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Student Spotlight

Linny Tran
Japan Summer 2014
Studio Art and PSB major
camlinht@uci.edu

"College did make me more independent, but studying abroad imposed a great freedom on me that allowed me to be more independent than ever!"

"Our classes were small, so we had a lot of opportunities to really get to know our fellow classmates and teachers. We learned by doing fun activities in which we got to directly apply and practice what we just learned."

"I made more Japanese friends than I could ever keep count of. I met students from all over the U.S. and the world who were also interested in Japan."

Why did you choose your particular study abroad program/location?
I was always in love with Japan and its culture. I grew up with its popular cultural entertainment, such as anime and manga, but I wanted a more direct experience with the country and its culture instead of just learning and seeing through books, TV, and word of mouth.  
 
What types of activities were you involved in while abroad that were meaningful for your learning?
Our classes were small, so we had a lot of opportunities to really get to know our fellow classmates and teachers. We learned by doing fun activities in which we got to directly apply and practice what we just learned. Additionally, we got to participate in a field trip that connected us to the country, its land, its history, its culture, and its people. Meeting native Japanese students helped us adapt and immerse in the culture more quickly and happily.
 
How have you changed or what have you learned due to studying abroad?
Studying abroad definitely made me a lot more independent. College did make me more independent, but studying abroad imposed a great freedom on me that allowed me to be more independent than ever. I had never traveled to a foreign country by myself before, I had never paid for my own plane tickets before, I had never lived more than 100 miles away from my parents for more than a month before. It all sounded so scary at first - being in a completely new/foreign country, away from family and friends, not knowing anyone or the language. But as soon as I landed, I realized that this experience was what I needed in order to grow. Studying abroad also allowed me to learn more about myself, in all aspects - what I like, what I dislike, do I fit in with this new culture easily, etc.  
 
What are you doing now as a result of studying abroad?
After studying abroad in Japan, my social networks increased drastically, not just within the U.S., but from all around the world. I made more Japanese friends than I could ever keep count; I met students from all over the U.S. and the world who are also interested in Japan. I get excited whenever I hear someone speaking in Japanese, just so I can join them and practice what I learned from my experience. Studying abroad also inspired me to look into careers abroad, and essentially encouraged me to return to Japan again.  
 
What advice would you give to a student considering studying abroad?
The first steps are always the hardest, but the rewards you receive from studying abroad will make you feel glad that you made those first steps. It was always a dream for me at first - studying abroad in Japan. But then one day, I just decided, why not make my dream into a reality? It may be hard; I may encounter challenges, but it's not impossible. There are people and resources out there to help you, so all you need to do is to make your dream/wish into a goal, a plan, and then a reality. 

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