Faces of YFU: Meet Kevin Princic
Kevin traveled to Japan in 2010 as a Japan-America Friendship Scholar. He has since volunteered as an alumni assistant at the Japanese Pre-Departure Orientation in 2012.
“Studying abroad really helped me come out of my shell in high school. I was always rather quiet and shy around people I did not know. While I am still an introvert my YFU exchange helped me become a much more outgoing person,” said Princic.
The middle of three boys, Kevin was excited to apply his three years of Japanese language study. As part of the Shimomura family in Nishinomiya City, the experience was life-changing.
“I am still in contact with my host family. After completing my time in Japan, my host brother, Keitaro Shimomura, came to America and stayed with me for 10 months. Just last year I returned to Japan for college study abroad and I visited my host family again. It was like I never even left,” said Princic. “Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, seize the opportunity if you can. You will learn so much and it will be an experience you will never forget.”
When Kevin applied for his exchange, he wrote “ am very enthusiastic about learning the Japanese culture and language. I will learn things that I would never learn in a classroom in the United States. I am also very excited about meeting new people and learning about their experiences.”
After having a few years to reflect back, Kevin mentioned, “my favorite memories from my exchange are the evenings I would spend with my host family just chatting or watching television. I truly felt like I was a member of the family. I also enjoyed helping my host mother with cooking or even going on random family excursions. I enjoyed family activities the most.”
Now a University of Mount Union student, Kevin’s high school aspirations have evolved. “My experience in Japan helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a degree in Japanese. After learning so much about the culture first-hand I realized that I would love to study the language, history and culture further. This decision also encouraged me to begin studying international affairs and even another foreign language, Mandarin Chinese,” said Princic.
As Kevin immerses himself in his senior year, he says, “I am still making plans for after graduation, but for now I intend to apply for a Fulbright. If accepted I would spend 10 months in Japan researching and attending language courses at a graduate school. My other options are pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Relations focusing on Asian Relations. Ultimately, I hope to end up in the State Department or maybe even Foreign Service.”
Interested in learning more about the Japan-America Friendship Scholars (JAFS) program? Visit our website for scholarship details and requirements. Applications for next year are being accepted through December 1, 2014!