Sarah Crawley is a member of UHP majoring in both Japanese and International Studies. In 2016-2017, she spent a year studying abroad in Kyoto, Japan at Doshisha University. Ever since she was a child, she has been fascinated with traditional Japanese culture. She felt that Kyoto was the best place to take part in that culture because of the many traditional Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and villages. In addition to those things, Sarah has also been able to experience Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement), meet Geisha, meditate in a temple, attend various festivals, and learn the Japanese tea ceremony.
Although she says the most difficult thing is being away from family, she has made many friends at Doshisha University and looks forward to meeting new Japanese exchange students at UNC Charlotte in the coming year. Sarah says, “If your goal is to master a language, definitely go for the year abroad if you can. Immersion is the best way to learn a language. The progress I made while here is incredible. It’s really difficult at first, but it will definitely be beneficial in the long run. You might even come back speaking an interesting dialect.”
Sarah’s favorite experience while being in Kyoto was traveling to Hiroshima and visiting the Peace Memorial Museum and Park, which honors the victims of the atomic bombing at the end of World War II. While budgeting money overall during time abroad can be difficult for students, Sarah still managed to take a few other special trips to different cities in Japan during her time there, including Tokyo, Kobe, and Osaka.