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Reflections on Leaving Japan After 7 Years

Core Concepts
The author reflects on their journey of living in Japan for seven years and the emotional and professional growth experienced during that time.
After spending seven years in Japan, the author reflects on their transition back to The Netherlands. Initially overwhelmed by the cultural differences, they eventually found comfort and contentment in their new surroundings. Starting with a 4-month internship in Kyoto, the author's determination led them to secure a job and build a life in Japan. However, after three years, they decided to return to The Netherlands for a new chapter.
"It’s been exactly one month since I set foot on Dutch soil." "When I first arrived in Kyoto for my 4-month internship at age 22..." "For the first 3 years, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else."
"I’m back in The Netherlands, but Japan keeps following me." "I had the time of my life during my internship." "Things couldn’t have lined up better."

Deeper Inquiries

How did the author's experiences in Japan shape their perspective on life?

The author's experiences in Japan significantly shaped their perspective on life by exposing them to a new culture, language, and way of living. Living in Japan for seven years allowed the author to immerse themselves in a society that values tradition, respect, and attention to detail. This exposure broadened their worldview and instilled values such as discipline, patience, and appreciation for nature. The author's time in Japan also provided opportunities for personal growth through overcoming challenges like language barriers, cultural differences, and adapting to a fast-paced work environment.

What challenges did the author face when transitioning back to The Netherlands?

Transitioning back to The Netherlands after living in Japan presented several challenges for the author. One major challenge was readjusting to a different pace of life and work culture. In Japan, where efficiency and dedication are highly valued, the author had become accustomed to long work hours and meticulous attention to detail. Returning to The Netherlands meant adapting once again to a more relaxed work environment with different expectations regarding productivity. Additionally, reverse culture shock played a role as the author had grown accustomed to Japanese customs and social norms during their time abroad. Reintegrating into Dutch society required navigating changes in communication styles, social interactions, and daily routines that were now different from what they had become used to while living in Japan.

How can cultural immersion impact personal and professional growth?

Cultural immersion can have a profound impact on both personal and professional growth by fostering adaptability, empathy, cross-cultural communication skills, resilience, and open-mindedness. When individuals immerse themselves in a foreign culture like the author did in Japan for seven years, they are exposed to diverse perspectives that challenge their preconceived notions about the world. On a personal level, cultural immersion encourages self-reflection, promotes tolerance towards others, and enhances one's ability to navigate unfamiliar situations with confidence. Professionally, it equips individuals with valuable intercultural competencies that are increasingly sought after in today's globalized workforce. By engaging with different customs, languages, and ways of thinking, individuals who undergo cultural immersion develop a broader skill set that enables them to collaborate effectively across borders and thrive in multicultural environments