Sam McLawhorn

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Sociology
Program: International Christian University
Location: Mitaka City, Japan
Term: Fall 2018, Spring 2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
Wanted to work on my Japanese language skills and my brother previously studied abroad at the same school. My mother is Japanese and I knew she would like it if I studied there and she would also be able to visit me. Wanted to live in a huge city like Tokyo.


What did you learn about yourself?
Learned how to better handle adversity and adapt to change. Learned that I want to travel more than I have been. I learned that I would like to live in Japan for at least a few years.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
Travelling around Tokyo and meeting people from different backgrounds and walks of life. Hanging out with friends from school and the place I lived. Enjoying the food. Travelling to the many temples and cultural places that you can only see in Japan. Experiencing some of the rituals and other stuff that Japanese people do.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Try to budget your money so that you have enough money to travel and explore. Take advantage of school events to meet other study abroad students. Work hard to improve your language skills if using a foreign language. Everyone struggles some in study abroad, so don't be afraid to meet new people and ask for help. Communication goes a long way.


Would you do it again?


How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?
Don't entirely know yet, but am definitely looking for a career involving something internationally. Also, meeting people from different backgrounds and countries will help me better empathize and deal with people in the future.


How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
There was more diversity within the students and the classes dealt with culture and history in Japan, which wouldn't be taught much here. The classes also had a more global perspective for subject matter. There are also many major classes over there where the subject matter wasn't really taught at UNC.


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