GlobaLinks Learning Abroad asked me to complete a survey about my study abroad experience. Once of the questions was to tell your most memorable experience. This, in short, is one of mine:
My first day in Fukuoka all of the students met up with their host families for the first time and were sent home to spend the day with them. Another student, who spoke no Japanese, was going to be living with my host father’s brother, so she came home with us until her host father got out of work, When we got to my host father’s house I got to meet the rest of my family- three little girls and my host mother. One of the girls was really shy and wouldn’t talk or do much when we (the foreign students) were around. After dinner my host father and I dropped the other student off to her host family. When we got back home I went to my room to change and unpack. While unpacking I left my door open, and my youngest sister came in and sat on my bed. I began to talk with her and one of her other sisters came in, hopped on the bed, and joined us. After a few minutes the oldest, and most shy of the three came in, sat on the bed, and when I talked to her she opened up and we all had a fun time. They taught me games, had me pick them up and flip them onto the bed, and played hide-and-seek with me until it was their bedtime. It was just amazing to have people, especially this child who wouldn’t even speak in front of foreigners (at first), accept me into their home and family in such a way. I had a wonderful time with my host family and still talk to them regularly- including talking about when I will come back!