, but at that time I was a poor graduate student and the task was not only profitable but also enthralling.

What advice do you have for students thinking about studying in another country?

Do some research about the country you plan to study in.  Read books, watch films, talk to people who come from there. This will enable you to get the most out of your time in the foreign country and will also help you avoid some awkward situations. But you should also be willing to accept surprises. No matter how much you research another culture, you will get to know it well only by living in it, which is one of the great benefits of study abroad experience.

Kasia

International Student Education Week Review

Monday

  • Monday morning kicked of International Education Week with tabling in the university store. Experienced Global Education staff members were available to students to discuss study abroad options at Millersville and answer any questions. Any students who missed us at this event are encouraged to stop by the Global Education office in the Cumberland house for more information and to check out our website.

Tuesday

  • The International Harvest Festival celebrated cultural diversity by showcasing traditional foods from other countries at The Upper Deck. Global Education, Dining Services, and International Student volunteers worked together to create authentic recipes to be enjoyed by the MU community. A special thanks to all of those who helped make this event a sweet success! Check out the local news coverage for this event!

HarvestFest

  • A CAE workshop on Tuesday afternoon was geared towards faculty, staff, and administration interested in leading MU Guided Programs. Assistant Director Olivia Cordero discussed the new process along with tips and hints to make your program a success! For more information on MU Guided Programs, check out our article!

GoGuided

  • Selling your Global Skills was a panel discussion, led by  Dr. David Owen and Global Education Director Patriece Campbell, designed to help students market their abroad experiences as they begin to seek employment opportunities. Students were able to evaluate their resumes and promote the skills they developed on their travels.
  • Tea Time was a new monthly event introduced this semester, open to the MU community that fosters an open discussion between any individuals interested in international matters. This event was a great way to get to know a diverse group of people with similar interests, in a causal setting.

TeaTime

Wednesday 

  • The CHPED Presidential Delegation Luncheon welcomed presidents, vice presidents, provosts, & deans visiting MU from a partner program in China. For more information on our new partner, check out our article here!CHEPD
  • The Multicultural Showcase organized by CSIL and Global Education, was result of the combined efforts of various departments, clubs, and individuals on campus, chiefly. It featured performances and country booths that explored the food, history, and culture of Millersville University students. This event was a fun and an educational way to spend an evening.

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Thursday

  • On Thursday, Global Education hosted an open house in which students were encouraged to stop in the Cumberland House a get more information on studying or interning abroad. While this event is specifically geared towards walk-ins, any student interested in studying abroad in welcome at Global Education any time!

Friday

  • Photo Friday is a new event that encourages students to come in to get their passport photos taken. For $5, students receive 2 physical copies of their photos and an emailed image file. Photo Friday is a reoccurring event that takes place every Friday and is open to the Millersville Community.

We Are Global

The Global Education office has started a new promotional campaign to help showcase the variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences that the greater Millersville University community encompass. This campaign will showcase international stories and experiences from international and domestic students, faculty, and staff members of the university. The campaign titled, “We Are Global” will run for the next several years.

Keara

“We Are Global” specifically aims to spread awareness study abroad opportunities for the student body by sharing stories from past participants. Global Education hopes to show that you can participate in global initiatives no matter your age, gender, ethnicity, major, class standing, and more!

“We Are Global”  also aims to  share stories of adjustment and inclusion of the international student and faculty population on campus in order to help make new incoming students and international scholars feel more welcome on campus.

Ultimately, the campaign will be used to lift up the international initiatives of Millersville University in order to fosters global leadership and engagement.

Kristin

If you would like to read through We Are Global stories click here.

If you would like to read what is required of participants click here.

WHAT’S NEXT AFTER GRADUATION? – TOKYO, JAPAN

Below is a Q & A between Global Education and Millersville alumnus, Wesley DeMarco

Wesley studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University, in Hirakata, Japan in his senior year. He graduated with a degree in Computer Science.

What were your goals for studying abroad at the time?

I wanted to immerse myself in the language and culture and improve my language skills.

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What is one thing that happened during your study abroad experience that really impacted you?

