Friday, May 25, 2012

The Japan Application

My study abroad application process is almost complete!

Way back in September I completed the first step toward studying abroad. Passport, you really can't leave the country without it. Note for those of you about to apply for it for the first time, keep in mind that your birth certificate will be mailed along with your application to be verified that you are who you say you are.  I panicked until it was explained to me. So anyways, I applied back in September and around November my shiny new passport arrived in the mail. It looked a little something like this

Passport in hand, I had to wait until the application opened up in April of this year to begin the application. The application for any study abroad program can open up anywhere between 6 months to a year before you would actually leave, so if you're considering study abroad look early! Back on topic again, so once the application opened up I had a lot of "Do you agree to this" and "Do you agree to that" type of forms to read and sign. Then transcripts from each college had to be submitted before I moved onto the hard part.

What was the hard part? Recommendations and the essays. For the recommendations I asked two very wonderful professors of mine, Reiko Hashimoto and Alisa Freedman to complete the two required recommendations. Recommendations always make me nervous because I don't get to read them, but I've since I've had both professors several times and I've taken a little time out to try and get to know them and meet with them outside of class I wasn't as nervous. It really does help to get to know your professors before asking for recommendations since they end up looking better for any type of application.

As for the essays, there were two shot answer (but no minimum requirement which made me nervous) essay questions. And though they seemed easy, they actually took a couple of days each to write. I always find it very difficult to answer questions about myself, especially when anything is riding on them. My questions were:
  1. Background and Preparation
    Please write a brief statement that highlights the aspects of your personal, family and academic history that have influenced your decision to study abroad at this time, and how they have prepared you for the upcoming experience.
  2. Goals and Outcomes
    What do you hope to gain from this overseas experience, and what steps will you take to ensure that you get the most out of your time abroad? How will this upcoming experience assist you in achieving your short- and long-term academic and personal goals?
I won't tell you what my answers were now (hey, we've got 8 months until I go to Japan, I need something to write until then), but they were probably two of the toughest things I've ever had to write. 

The last step to the application is the interview. Dun-dun-duuuh! I can't tell you much about this step so far, but my interview for acceptance into the program is on May 30th! I have a list of questions and topics I was told to prepare for, but I'm fairly certain it won't be so easy as answer the question we already asked you. 

So yeah, that's it for today. I'll update you on the interview step next week and get around to giving you some more of the basic info! 

Bonus pictures for you! Here's a Sailor Jupiter cosplay I made for Kumoricon a couple of years back, at the time I knew I wanted to go to Japan, but hadn't decided to major in Japanese or study abroad!


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