Sophomore Zoe Dym returned to SCDS in February after a semester at a Japanese high school.
Q: Where did you go to school for the first semester while you were in Japan?
A: Izumo Nourin Agricultural High School in Izumo.
Q: Why did you decide to go to Japan for a semester abroad?
A: I like Japanese culture, and I thought it would be cool to go there for more than just a summer vacation.
Q: Was it part of a exchange student program?
A: It was part of a program called AFS. My dad’s colleague knew about it, and when my dad said to him I wanted to go abroad, the colleague suggested this program.
Q: What was different about going to school there as opposed to SCDS?
A: Everyone wears uniforms; the rules on what you wear are more strict. The girls always walked everywhere in groups. You can’t be alone!
Q: What was a typical school day like?
A: There’s always an advisory period, and then the students clean the school, because we don’t have janitors. Then we have classes, and at the end because it’s an agricultural school, we have chores for the classes like taking care of flowers or vegetables or animals.
Q: Did you go on any memorable trips?
A: My host family took me on a vacation to Hokkaido, so that was fun. We went to the zoo! Japan has foods you can eat only in that certain area, so we ate unique food. We had a type of crab you can get only in Hokkaido, because it’s specific to that part of the coast. Japan also does this weird thing with candy, where you can get a certain flavor only in a certain area. It’s a traditional thing.
Q: What was your host family like?
A: They are so nice! They got me a bike so I could do the commute to school, and they took me on that trip. I had two host siblings, a boy and a girl.
Q: What were your favorite and least favorite parts?
A: I felt safe in Japan. In America, everyone has guns. I don’t have any least favorite parts; I liked everything about it.
Q: Do you think you’re ever going to go back?
A: Oh, yeah. My family goes to Japan every year because my mom has family there. So when we go, I can visit my host family and school friends.