Is it better to avoid making Japanese friends when you study abroad?

Case Study: Hiromi's Study Abroad Experience in London

Hiromi, a 20-year-old Japanese university student, eagerly embarked on her study abroad journey in London. As she settled into her new life, she found herself grappling with a dilemma: whether or not to make Japanese friends during her time in the UK.

In her first week at the University of London, Hiromi attended orientation sessions where she met fellow international students from all over the world. They shared stories of their home countries, cultural traditions, and aspirations. Hiromi felt captivated by the diversity and the chance to learn from people with different backgrounds.

On the other hand, she couldn't deny the longing for the familiar. She missed speaking Japanese, the ease of understanding cultural references, and the comfort of being with people who shared a similar upbringing. However, Hiromi reminded herself that one of her main goals for studying abroad was to improve her English language skills and immerse herself in a new culture.

As Hiromi settled into her courses, she noticed some distinct differences between UK and Japanese universities. In Japan, the education system placed great emphasis on respect for authority and strict adherence to rules. The professors were seen as revered figures, and there was limited interaction between students and faculty.

However, at the University of London, Hiromi was pleasantly surprised to find a more relaxed and open atmosphere. Professors encouraged active participation, discussion, and critical thinking. Hiromi appreciated the freedom to express her opinions and engage in debates, which was a refreshing departure from the more structured Japanese education system.

As the weeks passed, Hiromi made a conscious decision to strike a balance in her social interactions. She joined various clubs and societies, where she met students from all walks of life. Through these interactions, she learned about British culture, traditions, and local slang.

At the same time, Hiromi sought out Japanese students on campus and attended events organized by the Japanese society. Connecting with her fellow compatriots brought her a sense of comfort and understanding. They shared stories of missing home, the struggles of adapting to a new environment, and the joys of discovering new experiences together.

With time, Hiromi realized that she didn't have to choose between making Japanese friends or immersing herself in the British culture. Instead, she could embrace both aspects of her study abroad experience. By nurturing a diverse network of friends from various backgrounds, Hiromi expanded her worldview, improved her English skills, and deepened her understanding of different cultures.

As she reflected on her journey, Hiromi realized that the decision to make Japanese friends or not wasn't a binary choice. It was about finding the right balance that allowed her to grow both personally and academically. And in the end, she discovered that the friendships she formed, regardless of nationality, would be cherished memories that would last a lifetime.