Sheena Turner (second from left in photo) came to UNL in 2002 to study computer engineering. Today she is living out a journey that she never anticipated teaching English in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi at the base of Japan's Mount Fuji. Becoming an International Business major and participating in the Senshu Study Abroad program at the UNL College of Business Administration is an important part of the story.
"The College of Business opened up so many doors with chances to explore the world while earning credit for my degree," said Turner. "The faculty and staff have connections and interests in all corners of the world."
Turner took advantage of those connections even when having to take substantial leaps into the unknown.
"I will never forget my first moments in Japan. I'd just stepped out of the customs area at Narita International Airport on a muggy mid-September afternoon and had about an hour to kill before the representatives from Senshu University would be coming to meet us. I went to a shop for a bottle of tea, and suddenly realized that despite my studies, I hadn't understood a word the clerk had said to me while ringing up my drink. Nor could I figure out for the life of me which coins I should hand her in payment.
"A million panicked thoughts flooded my mind at that moment -- the most prominent of which being, 'What on Earth have I just gotten myself into?!' I gave the clerk a nervous smile, and she smiled back, and took a couple of coins from my outstretched hand and gave me what I hoped was appropriate change. I'd just survived my first business transaction in Japan."
Turner's first trip to Japan was unlike anything she had ever experienced and the more she participated in the Japanese culture, the more exciting things became.
"I learned and absorbed more bits of Japanese in 10 minutes than I ever had back in a classroom at UNL. Three months of travel, exploration, and at times getting horribly lost in the concrete jungle that is Tokyo. Three month of falling madly in love with a language and culture that I had once only been able to witness from afar."
When Turner returned to the States she changed her major to International Business. She also participated in the CBA Undergraduate Programs office as the student Senshu exchange coordinator.
"It allowed me to use my experience in Japan to talk to other students about exploring study abroad opportunities as well as forge great connections with the staff and faculty at CBA."
Today, Turner continues to help teach English in Japan. Eventually she hopes to return to the field of education abroad and continue to use her journey to inspire others to see how they can fit the Study Abroad program into their own collegiate experiences.
"Seize every opportunity presented to you as a CBA student," says Turner. "You never know when it will truly change your life!"