My trip to Japan was definitely a life-enhancing experience, and it has been all that I have ever expected and more. I have always wanted to travel to Japan to experience the art, the culture, the cuisine, the language and yes, to see all of the cool Japanese anime and video game related things too. I wanted a change of ambiance that was completely different to my own. When I arrived, I could not be any more eager to explore what Tokyo had in store for me. I will admit, during my stay, it was hard to adjust to the different customs, to the ways of addressing those around me and to what is considered socially acceptable. It was also hard learning the Japanese language and communicating it in a socially acceptable form. As a result, though, I have completely opened myself to the mindset and values of our friends in the East, and what is considered normal or not as opposed to my own Western American way of life. What this entire trip all meant, though, was the once-in-a-lifetime experience that, I am assured, has bettered me as an individual. I learned a lot about Japanese culture and about myself, and how important it is to learn and experience cultures different from one’s own. While there was a lot of adjusting and contemplating to do, none of it came to hinder my enjoyment of exploring the city life, the country-side and all that I could of Tokyo, Japan. While it seems that this is always said, the Ashley Soule Conroy Foundation Scholarship saved my life, and it was the scholarship that helped solidify the realizations of my dreams. When the email arrived stating that I had won the scholarship, I began to cry. I had applied to study abroad in the previous semester, but due to my financial aid and scholarship funds from the university not transferring due to changes in policy, at the end of the day, I came up too short with in both money and aspiration to continue. So I decided to wait, and I buckled down and polished my applications to all of the scholarships I could find. www.ashleysfoundation.org When the letter from the Ashley Soule Conroy Foundation came, it was the final push I needed. “I’m going to Japan!” I yelled, knowing it was going to happen with certainty. This scholarship meant the world to me, since it was what has helped me enjoy my time and learn all that I could in Tokyo, Japan.
–Yvonne Rosas | Our Lady of the Lake University in Texas