I was with World Campus International during the summer of 2010, and I was never the same after that. I feel that it changed me in ways I never thought it would. And for the better.
When I first applied to the program, I did it because I wanted to know Japan not from the point of view of a tourist, but from the local communities. Once I read about WCI, I realized that it was exactly what I was looking for. Staying with host families, helping the local communities, getting to know the culture from the inside – it sounded perfect. But nothing could prepare me for the emotional rollercoaster that I was about to enter.
When I arrived at Tama (Tokyo), one of the members of the staff told me: “Welcome to an hell of a ride!”. I remember to think that he was just trying to be funny and dynamic. By the end of the program, I realized that he was not joking.
My experience with the host-families was simply amazing. I connected so much to them that, even 2 years after my experience with WCI, I keep in touch with them on a weekly basis. I really feel like they are my family. Also, the WCI group and all the experiences we went through together created really strong bonds. I already visited some of my friends that I met there, and I received them at my house, in Portugal, too! And not only the WCI friends, but also japanese friends that I met during our activities.
I remember that, on the last day in Japan, we were asked to comment on the highlights of the trip. I was crying so much that it was really hard to do it. I was crying because I made bonds in such a small amount of time, that I never thought I would. I stepped so many times out of my comfort zone during the trip that I felt so much stronger and confident, that even made me confuse. It was intense. Really intense. And wonderful.
And I will come back, for sure. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do so in 2013. I hope you can join me too!
Ana Margarida Cardoso (Portugal)