I learned a lot while in Japan and the following year when two Japanese students came to stay with my family. We drew pictures to communicate both times, and cooked and ate together. The experience expanded my definition of friendship, which has proven useful ever since.
The trip taught me how to be more comfortable in novel places and situations, and how to find common ground with other people even when we speak different languages or have had very different lives.
It was a great experience and a wonderful way to learn about another culture at such a young age.