University of Akron students get out into the world by studying abroad

Education major Rory Thorne gives insight into his once-in-a-lifetime experience studying abroad in Japan.


Rory Thorne

Photo from study abroad trip to Japan courtesy of Rory Thorne.

By Natalie Mowad, Editor-in-Chief

Rory Thorne standing next to what appears to be a stylized dragon.
Photo from study abroad trip to Japan courtesy of Rory Thorne. 

Rory Thorne, a senior AYA Social Studies Education major, is currently studying abroad in Kansai Gaidai University (KGU) in Japan. Thorne decided to study abroad in August or September of 2020.  

“It was something I mulled over since I first attended college in 2018,” said Thorne. “Ultimately, it was sitting around in my room for months that made me say ‘when all of this is over, I am getting out there into the world.’” 

Thorne talked about how the process of applying to study abroad was confusing and time consuming. There was page after page of information to fill out, things to apply for and deadlines to meet.  

“I will say that doing everything online streamlines the process, and I had a lot of excellent help from the abroad program at UA and KGU,” said Thorne.  

While in Japan, Thorne’s favorite place has been Kyoto. He is about a 30-minute train ride from Kyoto. The city itself is quiet and contains a lot of history and character. Along the Eastern side of the city flows the Kamo River and along it is a stretch of housing and businesses that all add to the subtle charm of the city. Not to mention that the downtown area has so much to do and see.  

“Every time I go there, I can’t help but smile and admire the place,” Thorne said.  

The trip encouraged Thorne to reflect on COVID and the friends he has around the world. He has a few friends in Europe and Canada that he talks to often, but none from other places. Upon going to Japan, he has made a lot more friends and met people from across the world. 

 “It has been interesting talking with these people and learning a bit about the world at large through the experiences we all bring,” Thorne said. 

Thorne’s experience studying abroad has strengthened his education by giving him a new perspective on human interaction. He is shocked every day by how different people from different places all act in a very different way.  

“I am happy to say that I have experienced it, and upon experiencing it I can say I understand the world a little bit more. Every day I learn something that amazes me.” 

One of the most surprising things that Thorne has learned while being in Japan is how kind the people are. This is something he hopes to emulate.  

“A lot of students have given me food, gone out of their way to talk with me, and offered to help me with my Japanese. It really is a shock,” Thorne said.  

Thorne describes a great experience in Japan and says that he hopes to return there for another semester.  

“The things I have seen, the people I have met, and the time I spent are all things that I really could only experience here and now,” Thorne said. “I hope that I am able to continue this journey and make the most of this once in a lifetime experience.” 

To learn more about study abroad opportunities at The University of Akron, visit