Studying Abroad at GCC

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In July 2013, I made the decision to come to the United States for college. In April 2014, I got a conditional admission from SUNY Geneseo, which suggested me to come to GCC first for improving my English. In August 2014, I came to this country I had never been in before and started my life at GCC.

I’ve taken a lot of helpful and interesting classes here. The classes I love and I’d definitely suggest are Foundations Academic Success (FYE 100), Ceramics 1 (ART 123), Advertising (BUS 203), Female Role in Film (CIN 242), and Career & Education Planning (CEP 101). As I want to graduate and transfer with Public Relations or Advertising this semester, classes I’ve had before are very beneficial. Also, professors and faculties here are truly helpful.

However, the experience is the point here, which has been more enjoyable and helping me more to be what kind of person I want to be. If you ever used StrengthsFinder to look up your top five strengths, you would probably notice those five strengths have been supporting your life and never changing. It was surprising when I found out my strengths had changed from September 2014 to February 2016. I realized that adventure is the best way to learn. I was a resident assistant at College Village in Spring 2015, and I definitely improved my listening, leadership, and communication skills because of it. I also used to be a DJ for the radio station here and I learnt about communications a lot, as the radio station at GCC is awesome. I also work on campus and it gets me to talk more, write more, and get more ready for my future college and career. I think both classes and all these experiences here is exactly why my strengths have changed, which I also believe I’ve been getting into a better person. This is not a life lesson only from classes, but I’ve been also seeing both cultures, talking to people from different countries, and especially experiencing a different life here. Studying abroad is the most effective way for me to get a better view of the world. Being alone in another country has also made me a stronger person to face to and solve all the problems.

This explains how I believe that, nobody can discover the world for you, and nobody can steal your experience you get for yourself. Study more, see more, and suffer more.

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Four Benefits Of Studying Abroad

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In Japan, there are not many universities and colleges, which offer Travel and Tourism as a major. I could only find a few universities, but those were private schools, which were expensive. I really wanted to major in tourism, so I decided to study abroad in the U.S. and came to GCC. While studying abroad, I got many great experiences. So, I want to tell you about them.

1. The Culture
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Learning different cultures is one of the best benefits to staying in a foreign country. I am learning American culture while living here. I enjoyed experiencing Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Black Friday. They were good experiences that other Japanese people living in Japan could not do. Also, I realize how much I love my home country of Japan, the culture, food, and the people. I would not have realized it if I did not study abroad. It is very important to see my own culture and country from outside of the country.

2. Making The Most Of The Trip

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I enjoy traveling here. I went to Niagara Falls, Toronto, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Orlando in the 1.5 years that I had been here. Also, I am planning to go to Miami this summer. I never thought I could travel so easily before I came here. If I were in Japan, I could not travel to so many places because it is too far. I plan to travel more until the end of my study abroad.

3. Making New Friends

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I am making friends with a variety of different people. If I went to college in Japan, as we all know, there is not much of chance to meet other people and become friends with them. Studying abroad gives me the opportunity to meet many kinds of people. In addition, in a foreign country, we can become close friends with other Japanese students because they have much of the same struggles and share the same feelings. I have many close friends who share thoughts about our future, have fun, eat, drink, and live together. These relationships will continue after we go back to our countries.

4. Family 

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Studying abroad, I notice the importance of our families. My family supported me through everything. They understand me and welcome letting me go. They support all financial sides and mental sides. They always stay on my side. Sometimes, I miss my family, but I think it is a good time to make sure of the family’s importance. I give thanks for my family more whenever I go back home.

What do you think about studying abroad? Studying abroad brings people many benefits that they will never experience unless they study abroad. Also, there are a lot of opportunities in many ways. It makes your life more meaningful and changes your mind dramatically.

This blog was contributed by Tourism & Hospitality Management Student Yurina Yasutomi.

Adventure capital of the world?? … yes please.

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So I left my mothers house in Houston to start the adventure to my sisters place in .. MOAB UTAH! A tiny little town in the Southwest of the state that surrounds the Colorado River and Green River. It’s the adventure capital of the world! Many people come here to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park that sit right outside the town. I drove for two days to get to Grand Junction, Colorado where I stopped for a day to do a project for my Anthropology class. I was to do an observation a few times, so I decided to make my observations at a nudist event. I found some people who have been featured in a magazine for their nudist wedding, and have also been featured on TV many times for their “Naked Gardening Day.” So I met with Carla and Guy, the nudists who were very nice people. After the observations, we talked for hours about life and how important it is to be free and become who we wish to be, regardless of what society says. It was defiantly an experience I will never forget.

In my high school, for one of my senior projects, (2012) I had to create a vacation with 750 dollars and give a presentation with the things I did, what I ate, etc. I never heard of Moab until then, and as I was doing the project I was hearing of it constantly. In my project I came to Moab for a week and went skydiving, rafted, and camped. When graduation came around, my sister told me she was going to help her friend move out west for a bit. Coincidentally, she was helping him move to Moab, Utah. She ended up staying there because she loved it so much. Strange coincidence or what?? She had also never heard of it before my project.

So after Grand Junction, I started on the road again. 250 miles of desert… BRING IT ON! I put the top down in my VW, filled a bowl of water in the back for my dog, and off we went in search of the second most scenic route in North America, route 128. Before the real great scenery started, we drove through a ghost town of Cisco. It has the smallest post office in the U.S., and that’s about it besides the Green River and some train tracks. It was going to be the capital at one point. Obviously that didn’t happen.

When we started to get into the canyons, it was the most beautiful landscape I ever seen… and I’ve seen a lot. 150 miles of a very curvy road that followed the Colorado River. Deep red rock cliffs on both sides of me with the occasional rock formation. Once I got to Moab, I found my sisters house. I’ve been staying here for about a week now. Doing my school work, as well as hiking, going on 4×4 tours with my sisters boyfriend, (they own a company of 4×4 tours) and venturing off on the Colorado River. When my sister does her office hours, I do my school work. I’ve been really good about it, not procrastinating or anything, but any chance I get, we’re going off into the desert, or hanging out with the locals. Everyone who lives here are very adventurous people, mostly guides for white water rafting (that’s what my sister did before she was with Xtreme4x4Tours) hiking, repelling, slack line, zip line, skydiving, you name it, they do it. I have figured out that you can tell the locals from the tourists by their tan. All the locals have sunglasses tan, and the tourists are usually just burnt.

There is a such a great history of the Native Americans here, too. There are petroglyphs that are 1200 years old everywhere, but you have to know where to look, and stone piles up in the rocks where they used to store their food by the river, and deeper in the canyon, you can see their homes that are built into mini caves..Very deep in the desert there are little shacks that are very hidden. Cowboys used to hide in them! Real cowboys, and there are still things in them, salt shakers, spoons, etc. I have an assignment coming up that I would like to do on the Native Americans here, the Kokopelli! I also did my Meteorology exam and passed it with flying colors, I’m good with my CEP class. I haven’t really hit any challenges yet, besides resisting all the great Mexican food! Its really cool to be able to compare what I am learning in my Meteorology class, and put it to real life use here. Many different types of scientists and geologists come here to study the area. I don’t know exactly how long I’ll be staying here, but I think I’ll be here for a little bit.