Hear about a Carleton-Funded Fellowship in Japan, Winter Break 2022

9 March 2023
By Kiri Salij, Office of the Provoxt

Curious about what you can do on a Carleton-Funded Fellowship? Read about these students who went to Japan over winter break 2022! Also check out our Instagram page with spotlights on more students!

Cym Brody ’23, Ania Hoang ’23, Shannon Liu ’23, Chisom Oguh ’23, and Gabby Reynaga ’23 all traveled together on the Professor Roy F. Grow Fellowship. Here are Gabby‘s and Chisom‘s perspectives on the trip!

Where did you travel and what did you do?

Gabby: I traveled with four of my friends to Japan. We stayed in Kyoto for 3 weeks and in
Tokyo for 1 week. I spent most of my time exploring the culture and observing
modern art, traditional art, and the presence of pop culture. I was able to make
comparisons between the traditional city of Kyoto and the tourist city of Tokyo.

Chisom: My friends and I traveled to Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan and what I focused on was the representation of foreign nations and its people in Japanese manga. I also visited a temple, traveled to different tourist spots, and walked around in various places.

What was the most interesting/rewarding part of what you did?

Gabby: Seeing the people and investing myself in the style of living. I enjoyed using local
transportation and just exploring the cities and visiting both tourist and local
attractions.

Chisom: To me, the most rewarding thing that happened was my ability to read some of the text at restaurants, public buildings, and bus signs. I chose Japanese for my language study at Carleton, so being able to apply it was rewarding.

How will the experience you had to add to your Carleton education?

Gabby: I am much more appreciative of learning about different cultures. As a
psychology major, it makes me think about how different cultures don’t fit into
western teaching and I want to learn more about ways I can apply what I learn to
cultures like those in Japan.

Chisom: This experience was the first time that I traveled outside of the United States without the guidance of my parents and/or a person of authority. It was purely a student-led experience and through it, I learned how to apply the leadership skills that I’ve fostered at Carleton along with strenghtening my relationships with friends. Also, due to the pandemic, I was unable to study abroad for most of my Carleton career. This experience fulfilled the wish that I’ve had since middle school (which was to go to Japan). 

What would you tell someone applying for a Carleton-funded fellowship?

Gabby: It’s going to be an amazing experience and something that benefited me was
creating a rough timeline of the different things I wanted to do. I also made a
budget for my time in Japan along with the currency exchanges to help keep
track of my finances. Try not to stay in a hotel, if you can, stay in an Airbnb and
ask your host for some local suggestions. It is a more educational experience if
you can immerse yourself in day-to-day life.

Chisom: I would tell them these three things:

  1. If you can go with a group, I definitely recommend it! It was so much fun eating food and walking around together with someone else.
  2. Don’t hesitate to ask Marynel questions and apply! If you put in the effort, the experience is very rewarding.
  3. Plan a lot of cool things, but don’t forget about rest days. Traveling and exploring a new place is exciting, but make sure that you give yourself some time to rest and reflect.

Gabby at Train Museum

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Pier in Kobe, Japan
Pier in Kobe, Japan
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Chisom Oguh (‘23), Gabby Reynaga ('23), & Shannon Liu (‘23) at a fire ramen restaurant
Chisom Oguh (‘23), Gabby Reynaga (’23), & Shannon Liu (‘23) at a fire ramen restaurant
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Gabby Reynaga ‘23 at the Train Museum in Kyoto, Japan

Gabby Reynaga ‘23 at the Train Museum in Kyoto, Japan

Photo:

Gabby Reynaga

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