Study Abroad Showcase – Victoria Mancuso, Japan, Summer 2013

My name is Victoria Mancuso and I am a Sophomore at Georgetown University, majoring in Chinese and Japanese. I spent Summer 2013 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. I started learning Japanese in the fall of my Freshman year. At the time, I did not know much about Japan, but over the past year, I have learned and experienced so much of its language and culture that Japan and I have established a very special bond.

Kenrokuen in Kanazawa 

I spent my time in Japan studying, but more importantly, exploring. The beautiful thing about living in a new place is that even the most seemingly insignificant things are completely enthralling. This summer I discovered the wonders that are Japanese bakeries, the convenience of the bento box, and the elegance of the most sophisticated toilets I have ever encountered. One of my most memorable experiences was going to Kagaya, the best hot spring hotel in Japan. Though we were only there for one night, the opportunity to wear a real kimono, waddle around in traditional Japanese slippers, and then slide into a steaming hot spring is something you only experience once.

The best part of the trip was living with my host family. The complete immersion into the Japanese way of life I experienced through them provided me with invaluable experiences. My closeness with my host family made Japan feel like home, rather than a mere travel destination.

Experiences like these have the tendency to wriggle their way into your life forever. They are the reason why I learn languages. There is no other experience as thrilling, refreshing and enduring as stepping out of your shoes and walking (or tumbling) into a completely different life. While it can be disorienting, it leaves you with changed beliefs, and a better understanding of yourself and the world.

Swashbuckling adventure awaits?