The Importance of Family While Studying Abroad

The very next day of New Year’s Day, I left my home country, Japan, by myself for the first time to start my new university life in Hawaii. My university is located in Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii, which is famous for the great amount of rain and active volcanos. When I arrived at Hilo, the weather was perfect and my heart beat fast because I was excited about what would be waiting for me during the first semester at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. However, as days passed, I found some difficulties in living alone in a new place and realized how family is important.

When I lived in Japan with my father and mother, it was normal that I can eat delicious foods my mother made in a cozy living room. This was my most essential source for “tomorrow” and helped me alleviate stress from study or school life. Also, my mother listened to me eagerly regardless of what I was talking about. Therefore, I always talked everything to my mother and she encouraged me whenever I wanted. On the contrary to the life in Japan, my new life in Hilo have neither such delicious meals nor encouragement. Therefore, I became vulnerable to depress frequently because of a lack of proper nutrition from meals and love from my family.

Although I suffered from depression, I could meet many new friends who let me stay away from loneliness, tiredness, and busyness. I talked with my friends about each other’s daily life and study before lectures. This opportunity enabled me to improve not only my English skills but also communication skill as soon as possible. Without these interactions with friends, I would become more severe homesick.

Through studying abroad in another country, I could realize the importance of family and how it is important to communicate with others when I feel anxiety and depression because of homesick. My first year in Hawaii was much harder than I had expected, but I could experience a lot of things that I cannot if I stay in Japan. Studying abroad teaches us that a family is the most precious place where the one belongs to and helps us follow steps to be independent of parents physically and mentally.

Nanae Sajiki

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Home Country: Japan

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