It’s difficult looking back on all the time I’ve spent here; I’ve learned a lot, and become close with so many people, and changed, I think, to a larger degree than I thought I would. I think I’ll probably slowly begin going back to who I was before as I re-adjust to American Society, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the people or the many things I’ve learned, and I’m sure much of my perspectives on many things have been irrevocably changed.
Academically, I learned much of what I expected. Although I didn’t progress as much in the Japanese language as I might have, being in the linguistic environment of Akita International University has allowed me to live in linguistics, and learn a significant amount both through talking about it directly with people, and witnessing many aspects of it first hand. Being around so many bright people so often, and exchanging with them about languages and in different languages has allowed me to grow significantly as a linguist.
As far as my personal goals, I’ve learned a lot about the expectations for different occupations in my intended fields, such as teaching abroad and working with linguistics in different environments. Being able to speak to and network with people with similar interests, and who have already started to take the next steps, has helped me significantly, I believe.
Although I’m sad to leave Akita and Japan, and of course my friends, I look forward to a future in which I can use all I learned, and can keep in touch with them. I’m anxious to see where I can go and what I can continue to learn from here, and am excited to keep moving forward into the future.