Student Story: Jordan Madrid

August 20, 2012 

For the second installment of Student Stories, where Bridging Foundation scholars write about their experience studying abroad in Japan, Jordan Madrid of Gonzaga University, who studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo all last year, writes about the friends he made. 

Jordan, center, eating a squid with his good friend, Misha.

I volunteered to help out Tohoku victims through Second Harvest, worked within the State Department at the U.S.-Japan desk, interned at the American Chamber of Commerce Japan and competed at the Nippon Budokan for Karate. All of those experiences were amazing, but without the people I met along the way, they would not be nearly as memorable.

Misha, Kenji, Bob, Pierre–the list goes on. It took me at least a week to remember their names at our dormitory orientation, but now I couldn’t forget them. Since living with my new foreign family, I have learned various things about life; the most important being both the cultural differences and commonalities we have, regardless of location or background.

We did a lot this year:  celebrated New Years at the Sosoji temple in Roppongi, traveled to rural Tokushima to visit Bob’s parents, watched Kenji compete in rugby games, Karaoke’d together in Shinjuku, went out to clubbing in Shibuya and most importantly, went through and shared the same feelings of culture shock and isolation that studying abroad forces upon you. On top of all that, when I broke my leg sparring for karate, all of them spent a considerable amount of time taking care of me when I was bed-side for the first week. All of these things brought us extremely close together. So much so that I would not hesitate to call each of my dorm-mates my brothers.

I will cherish the unforgettable memories that my new family and I have had. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout the year, both in the dorm and outside of it, because I would not have had the amazing experiences if it were not for you.

Photo courtesy Jordan Madrid

Photo courtesy Jordan Madrid