Study Abroad


Yasuhiro Ito

I spent a year as an exchange student at Lille Catholic University in France. When I hear the word “study abroad,” it fills me with emotions that I find hard to express. That’s because I experienced so many emotions while I was there—there were many happy times and many difficult times. In that context, what was most important to me was to accomplish what I had decided I wanted to achieve before I headed abroad. In my case, that was studying sociology and to travel the Way of St. James pilgrimage route. When I was a sophomore, I became interested in the French sociologist Émile Durkheim, so one of my goals in my year abroad was to study that scholar in his original language. The perspective I gained from that has become an irreplaceable thinking axis for my life. My interest in the Way of St. James, an 800-kilometer pilgrimage across Spain by foot, began with a movie that I saw during an introductory class on French research at Sophia University. I was fascinated by the scenes of nature that were shown in the film. And in reality too, the nature that surrounded me when I made the trip was breathtaking. I also experienced fascinating, once-in-a-lifetime meetings with pilgrims from around the world, and the month that I spent on that journey was like a leisurely but fruitful siesta in my life.