Study abroad program gives students unique experiences

John Saringo-Rodriguez

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For 1,000 years it has been part of the Japanese culture to experience the Sakura, or cherry blossoms, as spring is the season for Hanami, or flower viewing. At sunrise, through mid-April to early March, Sakura blooms are admired by all.

This is just one attraction that CSUN study abroad students have the opportunity to experience while in Japan.

Stevie Underwood, 25, a modern and classical languages and cultures major,  is part of the CSUN study abroad program at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan and had the opportunity to go to Kyoto over spring break for a chance to see and experience the Sakura.

“You can look out your window and see the trees spread out in the city. The petals were falling and it was just a beautiful experience,” Underwood said.

Underwood is one of 21 CSU students in the study abroad program at Waseda University and one of five students from CSUN.

Kathleen Lucitt, 21, also a modern and classical languages and cultures major, is at the same university as Underwood and said that one of her best experiences is getting to meet new and interesting people.

“I feel very lucky to have shared a class with people from different countries but common interests,” she said.

Veronica Rodin, 20, a modern and classical languages and cultures major, enjoys going a little further for adventure and explores the nightlife and restaurants in other areas of Tokyo with her classmates. Students studying abroad in Tokyo can ride the subway at an affordable price.

“I definitely enjoy Roppongi because there is a lot of things to do there. There’s a lot of shops and cafes, but there are also places to go drink or club it’s really a place for any type of person and you see a lot of interesting characters there,” Rodin said.

CSUN’s study abroad program offers students the chance to visit 18 different countries and they can stay for up to two semesters with a host family or in a dormitory.

Information session dates on study abroad programs can be found on the CSUN website.

A taxi is in the middle of a bustling crosswalk in Shibuya, Tokyo, a city with a population of roughly 200,000 residents with thousands of visitors each year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

A taxi is in the middle of a bustling crosswalk in Shibuya, Tokyo, a city with a population of roughly 200,000 residents with thousands of visitors each year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

Kathleen Lucitt, 21, and Stevie Underwood, 25, both modern and classical languages and cultures majors, began their year long CSUN study abroad program six months ago in Tokyo, Japan. They learned how to use the subway routes and proper etiquette to use the transit stations in the city.  Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

Kathleen Lucitt, 21, and Stevie Underwood, 25, both modern and classical languages and cultures majors, began their year long CSUN study abroad program six months ago in Tokyo, Japan. They learned how to use the subway routes and proper etiquette to use the transit stations in the city. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

A common sight in heavily populated locations in Japan are people who wear face masks.  Those who wear face masks do so when they are sick or as a preventative measure to protect themselves from allergies or other people's germs. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

A common sight in heavily populated locations in Japan are people who wear face masks. Those who wear face masks do so when they are sick or as a preventative measure to protect themselves from allergies or other people’s germs. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

One of many sights to enjoy while studying abroad in Tokyo is the city's vast skyline. Those who live in the area know that while the cities of Japan are condensed there are still many hidden pockets  and many levels that one does not initially see unless one dares to be adventurous and explore. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

One of many sights to enjoy while studying abroad in Tokyo is the city’s vast skyline. Those who live in the area know that while the cities of Japan are condensed there are still many hidden pockets and many levels that one does not initially see unless one dares to be adventurous and explore. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

Underwood knew that she wanted to study abroad for a year because she heard from past students that they wish they had committed to a longer program.   To prepare herself she would research online of what to expect and how to act as an international student in Japan. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez/ Daily Sundial

Underwood knew that she wanted to study abroad for a year because she heard from past students that they wish they had committed to a longer program. To prepare herself she would research online of what to expect and how to act as an international student in Japan. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez/ Daily Sundial

 

A Japanese business man takes a cigarette break beside a convenience market in Asakusa, Tokyo. Cigarette and beer vending machines are found around many corners in crowded areas in the city. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

A Japanese business man takes a cigarette break beside a convenience market in Asakusa, Tokyo. Cigarette and beer vending machines are found around many corners in crowded areas in the city. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

School children are intrigued by foreigners whose culture is different from theirs. It is not uncommon to see school children in uniform and walking to their destination without an adult.  "People are a lot more trusting in this society," Lucitt said. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

School children are intrigued by foreigners whose culture is different from theirs. It is not uncommon to see school children in uniform and walking to their destination without an adult. “People are a lot more trusting in this society,” Lucitt said. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

Public prayers and blessings take place in sacred areas like the Kaminarimon Gate in Asakusa, Tokyo and are symbolic of Japanese spirituality.  Study abroad students see first hand how these traditions shape the lives of the people that practice them. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

Public prayers and blessings take place in sacred areas like the Kaminarimon Gate in Asakusa, Tokyo and are symbolic of Japanese spirituality. Study abroad students see first hand how these traditions shape the lives of the people that practice them. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

It is a tradition in Japan to shroud oneself in the burning incense and billowing ash of blessings that were lit on fire. These practices are not limited to local residents, but foreigners are encouraged to learn about the culture and participate in it as well. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

It is a tradition in Japan to shroud oneself in the burning incense and billowing ash of blessings that were lit on fire. These practices are not limited to local residents, but foreigners are encouraged to learn about the culture and participate in it as well. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

Strict trash and recycling regulations leave this empty alleyway so clean that no one would know thousands had walked the street earlier that day.  One can even hear the echoing laughs of business men and women at a bar in the distance. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

Strict trash and recycling regulations leave this empty alleyway so clean that no one would know thousands had walked the street earlier that day. One can even hear the echoing laughs of business men and women at a bar in the distance. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

There are many opportunities for study abroad students to participate in Japanese cultural events and popular tourist attractions, such as the lanterns that glow at night in Asakusa, Tokyo. The lanterns illuminate both the Kaminarimon Gate and the Nakamise shopping area. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

There are many opportunities for study abroad students to participate in Japanese cultural events and popular tourist attractions, such as the lanterns that glow at night in Asakusa, Tokyo. The lanterns illuminate both the Kaminarimon Gate and the Nakamise shopping area. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

Studying abroad allows one to step into another culture that one may not experience in college. Tokyo, Japan has a wide variety of food that tastes very different from the American-style equivalent. This includes homemade ramen noodles and grilled yakitori chicken. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

Studying abroad allows one to step into another culture that one may not experience in college. Tokyo, Japan has a wide variety of food that tastes very different from the American-style equivalent. This includes homemade ramen noodles and grilled yakitori chicken. Photo credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

 

When not attending classes Underwood, Lucitt and Rodin enjoy exploring the colorful streets of Waseda, Tokyo, their college town and second home for the next six months. During their down time they like to go to places they have never been before like Sirokuma Cafe, a unique cafe that serves enticing combinations of desserts and coffee. Photo Credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

When not attending classes Underwood, Lucitt and Rodin enjoy exploring the colorful streets of Waseda, Tokyo, their college town and second home for the next six months. During their down time they like to go to places they have never been before like Sirokuma Cafe, a unique cafe that serves enticing combinations of desserts and coffee. Photo Credit: John Saringo-Rodriguez / Daily Sundial