From Chile to Japan: Crossing the Pacific Ocean to the Other Side of the World

Hello! My name is Marcela and I’m from Chile. At the moment, I’m a research student at Waseda University in the Business Administration Department.

My first experience with Japan was at a young age when my mom’s Japanese friends visited our place. They were really nice people, so I always thought kindly of them. They often came to my house with little presents and a willingness to share their culture through activities like tea ceremonies. Because of this, my interest in Japanese culture started to grow with time.

Later, in my teenage years I had the opportunity to get to know some Japanese rock and metal bands through my friends. Bands like X Japan opened a door to my understanding of Japanese culture through daily, commonplace experiences.

During my high school years, I developed an interest in participating in an exchange program abroad. When I told my parents about it, they told me they would only allow it if I went to Japan to study, since they had a great appreciation for the country and its safety. Thanks to that, I was able to come to Japan for one year to learn the language and the culture first-hand. Going to a Japanese high school and spending time with Japanese friends allowed me to develop a new vision and a greater love for the country.

After this experience I had the opportunity to come to Japan for one month, to enjoy tourism and to meet my Japanese friends and host families. But this wasn’t enough.

After enrolling in a Chilean university, my desire to come back to Japan still grew, so I decided to transfer to Doshisha University in Kyoto to finish my studies in commerce. Even though my career was in English, my experience with new friends and my part-time job in a Japanese restaurant offered new opportunities to improve my Japanese language skills.

Now I’m back in this wonderful country thanks to a Japanese government scholarship and I hope to continue living here.

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