Life Abroad / Life in the U.S. / Thank You Thursdays

Thank You Thursday – March 17, 2016

Anna and two of her host siblings

Anna and two of her host siblings

Aspect Foundation’s inbox is flooded with notes from students expressing their gratitude for the experience they have had on student exchange. On Thursdays, we post one of these notes, sharing the “warm fuzzies” with all of you!

Today’s Thank You Thursday features Anna from Japan, living in Utah.

“Two Peas In A Pod”

When our students spend a year experiencing life in a new country, it’s so important that they receive support from both of their families: at home and abroad. Like all Aspect students, Anna relies on her host family for support, guidance, love – and sometimes adventure!

Anna and her host sister showing off the cookies they baked together

Anna and her host sister showing off the cookies they baked together

I have four host siblings, and one of them is seven year old girl. I play with her a lot when I’m home, like building a snowman, baking cookies, watching movies, jump roping for a couple hours, and so many things. she is so freaking cute by the way. My family is really skiing family, so we go skiing every week. I had gone skiing only about twice before I got here, so now I’m loving it a lot. It’s so nice of my family that they lend me all appointments. Everyone is really good except for me, so I’m learning a lot. A funny guy told me that the more I scream, the easier I can get through, when I’m scared. So I’m mostly screaming.

Anna and her host sister are two peas in a pod; they do everything together.

-Anna’s host Mom

Having the support of her American host family isn’t enough for Anna – it’s so important to know that her parents in Japan are doing everything they can to help Anna experience American life to the fullest. Sometimes supporting her means giving her space to grow during her year in America.

I don’t really contact with my family in Japan. It’s because I want to do things I can do only now. I have never spent a whole year without contacting my family. That’s why I’m doing it right now. This whole process of my study abroad did not happen without my family. And I really have to be grateful for them, and I really really am. So it’s kind of mandatory for me to contact them and tell them how I’m doing and what I’m doing. But this is the first time for both me and the rest of my family to not contact each other. And if we can find anything we’ve never found, or feel anything we’ve never felt before, it means we are experiencing a new thing in our life. Nothing would be waste as far as you have a purpose on it.

Halfway through her year in America, Anna is making progress on her goals for this trip: learning about American culture, sharing her own Japanese culture with her new community, and overcoming her fears in order to become a better person.

I just don’t want to go back to [Japan], without approaching the goals that I have set. Expanding Japanese culture is absolutely one of them. Not all of them is what I can approach while I’m here. Because this study abroad is not only about while I’m here, but for the rest of my life. Depending on how hard you would work on stuff and how brave you would be, your life changed either good way or bad way. Trying to achieve your goals definitely makes you better person.

Everything would be good experiences someday in your life, even though you think they suck at first. Time turns your effort to a good one. Your effort would never betray yourself. Sometimes you get confused or destructed by something, sometimes you don’t even know what you are doing, and sometimes you are worried and feared if what you are doing is meaningless, pointless, or senseless and just wasting the time. Even though you don’t feel like you are achieving your goals or making yourself better, you are always being better and matured, unless you give up or cheat people or things. Just don’t get bothered, don’t stop following your own path, just do it, and go for it.


Anna and two of her host siblings

Anna and two of her host siblings


Interested in sharing YOUR corner of the world with an international exchange student? Learn more about becoming a host family at: