By: Dawn Dailey
Bryan Station High School
From the time I was nine years old, I dreamed of traveling to Japan. The dream was influenced by a wonderful friendship in elementary school. You might say we were attached at the hip. Karin Yamaguchi was from a small town in Hokkaido. She arrived in Kentucky my 4th
grade year in elementary school. When I first met her she barely knew any English, but she was able to pick up the language quickly. My interest in traveling to Japan grew as Karin shared her culture and experiences with me.
Little did I know, my connection with Karin would be severed when we went to middle school.
While I missed my friendship, the desire to experience Japan continued to grow. I read books, watched movies and continued to practice the language I had learned from Karin’s family.
Finally, an opportunity was presented; the dream was close to becoming a reality. At the young age of thirteen, I was given the chance to experience my dream.
In the summer of 2005, I had just finished my seventh grade year and was preparing myself for a two week journey to Shizunai and Toyota City, Japan, through the Sister Cities program. Japan offered a bit of western culture, such as; McDonalds and Wal-Mart. However, the unique and quaint lifestyle of the people I met provided a firsthand look at Japanese traditions and beliefs. The value placed on education, family bonding, and responsibilities were more than expectations you would hear from your parents.
Each and every moment I shared with my Japanese families was a learning experience. Attending school emphasized the value of education, with teachers teaching from the moment you walked in the door. There appeared to be no down time for the students during school hours.
Upon returning home, I began to think how much influence Japan had on my life. I wanted to know what occupation I could pursue to return to this wonderful country. I asked my parents to formally continue my lessons with the Japanese language and we hosted several students through the Sister Cities of Lexington program. This program placed Japanese students to stay with families for several days. Sister Cities offers the opportunity to middle and high school students to share the experiences of culture, customs, and country. With this experience I was able to develop a better understanding of the language and lifelong friendships that will always stay in my heart. I thank Sister Cities for the wonderful opportunity that was given to me. What was once a dream was becoming a career decision.
I began looking for colleges and universities that would offer me an opportunity to continue my passion. The results of my search led me to Georgetown College. Seeking a career in Commerce, Language, and Culture will prepare me to meet the challenge associated with an international profession. Traveling to Japan was my dream, pursing this career path is the journey of a lifetime.