Studying Abroad in Japan: The Best Decision I Have Ever Made

Dominique attending an event in Japan.

Meet Dominique DiGiacomo, a Rowan Global student pursuing her master’s in education. She graduated from Rowan with her bachelor’s in English last spring. Dominique had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Japan during her fall semester of junior year.

I lived in the city of Machida, a suburban area located just 45 minutes outside of center city Tokyo. My typical days abroad consisted of a delicious breakfast (either homemade or from a convenience store), classes anywhere from 9am-5pm (three completely taught in Japanese and two in English), a workout at the on-campus gym, study sessions with my friends, and a night out in the city with my friends! My time abroad helped me to realize that I was indeed in the right major.

Dominique and two friends overseas in Japan.

As an international student at JF Oberlin University I had the opportunity to apply for a job at their Brown Bag Cafe, an area in which Japanese students could go in order to learn and practice English. It was there that I confirmed my love for teaching English as a second language, loving every moment as I had the opportunity to talk to my Japanese classmates and help them break down the language barrier. This opportunity confirmed for me that I was on the right path and that my future dream of teaching English in Japan could become a reality. 

Rowan has set me up for my professional goal of teaching English abroad by giving me the experience of student teaching and education classes that have helped me to study to become a better teacher. My experience abroad has helped me to work toward my goal of teaching abroad, especially since I received the opportunity while I was there to teach English to non-native speakers. I am hoping that my combination of skills I have learned from Rowan as well as abroad will help me in my endeavors to get a job teaching English abroad in Japan. 

Dominique and her friends in front of a futuristic statue in Japan.

My time in Japan is one that I will cherish in my memories for years to come. Studying abroad in Japan was such an amazing experience and despite my slight nerves of living all on my own in a country half way across the world, I absolutely loved every moment I was there and am already counting down the days until I can hopefully return. The transition I had from going to college in Japan instead of America was honestly seamless, the only difficulty being adjusting to the time difference which was something my body eventually just got used to.

Besides my three years of study beforehand of the Japanese language and my experience traveling there once before, I still had some nerves when it came to studying abroad on my own so the on-site staff were super helpful during my transition. There was staff at the airport to pick us up and bring us to our housing, staff constantly on duty throughout the building to help us with anything we needed, and staff throughout campus helping to direct us when we were lost or confused.

Studying abroad in Japan was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it opened up so many doors for me both academically and professionally. I encourage anyone who is interested in studying abroad to take the leap and go for it! It will be an amazing experience that you will never forget! 

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Photos courtesy of:
Dominique DiGiacomo

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