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