An experience of a lifetime: Cuba and Machu Picchu!

Hello everyone 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog!

My name is Mai Akasaka and I’m an exchange student from Japan. My major is Economics and I am taking three economics classes (ECON360, 365, 406) and a Spanish class (SPAN 201) this semester. I’m so excited to share my experiences at SDSU, but for my first blog, let me share my wonderful trip to Cuba and Peru with my Taiwanese friend (she was also an exchange student last semester) during the winter break, including the highlight, Machu Picchu!

This trip encouraged me to take a Spanish class. I am sure you will want to go to  those countries after you finish reading my blog!

Continue reading “An experience of a lifetime: Cuba and Machu Picchu!”

The Voice from Auschwitz

 “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana. 

Why going somewhere that deems to make your heart heavy? From Warsaw Old Town to Wieliczka Salt Mine, there are quite a lot more to see in Poland that bring you delight. But getting a closer look at this eastern European country which emerged as a developed country in the 21st century, you will find its history full of scars: its territory being completely wiped out from the map twice by Germans and Russians, 85% of its capital city Warsaw being destroyed into ruins during World War II, and its soil being soaked with blood of over 1 million war victims of the most catastrophic genocide in human history: Auschwitz.

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Introducing the Spring 2020 Be International Bloggers!

More than 3,000 San Diego State University students will study abroad during the 2019-20 school year, traveling to six continents and having experience that will help develop the next generation of global citizens.

As the spring semester kicks off today, hundreds of students will begin their study abroad experience. We introduce you to nine students who will chronicle those experiences as the newest faces on the Be International Blog.

As always, we let them tell you about themselves — in their own words!

Continue reading “Introducing the Spring 2020 Be International Bloggers!”

Living the good life – on a budget

Life in Japan is getting much easier. I am getting used to my exchange program at Sophia University. This semester I am only enrolled in four courses which include Japanese, International Finance, Consumer Behavior, and  Venture Management. So far this semester has not been extremely challenging in terms of the coursework. I believe my biggest academic challenge is just balancing how much time I spend studying versus how much time I am out exploring Japan. I am also in my senior year of college so my motivation is at an all-time high to finish college strong and come back to the United States prepared to enter the workforce. This past week I just completed my first round of midterms, so I am currently waiting for my results. Continue reading “Living the good life – on a budget”

Asian and European standards of safety

“Don’t go there, it is not safe.” How many times have your wanderlust been strangled by alarming news headlines, by overwhelming crime statistics, or by your family and friends’ not-so-positive travelling experience?

I have been told to avoid certain places even before taking my first step abroad. Yet I never get tired of such security education from my parents, understanding how difficult it takes for them to get visas if I encounter any risk far away from home.

Still, they do not object me traveling solo to Hong Kong, Singapore, Zürich and Vienna, all of which are among the safest cities on this planet. Two of the cities are in Europe and the others are in Asia, but both have statistically the same crime rates. But do you really feel safe in the same way? Well, probably not.

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Learning Curve

I have now been in Taipei for well over a month and I am happy to say that I have settled in quite well to the semester in many ways. I have been fortunate enough to have been assigned to a roommate who I get along very well with. I have also made fast friends with many of the others living in my building, the Chang Hsing dormitory on the far east side of the National Taiwan University Campus. I am glad that I can always find people to talk to and spend time with on the roof of the dorm virtually every night.

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Directions to my New Home

I (used to) have a very good sense of direction. No matter if it was finding my family’s car in the multi-story parking structure, or the way out of the woods in national parks, I knew exactly where to go after only walking through once. 

Well, not so much during my first week in Europe. I delusionally trusted my sense of direction to find my hotel, which is near the Zürich Hauptbahnhof (main station), until I was standing in one of Europe’s busiest railway centers with dozens of exists. 

Bahnhofstraße…should be the right one. At least it shows it is still somewhere close. I ended up dragging my two suitcases through all the priciest luxury stores, just not my hotel. 

“Entschuldigung.” I stopped the first passer-by, “Wo ist die Direktion nach…” As part of my major, I have learned German for three years. Therefore, I should try to speak more German and less English from the first moment in Zürich. 

However, when he spoke up, I felt like I have never learned the language before.

Continue reading “Directions to my New Home”

A new home, a new experience

I have been in Japan for about 6 days now and I am enjoying every second of it. My first few days were a bit difficult as I was jetlagged, adjusting to the humid temperatures, and getting bitten by mosquitoes. Other than that I have made plenty of friends with some of the other international students from France, Germany, and America. It has been quite a struggle for me to make Japanese friends as they tend to stay together, but It is still very early I hope to integrate myself even more with them as time goes by.

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“A Different World”

I began my study abroad trip about two weeks ago by flying into Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan from Narita, Japan. I used their developed public transportation network to get to National Taiwan University where I would be studying. NTU is located in the island nation’s capital Taipei, or Taibei in Chinese with “bei” meaning north, and is considered the best university in the country.

Continue reading ““A Different World””

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