I came to Castleton for the nature: A Japanese student speaks of why she came to VTSU Castleton

VTSU Castleton campus captured in all four seasons through Akane’s camera.

Akane Minamino is an international student from Japan who writes about her experiences attending school a world away from home.

What do you think brought me here Castleton? I have a lot of reasons why I came here, but one of them is that Castleton is a rural area.

Why was living in a countryside has been appealing to me? I was interested in leading a life in a rural area just because I lived in a suburban area in Japan and had never lived in a countryside. 

I thought, “What is a life in a rural area like?” I mean, I wanted to try living in an environment that is completely different from my hometown. 

Transportation and nature here are especially different from my hometown, which also made me curious about living here in Castleton. 

There should be some areas where people use their car as a main transportation even in Japan. Also, which transportation mainly used is different from person to person and from area to area in Japan, but in my hometown, personally, I use a bike, buses, and trains to go anywhere. And in many cases, I do not have any difficulty moving around, even if I cannot drive a car. However, from my perspective, I think that people here in Castleton mainly use a car to go everywhere. 

There are more than 80 buses from the bus stop near my house in Japan to a downtown on weekdays, but here in Castleton, there are only five buses from the university to Rutland from Monday to Friday. 

Also, in my hometown, 200 trains run from the station near my home weekdays, and it takes me about only 30 to 40 minutes by train to go to a very urban area, (which has) a place similar to Times Square in New York City. 

On the other hand, here, if my understanding is correct, only one train is available per day if you would like to go to a big city, New York City, and it takes about five or six hours to get there. 

As you can see, there is a huge difference between transportation here and that in my hometown.

Regarding nature, I had an interest in living in a region that has rich nature. My first impression about Castleton when I checked an aerial photo on Google Maps before I come here was “Green….!” 

I was surprised at the large area of green in Castleton when I looked at the map and was looking forward to leading a life in rich nature. Also, I was really excited about spending my life here surrounded by lots of snow, because I had never lived in a snowy region.

Since I came here, I have been so amazed at how beautiful the nature is. When it is warm, the green of the mountains and lawns are so vivid and beautiful. I like taking a walk while looking at the green on a sunny day. 

In fall, the color of the leaves on trees turns to red and yellow, which is so attractive. In winter, the scenery of snow is breathtaking. In addition, I like the lakes here although I did not know that there are lakes here when I was in Japan. 

I saw Lake Bomoseen and Lake Champlain, both of which are so fascinating. Also, coming to Castleton let me see a frozen lake in winter for the first time in my life.

I have been enjoying the differences between my hometown and Castleton; especially, I have been enjoying the nature here than I expected. 

I am so glad I decided to study in Castleton. I would like to visit here again in the future. 

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