A couple days has passed since we returned stateside from our study abroad course in Japan and South Korea. Although I am still jet lagged, I’ve already jumped back into the norms of life at home. As I prepare to head back to Charlottesville, for my last semester at UVA, my excitement grows to see my peers from J-Term again.
I have shared so much from my study abroad experience with family and friends, as well as those who supported me to pursue such an amazing opportunity. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned through company visits and cultural exploration to my education and future endeavors outside of school. And of course, I will always cherish the wonderful memories I made with great classmates and program leaders.
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Our course has finally come to an end. As we enjoyed our last meal together we shared our experiences and memories from Japan and South Korea that will last for a lifetime.
The first full day in Seoul was the busiest of our trip. The morning was centered around the broadcasting industry in Korea. We met with the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the largest broadcasting network in Korea, and with JTBC. Mr. Chang Jo Kim even lead a great tour for us throughout JTBC’s network and news studios. After lunch we were able to explore the Samsung D’Light Center and received a wonderful presentation from Mr. Jae-Ho Lee on the influence of technology in Korean culture. The last company visit of the day took place back at our hotel. We met with Mr. Radu Cernia, General Manager of the Seoul Ritz-Carlton. Mr. Cernia shared his experiences in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Our time in Kyoto was quite relaxing given how busy our schedule was. With so much Japanese culture rooted in Kyoto we were able to see a more traditional side to the dynamic country. Friday was our first full day in Kyoto. During the morning were able to visit the tranquil Kiyomize Temple and received a wonderful tea ceremony demonstration. In the afternoon we continued our cultural exploration by visiting the Heian Jingu Shrine, the astounding Sanjusangendo Hall, and traveled through the Fushimi Inari Shrine walkways. We ended the day in Gion, the world-wide known Geisha district. We were even able to witness a preview into the Geisha performances with a group showing at the Yasaka Hall.
Our time in Tokyo has wrapped up. Following our first day we gathered early to meet with Jim Small, Vice President of the MLB’s Asia Pacific division. Mr. Small taught us valuable lessons from his experiences while working with Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cultures – especially in an industry so familiar to many Comm students. We then traveled through the Japanese countryside to visit Mt. Fuji. Here we were able to enjoy beautiful landscape views from the Kachi Kachi Yama Ropeway onlooking Mt. Fuji. Fortunately, Japan has been very warm for the winter season, which provided us with the opportunity to travel up to the 5th point mountain station on Mt. Fuji itself.
Yesterday we arrived in Tokyo, checking into the Hotel Gracery in Shinjuku. Many of us flew ten plus hours from the states, while others traveled to Japan a few days early to enjoy the New Years abroad. Although jet lagged, many of us took the opportunity to explore the local area. Myself and several others ventured into the Shibuya shopping area: mostly to find clothes to hold us over until our delayed luggage arrived.
In just under a week, twenty-two of us will accompany Dean Wilcox Elliott and Professor Foutz on a much anticipated journey throughout Japan and South Korea. As the New Year rolls in, we will arrive in Tokyo and kick-off our immersive experience with a stay at the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, notable for its hovering Godzilla structure.