Netta Hongisto(Finland)

My interest in Japan sparked when I saw Miyazaki Hayao’s movie“ Spirited Away”.
Being only five years old, I was naturally fascinated by the vivid colors, the exotic clothes, and the interesting characters. The thing however, the thing that mesmerized me the most was the language. Japanese sounded like something I had never heard before, but still strangely had something in its pronunciation that resembled my mother tongue, Finnish. I remember how starting from that day, I wished how one day I could understand the words of this strangely enchanting language.

Already in middle school, I started searching for ways how to study Japanese in Japan. Unfortunately, back then, there were no such programs that I could have applied to, and I gave up on searching for a couple of years. However, in the last grade of high school, I tried again – and it was good that I did! I found the blog of my senpai who had been accepted into MJSP. She had written about the application process as well as her experiences related to the actual program and life in Japan. Even before finishing the whole blog post, I had already decided that I would apply for MJSP as well. To my delight, I was accepted, and entered MJSP in October 2016.

Before moving to Sapporo, I had never been to Japan, let alone lived alone. Thus, without saying, coming here was a big change, but had I not come here, I would have perhaps never matured as much as I have during these two years. I have come to consider Sapporo as my much as my home as my hometown in Finland.

It might sound like a cliché but coming to MJSP has been like a dream come true. I have not only become confident in my Japanese in a very short period of time, but found friends and family, as well as gotten used to stepping out of my comfort zone, which I think is an essential skill in MJSP. Thanks to the many skills MJSP has taught me, I think I can experience Japan from a very unique perspective. Life as an MJSP student is very challenging but very rewarding and stimulating – it is a journey that I recommend with my whole heart!

Entered MJSP in October 2016