Kamora Millan ’24 is a senior — majoring in anthropology and minoring in sociology — who studied at Japan’s Kanda University of International Studies with IES Tokyo in the autumn of ’23.

Why Japan? It had been one of those far-off dreams since she was a kid but she wanted to see if she could somehow get there. With the help of SU’s Study Abroad Office, she got accepted into the IES Abroad program in Japan, making her long-standing dream a reality.

Upon her arrival, she found the program welcoming and very accommodating for people who were learning Japanese, especially as there were many opportunities for students to get more experience and immerse themselves in the culture. The staff always sponsored local events that students were welcome to join and there were different happenings, festivals, and community service opportunities to do. Kanda University was very English-friendly, as most of the classes were taught in English – even the lower-level Japanese language classes – so it was quite accessible for English speakers. The department, she recalled, had a building where the second floor was English only — a popular hangout spot for international students and Japanese students trying to learn English. At Kanda, she accepted a field placement: a seminar where she was assigned to work at an international daycare and a Pre-K as an assistant teacher, an opportunity that allowed her to fully immerse herself in the culture. When fellow recent graduate Aria Arifi interviewed her, she emphasized that the main advantages of the program were her host university, her incredible host family, and the opportunity for cultural immersion.


When asked what her favorite memory of her time abroad in Japan was, she answered:


“I guess to others it may seem small, but to me it really meant everything: there was this one day where, after classes let out, my friends and I were hanging out in one of the university buildings and we decided we were going to go to a BookOff (which was a second-hand shop) and […] just gonna go there [to] browse books, whatever — we weren’t even gonna buy anything. We’d look at video games and we’d laugh about nothing and just have a good time there. Then, when it got a little later, we were hungry and decided to go a little down the street to a little conveyor sushi shop; going between the warm buildings along the cool, brisk street, I found myself really happy because that was the sort of situation I’d always longed for in my life: just walking around places with friends. That freedom between academics and family — there were no expectations in the moment, it was just the moment.

You’re there with your friends and that’s all that matters; we want to go see something, we went to see it — we were hungry, we went to go eat. It meant a lot to me, and I’ll regard that night as one of my favorites in Japan; it meant the world to me”.


Thanks to this experience, she realized that teaching English and translating are one hundred percent going to be a part of her future. Kamora expressed desire to go back to Japan, get into translation work, and teach English; an idea she admits, pushes her to move forward: “Well, you wanna go back? Let’s get working!”

For other students venturing abroad, she advises them to do some research on the culture they’ll be immersed in before they go there and to keep an open mind:


“The world is so much bigger than the United States, there are so many different perspectives and ways to think about things, and you should be open to at least trying to understand those perspectives. Being open allowed me to have a much better time in Japan than some of my other classmates”.