From NZ(Runa)


What does studying abroad mean to you? I suppose most people think it is for acquiring language skills, learning other countries’ cultures, or making new friends. In fact, I had thought in that way about studying abroad before I came here. However, throughout my nine-month-stay here, my assumptions about study abroad life totally changed. It is a wonderful opportunity to notice what could be difficult to learn if you keep having a normal life in your own country. Today, I’d like to share the difficulty that I experienced here and the values that I gained.
To begin with, I’ll talk about the biggest difficulty that I faced. Frankly speaking, it was communicating and making friends. To be honest, I thought it would be easy to make friends on the first day, but life was not as easy as I supposed. For a couple of months, I couldn’t have the good school life that I had expected. At that time, I didn’t have much confidence in my English. I didn’t dare to say something to people and I was frightened of making mistakes such as grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. This anxiety led me to avoid communication, making me shy, and keeping me distant from other people. However, an encounter with some friends made me change myself. I met with them for the first time early in term 2. I still had some fear about talking to them, but I tried to talk with them with a bit of courage. I asked them, “Is it okay to hang out with you guys in the morning tea and lunchtime?” and then they said, “Sure!” When I heard this, I felt like I was released from some pressure that I couldn’t see. Since that day, my school life has changed dramatically and now I look forward to spending time with them every day.
Next, I’ll talk about two values that I gained here. One is that knowing myself well relates to having a better life. As you know, I struggled to make friends for the first few months. However, at the same time, I could learn about myself. Throughout this difficulty, I realized how shy and weak I was. I once again understood that I was super shy even though I had already known that I was shy since I was in Japan. However, I’ve overcome the difficulty. I’ve come to be more sociable and be able to show my true self not only to my friends but to my family as well. The other value is that studying abroad is a chance to know how much I am supported by the people around me. Sadly, when I was in Japan, I didn’t think about this because I had thought that it was normal. However, I missed my family and friends in Japan for the first few weeks, and at the same time, I noticed how much I was supported and cheered by people around me such as my family, friends, and teachers. I appreciate their support so much. Before I left Japan, my family and friends gave me letters and said to me, “Read them when you feel negative or have some difficulties”. When I was losing myself, these letters made me positive and gave me confidence and courage. I’ve noticed that people around me are a really important presence in my life throughout this experience.
What can be gained through studying abroad is different for each person. Of course, through my experience of studying abroad, not only could I improve my English, but also I could gain really important mindsets and values for my life. It’s not too much to say that studying abroad has been a huge experience for me and is a turning point in my life. I hope that I can make use of what I’ve gained here in my future life.
Thank you for reading my essay and I hope this essay will help people who have an interest in studying overseas:)))

みなさんにとって留学とはなんですか。言語を学ぶ機会、他国の文化を知る機会、または海外の友達を 作る機会と答える方が多いかと思います。実際、私も NZ に来る前はそのよう考えていました。しかし、NZ で9ヶ月以上生活してみて、自分の価値観が 180°変わり、留学は私が思ってもいなかったことに気づけ た素晴らしい機会だと思うようになりました。今日は私が体験した困難と私が得た価値観、考えをシェア できたらいいなと思います。
まず初めに私がはじめに直面した一番大きな困難について話します。単刀直入に言うと、コミュニケー ションをとり、友だちを作ることが難しかったです。正直に言うと、学校生活が始まる前、私は登校初日 に友達が作れるだろうと考えていました。しかし現実はそれほど甘くはなく、数カ月間、自分が思い描い ていた学校生活を送ることができませんでした。その頃、私は自分の英語力に自身がなくミスを恐れてコ ミュニケーションをとるのをためらっていました。この文法であっているのか、この単語で正しいのか、 うまく伝わるのか、このような不安が私を人見知りにし、他の人と距離をとってしまっていました。しか し、ある出会いが私の留学生活を大きく変えてくれました。それは大切な友達たちとの出会いです。term2 のはじめの頃に彼らと出会いました。はじめは話すことを恐れていましたが、少し勇気を出して話しか け、「一緒にモーニングティーの時間や昼休みを過ごしてもいいか」と聞くと、快く「いいよ」と言って くれました。それからの学校生活は一変して毎日が楽しくなり、休み時間が待ち遠しくなるほど友達と過 ごす時間が好きになりました。
次に NZ での生活を通して学んだことを2つお伝えします。1つ目は、自分のことをよく知ることがより よい生活につながるということです。先ほども話したように、最初の数か月、私は友達作りに苦戦しまし た。しかし、それと同時に自分自身のことをよく理解できたのだと思います。この経験を通してどれほど 自分がシャイな性格で弱いのかを知りました。日本にいる時から自分はシャイだとわかってはいました が、NZ にきてから自分がどれだけシャイなのかを改めて実感しました、しかし、この困難を乗り越えたこ ともあり、友達にも家族にも少しずつオープンな性格になったのではないかなと思います。そしてもう1 つは、留学は自分を支えてくれる人の大切さにも気づく機会になったということです。日本にいる時当た り前すぎて実感できませんでしたが、いざ NZ での生活が始まると家族や友達が恋しくなり、多くの人がど れだけ自分のことを応援してくれているのか、支えてくれているのかに気づきました。感謝しても感謝し きれないくらいです。実は出国する前、NZ で辛いことがあったら読んでねと家族や友達から手紙をもらい ました。実際にホームシックになり自分自身を見失いかけていた時にその手紙を読みました。これらの手 紙を読み、頑張って楽しもうと心を切り替えることができました。この経験を通して、周りの人々の存在 は大きく有難い存在だと気づきました。