Japan: Kia Vang

Photo of Kia Vang
Kia visiting Yokohama’s Chinatown.

Program: Waseda University Exchange, Spring

Kia’s Major: English

Academic Life: I found the academics very similar to UW- Madison. There are large classes and small discussions. I took classes taught in English in which my professors were Japanese- English speaking and German-English speaking. In my Japanese language classes, there were only about 15 students, and we all got along very well as we were all exchange students. Our professors really cared about our well-being.

Most Memorable Moments: The food is the best! There are little ramen shops hidden around every corner. There could be restaurants above hair salons or food stands on upper floors of company buildings. There is literally food everywhere and you should try it all. My favorite place was a takoyaki stall in front of an electronics department store.

Advice for Someone Considering Studying Abroad: GO TO JAPAN! It will change your life. There is really no other place like it. You can’t go anywhere else more unfamiliar yet comfortable. They have a high standard of living, and Japanese lifestyle is similar to a big city in the U.S.

Benefits of Studying Abroad: After the first month, I became so immersed. I used the language I learned in class to navigate wherever I wanted to go. At first everything seemed confusing, but then I suddenly knew which train lines to get on, which stops led where, and what shortcuts I could take.

New Perspectives: I learned a lot about myself and my own habits, as well as what type of person I really am. I learned that I need to be true to my nature, and just be who I am. I make my own decisions and only I can judge my decisions.

“ You just really feel comfortable, like you’ve lived in Tokyo your whole life.”