“During the spring semester of 2015, I studied abroad in a small city known as Beppu, located on the island of Kyushu in Japan. There I studied Japanese, adapted to and learned Japanese customs, and explored what Japan had to offer.
Beppu is a city located between the mountains and the sea, and currently has over 125,000 people residing there. Known primarily for its hot springs, Beppu is a tourist spot for those who wish to view them or relax in the naturally heated waters. During my stay there, I went to a hot spring around once a week, either by myself or with friends. If you are shy about being nude around other nude people, this may not be the thing for you. It is, however, a great way to unwind after a rough week.
Not only is Beppu famous for its hot springs, but it is widely known as a place for foreign students. On top of one of its mountains lies Asia Pacific University, where people from all over the world come to study. There I studied for 4 and half months, and if there is anything to note, it’s that the whole campus promotes the spreading of different cultures. Every other week, there will be a theme that lasts for that week (Thailand, Korea, etc.) and students will use that week to promote a certain country’s culture through food, games, and performances.
One activity that is popular to do in Japan is karaoke. There are a number of places to do karaoke in Beppu. My friends and I would often go on the weekends and sing for up to four hours. I especially enjoyed the complimentary ice cream and soda they offered. Before I went to Japan, I rarely did karaoke. However, after staying in Japan, karaoke was the go to thing for fun. The experience of Japanese karaoke is definitely one I recommend anyone going to Japan to do at least once.
For me, the most memorable experience I had in Beppu was all of people I met and all the friends I made. The Japanese, no matter where I went, were always kind and treated me like family. Before I went to Beppu, I met a group of Japanese exchange students in my hometown, who are pictured above. They are the reason I wanted to go to Japan. Everything about them was interesting to me. I felt a strong connection with them, and wanted to learn everything about Japan and their culture. This exchange was the experience of a lifetime for me, and I would not change a thing about it.
To those college students who are reading this, I can’t express how amazing studying abroad is. If you have the chance to do it, go for it! Pick a country that you find interesting, and go see what it has to offer. You may end up finding more than you ever expected.”
Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Andy!