On The Way to Find Myself

Bina Antarbudaya
7 min readFeb 19, 2024

Sausan Fakhirah Syadin–INA AKP to JPN YP 22/23

Hello, welcome back to my second newsletter,

Do you enjoy reading my first newsletter?

I hope so, otherwise in this newsletter, I’ll be more serious maybe? Is because I want to give my best effort to write this newsletter as the closing of my study exchange life in Japan. Anyway, if you haven’t read my first newsletter with the title “I Wonder If This is a Fairy Tale World, isn’t it?” My name is Sausan Fakhirah Syadin and I come from one of the big archipelagic countries, Indonesia.

Actually, it’s quite hard to choose one topic, I rather sit together with one cup of tea and we’re talking to each other about everything you want to know, yups you can say I like to talk. But, in this time I choice to talk about what I learn from my life in Japan and all of the memories that I gain from here, maybe the topic is gonna be boring because some of us talk about the same things, but I try to make it more special so you will enjoy read until end (make sure you read it until end).

Coming to this Sakura’s Country gave me a lot of hopes and concerns in my head, in fact, at the end of this program, there are many good and bad things that I got after living for almost 10 months in this country. Maybe some of them say, life as an exchange student is a wonderful journey but I don’t think that’s always the case. But someone has said to me “maybe it will not be good but you will learn for sure….” I’m not saying that my student exchange life is bad, okay, but if I have to say one word is these experiences are “important” in my life, the things that I’ll maybe never find in my comfort zone.

First, I’ll talk about the things that come from my school. What the first things come to your head when I said Japanese School, maybe changing shoes(?), the wooden window(?), the Japanese school backpack(?), hanging out in the rooftop(?) or cute uniform (this is true, but the skirt not that short like in Anime). But the fact that I went to International School, I imagine is kinda different, the school looks like western school, modern, no changing shoes, no wooden window, no Japanese school backpack. First 3 months I was in IB Class, all subject spoken in English expect Japanese subject, and then after summer vacation I moved to Regular Japanese Class, that when everything spoken in Japanese, it’s mean I have to adaptation again in new environment when I already feel comfort with the first.

For me, adaptation is not easy bro, and I can really feel what they called language barrier. There’s a lot of struggle while I try to fit in these two environments, but of course I can’t stay here, it’s too long. However, because of that I learn a lot of things, like how to keep a conversation with people without feeling awkward, I learn how we have to act in society or how Japanese people talk and the way they think. I learned that every time I come to a new environment, the first thing I have to do is observe, they say “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That’s true though. I learn that relationship with friend, lovers, or at least human is having a lot of meaning and is depend on the people to, maybe some of you think friend is the one that we always chat every time, or maybe friends have to be someone that know everything about you, the meanings are actually wider than that. Make me realize that sometimes you have to see from another point of view, not only from yourself.

I learned that being close with people always needs time and some factor, comfortable maybe? Because I moved class twice, make me have to search friend again, sad to said it but I feel really close with my friend in the school when my time to say goodbye to them is getting close, I even cried so bad to my friend in the last minute when I was about enter the security check in the airport. But it’s okay, I’m really grateful to meet them and be close with them even for a short time.

Next and the last is my lovey-dovey dorm. I could say they are really my family in Japan. So, I lived in a private dorm that actually looks more like a shared house, because we share everything: lounge, kitchen, bathroom, until our clothes (rather than buy new clothes, we choose to borrow each other). We lived with 13 exchange students too, workers, and some university students. You know what sounds cooler? In this dorm we lived among some countries, from Japan, Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia, Amerika, England, Australia, Pakistan, India, and more. You can imagine right how noisy when all of us spoke in our first language.

But you know I learn a lot about myself too, living alone far from parents or guardians makes you know more about yourself I think. Like something that you don’t like, something you like, How I control my emotions when I get into fights with others and I handle that. How I have a space to express myself, to cry, to angry, and to laugh because all of that is free. What I can do and I can’t, or the simple way to say to know who I am (actually sometimes I still wonder about that, is okay everything don’t have to be in a hurry).

At first it is not easy to live together with someone that came from a really really different background, all of them have their culture and different perspective. In the beginning we always have fights about somethings, because we think in different ways and we think our opinion is the most correct but it wasn’t. And if you realized we’re only 16, 17, and 18 years old, we’re teenagers, we’re not really mature enough to think of something. But because this chance, I learn that Is not impossible to live together with all diversity in peace, after get along with them, I realized that you don’t need to understand your friends to deeper, just accept them for who they are, they came from that shape so what you gonna do, at least one of us not disturb the others, about personal choice is back to themselves not your business.

Recently we have been fighting, for example whose drink Norine (one of my friends) muscat? or who takes a long time to use the laundry machine for a long time (we only have 3 laundry machines), or who has an annoying alarm that can wake up everyone in the morning (It was me). I never know that I’m gonna really love them as everything in my short journey in Japan, as my family, my friends, my love, and my rival. If someone asks one thing that you don’t want to replace with anything in your exchange journey, I’ll say be a part of my dorm family. From the hearts as hard as stone, we finally can live together until end with the hearts as soft as clouds

Until right now, I still love stupid talk at dinner time in dining table, sweet and deep conversation under the kotatsu in the lounge or mirror room that never quiet because we always pass it or sit over there, or the most favorite place, how beautiful and calm this busy city at night time from our rooftop. If we have time, I want to invite you guys to come see my dorm and realize how noisy we are.

See? I wrote a lot, probably it can be more from this, but I think it is not gonna be a newsletter anymore it will turn into a novel. If you ask again, that learning has changed yourself, I would say yes but not at all. As humans we will always change with the times, right? In this exchange student opportunity, I found a lot of new things, met a lot of new people, and ate new food too lol, but apart from all that I am still me. In this chapter of my life, I’ve met a lot of laughter and tears, fallen and risen, hurt and healed, well it sounds like poetry right now. I’m grateful to have met all of them. From them I understand more about myself, about my environment, and others, the fact is that I still make mistakes because yes, I still human and it’s okay.

They said times are important and precious, I said yes that’s true, but, after that I said “You know what I think more important and precious is all the memories that you spent with that time.”

“会うは別れの初め“

”Meeting is the beginning of farewell.‘

よろしくお願いします!

これはさようならじゃない、じゃあまたねー

;サウサン ファキラー シャヂン ‐ 2023年03月14日

@sausanfakhirrah (Instagram Page)

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Bina Antarbudaya

The Indonesian Foundation for Intercultural Learning Official Partner of AFS Programs