Our Alum of the Month for September is Ria Jagasia, who studied abroad with CIEE in Tokyo, Japan this past spring. Now in her junior year at Vanderbilt University, Ria studies human and organizational development with an international leadership and development track and an Asian studies double major. At Vanderbilt, Ria works with the International Student and Scholars Services office in a program called International Learning, Empowering, Advising, and Developing (iLEAD), where current students lead a group of eight new international students through orientation and their first semester on campus. iLEAD involves seminars on college-relevant topics such as mental health, safety, and academics in the U.S. classroom, as well as fun social events organized by mentors like Ria. Another activity that this Alum of the Month is involved in is the Diwali showcase, which celebrates the Hindu holiday on campus. Since she was little, Ria has learned a traditional Indian dance form called Kathak and gets to share her talents at the Diwali cultural performance, which has been on of her biggest highlights of life on campus.
When we asked Ria why she decided to study abroad in Japan, she replied, "As an Asian studies major, I decided to study Japanese during my freshman year and loved the language and what we learned about Japanese culture. I have always loved traveling, especially in Asia, and the new experiences it brings, so I thought study abroad would be a perfect fit for me. I really hope I get to go back to Tokyo soon!"
While abroad, Ria blogged about her journey through a Wordpress site she created called Jochi Journeys. Blogging was a great way for Ria to reflect on her experience and share insights with prospective students who are considering study abroad in Japan. We're excited to have Ria join CIEE Alumni as a guest blogger and to learn more about life as a CIEE Study Abroad student in Tokyo, Japan. Be sure to visit the CIEE Alumni blog weekly and read her stories. Her first post is about Japanese food - something you won't want to miss!
To see more photos from Ria's study abroad semester, check out her Instagram account: @jochijourneys
Are you interested in guest blogging for the CIEE Alumni blog? Send us an email with information on when/where you went abroad with CIEE to get started. Alumni from any and all of CIEE's programs are welcome!