Technos in Tokyo

Christin Austin, Mariah Logan, and Dr. Darryn Diuguid visited Mt. Fuji and Tokyo Disneyland, cheered on the baseball Lions and Tigers, saw a kabuki theatre, and learned how to make sushi and soba noodles recently. They were guests of Technos International College, which partners with McKendree and other universities around to promote Japanese culture and to strengthen American-Japanese ties in an annual summer study program.

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Mariah, from St. Louis, Mo., is a psychology major in the honors program. Christin is a political science and economics and finance double major from Wayne City, Ill.

What did you enjoy the most?

Mariah: I enjoyed learning about the lives of the Japanese students more than anything. It forced me to test my patience and also get creative when working with communication; at one point I was partnered with a young man from Technos who did not speak or hear English well, but he could read it. The two of us had a two-hour conversation through me writing down questions and reading them out loud while he read along.

Christin: I really enjoyed the few days that we spent at Green Village Spa in the mountains. Here is where we were able to really see the beautiful countryside, Mt. Fuji, the rice paddy fields, and really got to experience different aspects of the Japanese culture—making soba noodles, removing shoes in buildings, the hot springs same-gender public bathing, etc. The baseball game was a little taste of home, while the Kabuki theatre really made me feel like I was experiencing an important part of Japanese culture.

What did you find most difficult?

Mariah: The limited communication to my loved ones back home, without a doubt.

Christin: There really wasn't anything that I found difficult about the trip besides there was no Diet Coke and I am slightly addicted.

What did you learn that was unexpected?

Mariah: What surprised me was the fact that most of the international students that joined us on the trip were studying Japanese language or had some type of international studies/relations portion of their higher education. I had planned on being a minority in my nationality, but not in the fact that I don't have a specific interest in Japan itself as part of my future.

Christin: I was extremely surprised how easy it was to get around in a country where English was not commonly spoken. The people were so kind and willing to help, so the language barrier was not nearly as difficult as I had expected.

What have you taken away from the experience?

Mariah: The Technos trip has taught me to be more aware of my space, how I can have an impact on others even in the smallest way, and that there are some incredible people in the world who will do anything to take care of you.

Christin: The Technos trip has taught me many aspects about Japanese culture (food, clothes, manners, religious views and daily life). However, the thing it has taught me the most is that regardless of gender, race, religion or geographic differences, people can truly come together, work together, and grow together. The experiences and culture of Japan was amazing, but it was the people I met, the international students and faculty, and the Japanese students and faculty, who made the trip truly unforgettable for me. No matter how different we all are, and even though we just spent two short weeks together, I am confident when I say I can call them all my friends. I will never forget the memories, the experiences, and the wonderful people I met.

Learn more about McKendree University and the Study Abroad opportunities.