Hello fellow members of World Campus – Japan!
My name is Megan Benson. I was born in Twin Falls, Idaho in the United States and have lived in the area ever since. Growing up, I was always shy and afraid of new things. As I grew older, I realized I needed to try to venture out of my comfort zone, and when I heard of World Campus – Japan I jumped on the opportunity to join in. Japan is one of the most beautiful places in the world—definitely the most beautiful I have ever seen! I am excited to return this year and hope to help everyone have the best experience possible!
When I arrived in Japan for Session 1 last summer, I spoke only a few words of Japanese. Although you might expect one to have a hard time understanding their surroundings when they don’t speak the language, it is extremely easy to immerse yourself into the culture. Japan is filled with the some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met, and learning some of the language was quick and easy with the help of my host families and fellow participants.
This program helped me learn to break down cultural barriers to not only get to know the people around me, but to also discover and understand who I am as a person. World Campus – Japan can help you branch out to people from countries all around the world. Although you may get home sick, you aren’t far from lifelong friends and an experience that could change your life. The World Campus – Japan family is one that you never forget!
My name is Simon Presley, I’m 24 years old, from Roskilde in Denmark. My mother is Danish, and my father is American- hence the somewhat unusual surname (and yes, I get singing requests all the time- even though I’m terrible at it!). I have a bachelor degree in Global Studies and Communication from Roskilde University. In addition to that, I have also been studying Japanese at a Copenhagen language school for a few years. My interest in Japan started the same way it probably has for many others: video games and manga!
The photo is me wearing the World Campus – Japan (WCJ) wristband we got at the end of my session. My first experience with WCJ and Japan itself was 2 years ago, when I joined the WCJ program for 2 weeks, with fellow counselor Espen being one of my fellow participants. As someone for whom travelling with WCJ was also my first time in Japan ever, I can tell you that WCJ provides an excellent introduction to the country and its incredibly kind people. You’ll get to experience Japan in a way that very few foreign visitors do. After I travelled with WCJ, I also travelled on my own for a couple of weeks, and while I had a great time, it did still nonetheless allow me to truly appreciate how unique the WCJ experience is.
Whether you’re someone who’s fluent in Japanese- or barely speak any, like me 2 years ago- one thing that’ll probably surprise you is how quickly you’ll begin to form a bond with your host families. You’d be amazed at just how much you can share with a person even if you don’t speak the same language (tip: pictures from home are your friend!). You’ll also be forming a bond with your fellow WCJ participants as well of course. By the time it’s all over, you’ll have made a lot of new friends!
The counselors were a big part of what made my WCJ experience such a great one, so I very much hope that I can play that kind of role in your experience as well. I will certainly be doing my best to make it so! You have a question or a problem you need help with? Come to me- and I’ll help you just like I was helped myself.
I’m looking forward to meeting you all in Japan!
I’m Espen, a 23 year old Norwegian guy. Right now I’m finishing up my Master’s degree in mathematics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. I’ve nurtured an interest in Japan and Japanese language for the past 6-7 years. I am especially fond of Japanese stand-up comedy and Japanese religion.
Having been to Japan several times in the past, both for academic purposes, as a tourist and with World Campus – Japan program (WCJ) I can say that WCJ offers by far the most rewarding experience of Japan. By staying with host families you get the opportunity to absorb the real culture of everyday people, an experience usually hidden from ordinary tourists.
I joined WCJ for as a participant two years ago, and worked as a counselor last year. As much as I like Japanese language and culture, by far the most rewarding aspect of WCJ is coming into contact with the locals, and being able to meet people from all over the world.
WCJ is definitely one of the best places to broaden your horizons, and by interacting with different cultures and sharing your own, you will surely discover new things about yourself. Japan has tons of stuff in store for you if you are willing to seek it out. My advice to you is to take every opportunity you get, and take the initiative to create these opportunities!
Finally, a bit of realism. When you are thrown into a completely foreign culture and compound the cultural confusion with language problems, there is a real chance of experiencing some form of culture shock. You might get homesick, irritable, depressed or tired, and this is a natural reaction. We have all been there. We counselors will be there to get you back on your feet so you can enjoy everything Japan and World Campus – Japan has to offer!
I am honored to be one of the counselors for this year’s WCJ program, and I look forward to meeting you all! Let’s get along!
See you in Japan!
Espen Auseth Nielsen
My name is Maki Honda from Japan and I am the Operations Manager of World Campus International.
I met the World Campus – Japan program when I was a university student in my hometown, Kumamoto, and I never expected it would change my whole life! Started as one of the host families, worked as a staff of the Local Organizing Committee, then after a couple of times of traveling as one of the program counselors, I decided to get involved in World Campus International in a long term.
And also I currently work at a university in Kumamoto city as an advisor of English study. I’m so happy that I’ve got this wonderful opportunity to share my experiences which I’ve gained in such a unique environment.
I always enjoy meeting new people and learning new cultures by traveling and working with the international group of people. Even though I was born and raised in Japan, traveling with the World Campus – Japan program allowed me to rediscover so many things about my own country and it has given me great opportunities to learn about the world. I am so proud to have those valuable experiences which not many people could experience.
This summer, I’ll be traveling with you and working for all the logistics and the translation/interpretation needs. I can’t wait to meet you all and have amazing adventures together!
Japan is ready to welcome you!! See you soon!
Maki Honda (Japan)