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Exchange Ambassador - Katie C.

Profile for Katie on exchange in Japan - plain text to follow

Katie Cheshire

 

Exchange destination: ICU (Tokyo, Japan)

Duration: 2 semesters

Program: International Relations

High school: T.A Blakelock high school in Oakville

One word to describe your exchange?
Enriching

What is the best thing that happened on exchange?
I’ve wanted to go to Japan for probably a decade, so being able to live there for a year was mind blowingly amazing! You can’t condense an experience like exchange into “the best thing” because you want to say “all of it,” the friends, the places, and the cultural differences you fell in love with - all of it was life changing.

What is the worst thing that happened on exchange?
It’s hard to be away from home when friends and family are having health issues. However, I stayed in the loop, and talked to them when possible, which meant that I was doing the same things as if I was at home.

Where was the coolest place you traveled to during your exchange?
I went to the Demilitarized Zone between North-South Korea which was cool, especially because I’m an International Relations major. Also, I was in Bali during the Hindu New Year! The streets were flooded with people singing and dancing, and giant demon statues are chased out of the city during the parade!

Who was the hardest person to leave when you went on exchange?
It was just as easy for me to reach family through Skype, while in Japan, as it is from Windsor - but you can’t talk to your pets. However, in Japan there are cat/pug/owl cafes everywhere if you need some animal love.

If you were to recommend exchange to your best friend, what would you say?
Do it! Exchange is the most amazing, incredible, eye-opening opportunity, and the very least you can do is consider it. There’s no harm in asking questions, and seeing if it’s right for you. Going in to talk to the exchange office is incredibly helpful, and definitely makes you feel more comfortable with the entire application process.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Exchange really is for everyone. If you’re not quite ready to live in an entirely different culture, that’s ok! There are so many options for exchange that I can’t imagine someone not being able to find a good match - both university and country. If culture shock doesn’t concerned you, then take the plunge! Choose a country that you’re interested in and the slightest bit hesitant about. Choosing somewhere that makes you just a little nervous will expand your comfort zone and make your exchange that much more exciting.

 

A sample of the classes taken and credits received:

  • International Relations of Asia Pacific = 45-346

  • Peace Studies 45-360

  • History of contemporary Japan = 43-397

  • Language Politics and Media = 45-248

  • Japanese language program = 3 classes

  • Plus others