Katie in Japan – post #1

Hi there, welcome to my space. My hope with this space is to tell a story, to spark some thoughts and to show a little bit of how the world looks from my perspective.

For those of you who do not know me here is a brief introduction. My name is Katie, and I currently live in Barrie Ontario. I am a student at Georgian College, where I am studying Human Resource Management. My life mainly consists of drinking tea, spending time with the people I love, music and trying to live as intentionally as possible. A conversation with me may include, but is not limited to; social entrepreneurship, what makes you feel alive, travelling and your favorite food. I enjoy learning about others and what drives them. That is why I have a strong desire to move around and seek out these motivators across the world.

Katie at the airport heading to Japan

I am currently on a plane, headed to Tokyo/Narito Japan. Four months ago, I would never have imagined that I would be here in this moment. Several months ago, I received an email from a professor, whom I greatly admire. The email loosely eluded to a program run in Japan, through the Ashoka organization. I had recently become aware of this organization because of my involvement with a team called Enactus. Both groups, Ashoka and Enactus, support and empower students to use social innovation to create sustainable change (If you have time investigate both organizations).

The email caught my attention almost immediately, however I felt delayed to respond. I have an incredibly wander lustful soul, so the idea of going to a new place was an easy decision. However, at the time many things were going on my life. I think we all have that moment, or maybe lots of moments, that feel like the floodgates have been opened. Even if the elements are positive, the overwhelming aspect still stands. After reflecting on the opportunity and thinking about my personal values, I decided to go for it.

The trip I am embarking on is called the HELIO program. The program is through Georgian Colleges connection with the Ashoka organization. During the time in Japan, I will be travelling with 24 other students from around the world. We will be doing research and learning for the next twelve days.

So here I am, four hours left till we reach Tokyo, eating a fried rice dish I got on our layover. I feel anxious, tired and content. It has been awhile since I encountered another culture so head on, fully immersed. I am beyond excited to learn, to dive in and to soak in all the newness. Yet at the same time I feel an odd sense of peace, as if this is exactly where I need to be at this point. Last night with clothes scattered around the floor, my mom came into my room and asked how I was feeling. I thought it about it for a moment and then responded, “I’m nervous that I’m not more nervous”. At this point I am more so anxious that I will offend someone, which I know is bound to happen. I am slightly scared I forgot to pack something significant. Mainly I am eager to learn, excited to meet new people and eat some delicious food.

So here’s to a new adventure abroad, cheers! Xo, Kate

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