I think the whole experience was life changing. There was one time that I got terribly lost trying to get to my host family’s place during the first month. (I have an awful sense of direction). I had taken the train from Hirakata station but had no idea how to get home from the station. I called my host family and they told me to get on the next bus. Unfortunately I got off the bus early because I wasn’t paying attention and heard the name of my stop (they were just listing the places they were going to stop) and couldn’t get my bearings so I asked a girl coming out of a Daiso (a local convenience/grocery store in Japan) and I asked her how to get to Kadoma Danchi. She said pointed saying “I think it’s that way, but it’s really far. I don’t think you can walk there.” She told me to come with her, her house was really close and she got her Dad. He said that yes it was pretty far to walk. He then offered to drive me. In my state of mind I was extremely relieved and grateful, in hindsight it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to get in a car with strangers in a foreign country but Japan is very safe and they were extremely nice people. In the car, I got the usual questions like “where are you from”, “what are you doing in Japan”, “What school do you go to”, and “Your Japanese is so good”. Before long I saw out the window a bus stop that I knew was right near my host family’s place and I knew how to get home from there. I told them I knew the way from the bus stop and thanked them profusely before getting out of the car and heading home. I really wish I could meet them again, but that was an experience that really showed me how wonderfully friendly and hospitable Japanese people can be when someone is in need.

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Can you share something you did during your first experience?

I did the usually site-seeing around Kyoto and hanging out with new friends. I also spent a lot of time with my best friend who I knew before coming. He lives in Kyoto so I would take the train to visit him and experience Kyoto not from the tourist perspective but that of someone who lives there. One of my favorite experiences there was in April. I had been wanting to go to the Sakura festival in Kyoto but was having trouble finding the right time. There’s a small window when the trees are in full bloom and you have to fit that with your schedule and with the friends you want to go with. It also rained making the window smaller and I only really had a week. I ended up going on a Friday night, at my very last chance before the flowers would pretty much be gone. I went with my best friend and another friend who had studied at Millersville about a year earlier. We went to the 夜桜 (Yozakura), night viewing of the cherry blossoms at Maruyama Park in Gion Shijo. It was beautiful, all the trees were illuminated from below, there were tents set up on the side of the walkway selling food and we walked around the enormous park, watched the trees, ate dinner, and talked. Then, we left to walk around Gion a bit and we walked into a beautiful cobblestone alley lit by ceremonial lanterns. It was identical to the picturesque image I had always had of ancient Japan. Suddenly there was a gust of wind and the air was filled with the cherry blossom petals that had been weekend by the rain. Words just cannot do it justice.

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What are you doing now?

I am working as a Software Developer in Tokyo, Japan. I’m building middleware and tools for videogame development.

How did your study abroad experience at Millersville lead you to where you are now?

I don’t think I would be nearly as confident with my language skills and also, even though it’s a different part of Japan I feel like I know my way around much better than I would have otherwise. I know the train systems and understand the culture and customs which really helps to not have to get used to the lifestyle while I’m trying to get used to a new job. I don’t think I’d have had the courage to move here if I hadn’t already lived here during my study abroad.

Now that you are back in Japan, is there something or someplace you would like to visit again?

Absolutely, it’s a little expensive of a trip but I will most definitely be visiting Osaka/Kyoto as soon as I get the chance and I may try to go to Kyoto every year for the Sakura festival.

How is being abroad different this second time around?

I don’t have the school to help me so there’s a bit more responsibility, but I have some wonderful friends here who have helped me through some of the more difficult procedures. Also, Japanese companies take extremely good care of their employees so I’ve had quite a bit of help there as well.

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How does this new area of Japan compare with where you lived while studying abroad?

I studied abroad in a region called 関西(Kansai) or Western Relation. I am currently living in a town called 下北沢 (Shimokitazawa) in Tokyo in the 関東 (Kanto) region. There are some significant cultural differences. For example the people are a bit warmer in Kansai. But in the end, it’s the same Japan, the people are still friendly, and the dialect is easier here. The broadcast dialect is spoken a lot around Tokyo.

What advice would you give to other thinking about doing experiences abroad after graduation?

First, go for it! It’s going to be scary. That’s unavoidable. But if you can, try to study abroad first while you’re still in school. Having a school to help you through your first time makes it a lot easier and helps alleviate a lot of the fear. Try to build a strong network and support group and make friends while you’re there too. Just having people in the country to cheer you on and be there for you if you need to talk etc., can be a huge help. Finally try to get as good as you can in the local language. Dealing with all the various procedures of such a big move can be confusing enough without having to deal with it in a language you’re not very good at.

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