Jumping One Hurdle to Find Another: Summer Trip to Fukuoka

In my laaast post, oh so long ago, I mentioned/went on at length about the summer trip my school has put together to Fukuoka, Japan for nearly 5 weeks. Since then, I received the updated flyer will all the information and, let me tell you, it looks even more amazing than I could have imagined!! The trip is $3,730 and includes 4 weeks at the Wahaha Language school. Room and board for 4 weeks. A bunch of trips and other interesting things and a day trip to some place I’ve forgotten the name of, 2 days in Kyoto with guide and private bus, and 4 days in Tokyo with guide and private bus. Most meals are not included in this and neither is spending money but… still… they are doing a ton of things within that budget!

Anyway, there was still the great dilemma of, what the heck do I do in between the summer trip and the fall semester starting? This became even more of a dilemma when I realized, to qualify for the full year term for the Boren Scholarship (which is up to 20,000 dollars and puts me at a higher chance of getting it–they like longer trips) I need to be in Japan for a minimum of 6 months. Well, if I leave late June and come back late August, I am totally there over 6 months! By like 4 days but who cares! Wooo… except–Those six months need to all be enrolled in some sort of learning program. If we remove those 4 weeks between summer and fall programs, I am under. So–No traveling the wilderness streets of Japan. Instead, I had to find something else.

In a stroke of genius common sense, I looked at the summer program flyer, found the name of the language school we’d be at and looked it up online. Turns out, I  can very easily sign up for a 4 week course there. They also have plenty of housing options that weren’t too expensive! Yay me!

(This would be a good time to note, I don’t have 4 weeks in between trips. I forgot, initially, to factor in the orientation week that happens the week before class starts. I looked up all three schools I’m applying to realized that its only 3 weeks for AIU and Kansai Gaidai and 2 weeks for Seinan Gakuin. This reduces costs. Especially the 2 week thing.)

So! Problem solved! High fives and hugs all around! I spent a day in a happy bliss because I had found an inexpensive way to spend that time and I officially changed my status on my Boren scholarship to 1 year!

Then I spoke to school and that’s when things got ugly–again.

You see, I can only go on this trip if I get a ton of little scholarships or if I get the Boren. I won’t know the results to any of these scholarships (including Boren) until April. I can apply to the summer trip now, get a seat by paying the application fee and I can cancel at any point up until they ask for first payment. Once I pay first payment, if I cancel, I loose everything I’ve paid till then and am responsible for the remainder of the balance–Which means I still have to pay for the whole trip. They ask for first payment once all 14 spots are filled and will conditionally let people on the trip after that but by April they plan to already have final payment which means my chances of joining the trip on confirmation of scholarships is pretty much impossible.

I cannot begin to describe how disappointing this was to hear. It sucks that every time I think I overcome some problem, another one crops up and throws nine wrenches into my poor little plan. Now I have no idea what to do. My Boren application is listed as 1 year so I either need to find something more flexible that I can do to make the trip over 6 months or change it back to 1 semester.

The only bright spot in this sad tale is that I emailed Seinan Gakuin with some questions and the coordinator of their International Division answered very promptly and was super enthusiastic about my inquiry! I even told him about the summer trip to Fukuoka and his next (almost immediate email) was about how they’d have to create a different visa application schedule for me and he wanted all the dates of the trip and my timeline for getting to Japan–Like I was already accepted! I haven’t even applied yet! Its nice to know that someone half way around the world is excited for me.

On a separate note, I sent a similar email to AIU with some questions on the same day (last Thursday) and have yet to hear back from them. Seinan Gakuin–You win this round.


One thought on “Jumping One Hurdle to Find Another: Summer Trip to Fukuoka

  1. I will be crossing my fingers that you get the Boren or all those little scholarships. But don’t worry, I know it will all work out for you. This is such an exciting time for you, the next several months are just going to fly by and soon you’ll be in Japan!

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