Heather Heimbach CC'20

Doshisha figure skating team

Pursuing Athletics While Abroad

Heather Heimbach CC'20

"In my experience, there are definitely ways to continue pursuing your passions and extracurricular activities while you are abroad-- and all of them are worth it."

One of the best parts of the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (KCJS) is the chance to interact with the local university students through participating in a club or team. During my time in Japan, I joined the Doshisha Figure Skating Team, and fulfilled a lifelong dream of joining a sports team in Japan. I never thought that I would have the chance to do something like that, but I did. I was inspired and moved by the comradery displayed between athletes of a sport that in America is often considered extremely independent. There are only a few ice arenas in Japan, which means that I was often training on the same ice as famous figure skaters, some of which were on the Doshisha Team. I improved my Japanese abilities as well as my skating skills, and found myself challenged in ways I never imagined.

It was a struggle at first because of the language barrier and because I was completely unfamiliar with how these groups work, but the long-lasting memories and bonds I formed are things I will treasure forever. In my experience, there are definitely ways to continue pursuing your passions and extracurricular activities while you are abroad-- and all of them are worth it. Going abroad provides opportunities to explore new paths that could lead you to discoveries about who you are and what it means to be you.