Study Abroad


Tomoka Goto

“If you are able to live your life in Lisbon the same way you do in Japan, then your study abroad will be a success.” Those words from my teacher as I nervously anticipated my first extended trip overseas became my goal during my year abroad. Aiming to be myself and take on various new challenges, just as I do when I am in Japan, I threw myself into everything that I wanted to do. It was very stimulating to study at the University of Lisbon, where there were Portuguese students as well as students from other European countries and from Portuguese-speaking countries like East Timor and Macau. Through my interaction with them I was able to get a sense of the depth of Portuguese history. Outside of school, I helped serve customers at a Japanese restaurant; went to an embroidery class to learn how to make a traditional Portuguese handcraft, the “lover’s handkerchief,” and learned embroidery from a Portuguese lady; and took a weekend yoga class where I was able to make yoga friends. Now that I can think of Portugal as my second home, I think that I achieved my objective. Since returning to Japan, when I look back at my memories of Portugal, I feel a sense of “saudade”—a Portuguese term for a melancholy longing for something—and I feel like I was able to bring home a bit of the spirit of the people of Portugal nurtured in the course of that country’s long history.