I was honored to receive a DEBI RCN Graduate Student Education Exchange grant for research at the IODP Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research in Kochi, Japan. During the month of July 2010, I worked with Dr. Fumio Inagaki and other members of his lab group to learn his techniques of cell enumeration and flow cytometry. The experience of working in his lab allowed me to go beyond the typical collaboration based on brief meetings and email exchanges alone. I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and have a research experience in an unfamiliar culture. I learned much more than research techniques including overcoming communication barriers, building collaborations, and cultural exchanges. I discovered that the basic standards of science are global and although communication was difficult with a few lab members, the language of science transcended that and we continued to learn from each other regardless. The methods I have learned in Japan have given me the ability to expand on my skill set and apply it to various environments. Since working with Dr. Inagaki, the techniques I have learned have allowed me to work on samples collected from research cruises in the Gulf of Mexico and IODP Leg 325 in the Great Barrier Reef. Dr. Inagaki encouraged me to ship and work on my own samples in order to return to my home institution with data that I am able to directly incorporate into my dissertation. We have since discussed other collaboration opportunities and I look forward to what the Research Coordination Network can provide in the future.