​A Defining Moment

Brittany Mouzourakis - Hikone, Japan

brittanymouzourakiscrop.jpgOnce in our lives we are blessed to experience a defining moment which changes us into the person we are today. For me, that defining moment occurred this summer during my nine-week study abroad program in Hikone, Japan. For the first half of the program, I stayed with a local family and commuted to school by bicycle. For the second half, I stayed in the dorms. Although it was a perfect balance, my experience with living with a Japanese host family was where I experienced my defining moment. Although I do not look Japanese and am an American, I was accepted into the Kuno's family without hesitation or judgment.  

While I have many stories to share about my experience living with the Kuno's, I have one story in particular that I would like to share. To begin, I had been in class for about two weeks when I began to realize that this program was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life.  I was studying about eight hours a day, while going to school for another four hours. After class I would stay at the university and study until it was time to go home for dinner. After dinner I would continue with my studies. My host family would always comment about how proud they were that I took the study of Japanese language so seriously. Yet, they were also concerned that I was not experiencing the other reason I was in Japan: to gain a wider understanding of Japanese culture and history. That is when my host family took a proactive step in my cultural development.