Meet Erecia, a Bridging Scholar Alumna (2013)–Now Working for Japan-based Oak Lawn Marketing

November 25, 2014 

EWarren Photo in Japan2012-2013Erecia studied at Chukyo University in Nagoya during the 2012-2013 academic year as an Oak Lawn Marketing–Bridging Scholar. Her remarks follow:

I can honestly say the years of 2012 and 2013 were some of the most impactful years of my life. My time studying abroad in Japan was an amazing experience, one that has lead to many unexpected windows of opportunity for me.

Traveling overseas as being both an educational and entertaining experience was an idea that played a major role in inspiring me to study abroad. It was a chance for me to gain first-hand experience living in another society and adapting to a different culture. Most of the knowledge I gained about Japanese society was through my everyday experiences.  For me, it was about more than learning a new language. Many of my fondest memories involve the people I met and the moments I shared with them. Whether it was going out to tabehodai’s, being invited to a Japanese friend’s home for New Year’s, or visiting cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, taking the time to explore different aspects of Japan was uniquely rewarding.

Not only was I able to learn about a whole other culture, but I was able to learn more about myself as well. I knew that living in a different country would allow me to grow exponentially faster than I would have if I stayed at home. As an exchange student, the biggest change that occurred during my time abroad was my increase in confidence and independence. It was my first time living so far away from home, and I quickly learned how to function in a different environment. Becoming self- assured enough to try new things, and take risks was a personal challenge for me. I began to look for opportunities open to me and embrace the chance to develop personally.   The US- Japan Bridging Foundation and Oak Lawn Marketing provided me with that opportunity. As a US-Japan Bridging Foundation scholarship recipient I had the chance to visit Oak Lawn Marketing’s office in Nagoya.   While touring the office I was impressed by the unique business vision, values, and overall environment established at the company. My experience at Oak Lawn proved to be a career-altering one.  Upon my return from Japan I maintained contact with one of the managers I met during my tour and was offered a job after graduation in Oak Lawn Marketing’s Chicago office. Since then I have moved to Chicago and am excited to begin a new journey in my life.   I don’t doubt at all that there are significant benefits to studying abroad and it is my belief that every student should take advantage of the opportunity to gain world perspectives.

My time in Japan is something I will never forget. I made many great memories and incredible friends. I have only been home for a little over a year and I’m already thinking of ways on how I can go abroad again. I truly hope that other exchange student’s experience studying abroad is as life changing as mine was.