On July 20th, 2017, the KUIS Spring Bekka Program students gathered in Lapaz one last time, for the Sayonara Party. My level (five), chose to dance, while other classes sang, hosted game show quizzes, and created videos. The night was filled with delicious food, laughter, memories, and of course, tears.
The bekka program brought people from all over the world closer together- from America to Thailand, to England, to Indonesia, we were all united under one experience. These past few months have allowed me to fulfill one of my biggest dreams, and meet amazing friends along the way. Four months ago, when I stepped off the plane into Narita airport for the first time, I had no idea what to expect; everything was fresh and new. But as I gradually ventured out of the dorm and met people, I became a new person.
When I left Iowa to prepare for my semester abroad, I cried. I hugged some of my dearest friends goodbye, knowing they would graduate and return to their home states before I could see them again. I didn’t know how long it would be before I saw them; months? Years? It was too much. But now I’ve changed. I’ve grown up a bit and realized something important, thanks to my experience at KUIS. No matter how many miles, roads, mountains, or oceans there are between us, as long as two people want to see each other again someday, it will never be goodbye. It’s “see you later”. Just for now.
At the sayonara party, I didn’t cry. I’d spent the last four months of my life with these friends who were now like my family, and now we were all going our separate ways. But in the end, whether I see them a year from now, or decades from now, I’m determined to keep my promise of “see you later”. I hope all of the future study abroad students of Iowa will do the same. Thank you for the wonderful memories and friendships. One last time: see you later, Japan!
*Alyssa Pragovich is a Japanese major at the University of Iowa spending her semester at The Kanda University of International Studies Exchange in Chiba, Japan.
Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.