Initial Reactions

April 20, 2023


Daniel Lara

Senior Salomon Bibas rides the metro, a popular form of commuting in Tokyo. The tour group spent many evenings traveling by metro to get to their locations.

Distinct architecture, new cultural experiences, and different languages all welcomed reactions from the 35 students who embarked on the journey to Japan and South Korea during Spring Break.

For many students this was their first time traveling to Asia, and for others it was the first time traveling out of the country. Never having left the United States prior, junior Sebastian Caraballo was pleasantly surprised. Caraballo was specifically amazed by the unique architecture of the Senso-ji Temple. 

“Going to the temple was an amazing experience. I had seen pictures of it, but seeing it in person was something which I could not have prepared myself for,” Caraballo said. 

After being captivated by the Senso-ji Temple, students continued to immerse themselves in Japanese culture by participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The ceremony provided students, like junior Isabella Berto, with an opportunity to not only enjoy matcha but also learn about a new cultural tradition.  

“The Japanese tea ceremony was one of the most meaningful experiences during my time in Japan,” Berto said. “I enjoyed drinking the matcha, listening to the host, and learning about a tradition which is not my own.”

Communicating with locals was yet another opportunity students took advantage of, especially those in the Japanese program. As they put their language skills to the test, students were able to gain a better and greater understanding of Japanese culture and traditions, all while navigating new areas. 

“Speaking Japanese allowed me to soak in the culture even more and have conversations with locals, something I valued tremendously. From being interviewed on Japanese TV to laughing at Japanese jokes with waiters, speaking the language opened up a new world in Japan, and made my experience in Tokyo unforgettable” Gandelman said. 

The once in a lifetime opportunity provided an unforgettable experience to students who embarked on the journey, and served as a great reminder of how traveling to new places can broaden one’s horizons.

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