Now that it’s nearing the end of spring semester, many students still are contemplating whether or not they should study abroad. Alexander Ssengendo, a senior international student from Uganda, advises students to study abroad during their college years. “Everyone should study abroad,” said Ssengendo, “in Japan or a place that has a culture that is very different from America.”

Ssengendo Alexander

Alexander Ssengendo

Ssengendo came to St. Thomas in 2009 and found it challenging to be educated in a different language and through a new education system. “In America we do group projects, and we don’t do that in Uganda,” he said. Throughout his time at St. Thomas, he has had three host families and has made many American and other international friends; however, he was ready for a new experience and always had wanted to travel to Asia.

In summer 2012, Ssengendo studied in Japan through the Intercultural Communications course. He had taken this course previously but loved it and insisted on spending time in Japan. “Japanese businesses are coming into Uganda,” he said, “and I want to start my own business, so I hope to work with Japanese people. That’s why I went to Japan – to learn about its culture and business practices.”

Japan impressed Ssengendo so much that, if he had a chance to live in an area for an extended period of time, he would live in Japan. “Japan was the best experience I’ve had in all my life,” he said, “and I would take any chance to go back there.” He will graduate in May with the class of 2013 and hopes to apply for internships in Japan.

The application deadline to study abroad for January Term and spring semester 2014 is Oct. 1.

Visit the Study Abroad website for more information.