By Nia, exchange student from South Africa to Japan
I am Nia, a 16 year old girl from Durban, South Africa. In January 2019 I was fortunate enough to go on a short-term student exchange program to Japan through Youth For Understanding (YFU).
For those 3 weeks, I stayed in Kyoto with the most hospitable host family. I also attended an amazing high school in Osaka. In this school, I had the most fun experience. Classes were never boring and club activities gave me a unique, entertaining experience.
Everyone that I met always took the opportunity to help me adjust to school life and teach me the language. I also made many friends in class and around the school. I eventually found myself extremely excited to go to school every morning – something that was quite new to me.
I experienced things in Japan that I would never be able to at home; I went to karaoke, visited Universal Studios Japan and ate lots of delicious Japanese food! I gained many new experiences like travelling to school on my own every morning. (I took a bus and 2 trains twice every day – it was quite an adventure!).
During the exchange, I tried to keep an open mind and embrace the culture as much as possible. Because of this, I enjoyed every single bit of it!
This exchange program has opened my eyes to the diversity that can be found around the world. After making new friends, learning a new language and experiencing a new culture, this unique learning experience will remain one of my fondest memories.
I will forever be extremely grateful to YFU who ensured that I had the most enjoyable exchange ever!