Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Choosing Kansai Gaidai

Nearly every college you apply to (at least in the USA, for sure) advertises the awesomeness of its "Study Abroad" opportunities. Which is really lovely, but gets kind of boring after the fourth or fifth college tour.


As soon as I learned of this "study abroad" business, I knew this was something I wanted to do. My original plan (made junior year of high school) was to do a semester in Hong Kong, then a semester in Japan, totaling up to one year away from the US of A. This would be my junior year--freshman and sophomore seemed too soon, senior year...I wanted to graduate at school, yep. Well, plans change, and by the time sophomore year started, I'd decided to only go for fall semester. Now the question came down to where to go: Japan or some-Chinese-speaking-place? After some deep, exceptionally nerve-wracking consideration, I picked Japan.

At first I intended to apply only to a quarter-long program at International Christian University (ICU), a university near Tokyo, through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). However, one day in November, a poster on the bulletin board outside the Japanese tutorial room caught my eye--"Kansai Gaidai Asian Studies Program." Asian Studies Program. What's my major? Asian Studies. What part of Japan did I want to go to? Kansai (to be explained elsewhere). How perfect did this look? VERY.

After a minute or so of staring (it was a very pretty poster), I copied down the website url, and went downstairs to the computer lab to check it out.

Upon reading the first few info pages and taking a glance at the course offerings, it seemed so, so cool.

And after further research, so, so expensive.


For a while, I decided this wasn't really worth pursuing. ICU was a fine school, and the UC program there was a fine option, and the safety net of UCEAP would feel a lot more secure. But Asian Studies..and Kansai..it just seemed way too perfect.  Additionally, there were a ton of awesome blogs describing students having awesome-times at KG.

In the end, I just decided to go for both schools, with KG as my first choice.  Why not?  This was going to be my only study abroad, I might as well try for everything I can.  And something's worth more when you have to work more for it, right?  Hopefully...

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