Last August, then-junior Robbie Morgan left Steinbrenner for one year to study in a foreign nation vastly different from America. He was to spend a year in Tokyo, Japan.
Morgan decided to take this opportunity because of its uniqueness.
“I thought it’d be a fun experience and I really wanted to learn a new language that nobody else knew,” said Morgan.
Morgan prepared extensively for his journey before flying over, studying the Japanese language with all the rigor of a typical school class and learning about Japan’s culture and customs.
Morgan took on this new journey alone.
He said all his goodbyes before he left, as his contact with family and friends was limited; he couldn’t have any visitors and could only talk to his parents once a month.
In Japan, Morgan was met by an entire new world which gave him new insights on his own country.
“I actually think a lot of the stuff we do now is weird. Like, I don’t understand why we don’t take off our shoes or take off our masks. We’re very unhealthy,” said Morgan.
Along with these differences, the education was an enormously different.
“Education is very formal. You have to bow to your teacher before and after class. Imagine bowing to your teacher every day,” said Morgan.
However, in March, seven months into Morgan’s tenure as a foreign exchange student, Morgan’s new life in Japan was shaken. A catastrophic earthquake and tsunami struck the island of Japan, causing unthinkable amounts of damage and displacing thousands of people.
“(During the earthquake) it was very sad to see all the people affected by it especially since it’s right next door instead of across the world. You really feel helpless because you can’t really do much,” said Morgan.
On April 1, the organization forced Morgan to return home.
“It was a liability thing, they had to take all of us out,” said Morgan.
Despite the trauma, Morgan still concludes that his year in Japan was worth it.
“I became near fluent in Japanese, made a lot of new friends, learned a whole lot about the culture, and just a whole lot of things that I never would have learned before,” said Morgan.
Morgan has returned as a senior, but is still enrolled in some junior classes such as Analysis of Functions and AP United States History.
“I didn’t have the time to take them my sophomore year, so I’m just making up for lost time,” said Morgan who, although upset to leave, is also glad to be back home. He still talks to friends from Japan all the time. He is also ready to use his newfound knowledge to pursue his dream.
“I want to work at Disney, and I want to be a sort of diplomat for Disney. That’s why I’m learning French, Spanish, all the languages of the park,” said Morgan.
Whatever the case, Morgan hopes to use his multilingual skills wherever he ends up.

Brandon Mauriello

11 thoughts on “A different sort of homecoming

  1. Robbie is the man! Thank god he made it back to the U.S. in one piece and not radiation free. He is an absolute genius at lingustics and he is someone to talk to in amth class. I don’t know what i would do with out him. I hope he gets another chance to go back or gets to study in europe because he 100% deserves it. Kepp it up Robbie and remember english is your main language not spanish so i can understand what in gods name you are saying/singing.

  2. I think being able to go to another country to study their cultures would be amazing. I would love to be able to learn a new language while in the country the language comes from. It is great that Robbie got to experience all of this and then some.

  3. I think that going to a completely different country and staying there would be really terrifying at first. Although it sounds like a great opportunity that I wouldn’t want to miss out on! You are one lucky kid Robbie!

  4. That seems really cool to do, go to a different country and learn a whole new culture. I would really like to do that one day

  5. I’m really happy for Robbie. I think it is great how he got to experience a different culture. I think it would be interesting coming back to America from someplace different. Hopefully, he will get to return again someday.

  6. I think its really cool that Robbie got to travel to a different part in the world that does things that may seem odd to us, but is normal to them. If i could experience that I would but I would miss talking to my family, once a month wouldn’t be enough for me.

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