Three UW-W students forced home from Japan

Unfulfilled.

This is the way sophomore Tomera Sheets feels about being forced to leave from the study-abroad program in Japan by the UW System.

“I worked so hard to get where I was and it ended so shortly and so suddenly,” Sheets said.

Sheets

In addition to Sheets, juniors Andrew Miller and Alex Misialek also departed from Japan. All three were in the same program at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka.

However, all said they were barely affected, if at all, by the disaster and agreed their areas were far enough away from the site of the disaster that they felt safe where they were.

Yet the UW System gave them no option and forced them to come home.

“At first, I did not want to come home,” Misialek said. “It had been a lifelong goal to visit Japan and to study there.”

Miller agreed.

“I just got really accustomed to living there because I had been there for seven months at that point,” Miller said. “I had made a lot of friends [and] connections … it’s just a really different way of life.”

Misialek

The decision on how to obtain the credits for studying abroad is still in limbo for Miller. He said he is waiting to hear back from his school in Japan, as to whether there will be a distance education option. If the option does not come together, he said he would be required to finish the credits on campus through an independent study with a professor or take partial credit for what he has already completed.

Sheets said she was prepared in case the decision ever came about because her mother was pressuring her to think about coming home early. Sheets said she understood what she had to do if she ever had to leave; she then got an e-mail last Thursday from a professor.

“[It said] that I will be getting points off for attendance and if I don’t take the midterm, I will get points off for that as well,” Sheets said. “I was a little shocked because there’s nothing I can really do about that; I can’t go to her class because I’m not there.”

However, through the controversy and frustration, memories were still made for the three.

Misialek said “just living there” was one of his favorite things about Japan.

“It’s hard to just pick one,” Misialek said. “Waking up every day, biking to school, hanging out with people from all over the world, and just being immersed in the culture. I loved every minute.”

Miller

Miller said he thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese nightlife.

Seeing family and friends was one positive about coming home for Misialek and Miller, but a positive for Sheets was hard to come by.

“Honestly, no,” Sheets said about whether she was looking forward to anything now that she’s back in the U.S. “Yeah, I get to reconnect with my family and friends – that’s very important. But it’s like I didn’t finish what I started. So I feel a little bit unfulfilled.”

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