Where Marshall can take you: Study abroad in Japan

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Caralee Casto

Caralee Casto, Japanese major, is studying abroad in Osaka, Japan, this fall and spring semester at Kansai Giadai University.

When Caralee Casto’s high school accidentally put her in a Japanese class her senior year, no one would guess that three years later Casto would be nearly 7,000 miles around the world studying abroad in Osaka, Japan.

“It wasn’t until I ended up in Japanese 1 that I really indulged in the abundance of culture,” Casto, Japanese major at Marshall University, said.  

Casto is in Osaka, Japan, studying Japanese and international relations at Kansai Gaidai University for both the fall and spring semesters this year. 

“I have to remind myself to slow down here and there and remember that I have two semesters to do everything I want to,” Casto said. “There’s so much to do every minute of the day that sometimes I can’t keep up with all of the options. Being in Japan has been an absolute dream thus far.”

Casto’s current trip abroad is not her first trip to Japan, however, as she was the Lions Club Youth Camp and Exchange Scholarship recipient in 2016. This scholarship enabled Casto to go to Japan in 2016 and stay with two host families. 

 “I truly felt as though I was accepted and loved,” Casto said. “Even though I was scared out of my mind.”

Casto said her newest adventure to Japan wasn’t possible without the help of Marshall’s faculty and staff. 

“Prior to becoming a daughter of Marshall, I had no intention of studying abroad again,” Casto said. “Marshall’s staff made every step of my process possible, never once turning me down for questioning or not believing in myself. Had Marshall not been such a positive and motivating force, I would not have even made it past the application process.”

Casto said without her scholarships, which amounted to $20,000, her trip would not have been possible, and without the help of Mallory Carpenter, program manager for national scholarships in the Honors College at Marshall, she never would have been awarded her scholarships and grants. 

Of the trip, Casto said, her favorite thing she has experienced so far was hiking at the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto. 

“I adored the adventure, because it really prepared me for both the amazing sights of Japan as well as all the walking I needed to get used to,” Casto said. 

LeAnna Owens can be contacted at [email protected]