The most important thing I have learned during my stay in the United States is to try to talk to others in English even if my English is not perfect. Before I take part in this program, I usually hesitate to speak to others especially in English. However, in order to make the most of this program, I made a goal to try to talk to the W&M student aggressively. At first, it seemed difficult for me to realize my goal because I was not confident my English. But once I try to do that, I could realize that I can do it. If my English is not so understandable, I could make conversation successfully since someone to talk with try to understand what I want to say and they speak slowly. And I found that the listing ability is very important as well as the speaking ability during conversations. I realized this when I talked with a W&M student. Even if I can make myself understood in English, I can’t communicate with people if I don’t understand what others say. Therefore I decided to practice not only speaking but also listening.
The perception of the United States was changed before and after this program with three points. First one is about people. I thought American is more individual than Japanese, however in reality, they were very kind to others and they respect our opinions during discussions and preparation of the presentation. They express their opinions clearly so we can easily understand what they think. For example, in our FG work, PA always asked us what we want to present and led us to create better construction and conclusion of presentation. As these kind of things, I could realize Americans are more corporative than I expected.
Second one is about race. I thought that there were mainly white and black people in the United States. However, through my 2 weeks’ stay, I found that there are many other kinds of race in America, for example Mexican or Chinese. Moreover I felt something wrong with the reality that more black and Mexican people seem to do physical work compared to white people. In Japan, almost everyone is the same race so I was surprised to the situation that works are separated according to their race. These situation is unusual in Japan now ,however, if many foreign people come to Japan in order to find job, I wonder if this situation will happen in Japan too.
Third one is about the dense of population. Before I went to the United States, I thought there were a lot of people in Washington D.C. like Tokyo because D.C. is the capitol of the United States. But in reality, there were a few people than I had expected and many stores were closed very early. On the other hand, in Tokyo, there are a lot of people and so many stores open for 24h. So even if the city is capitol, it isn’t always economically prosperous. From these points I found a difference between two cities.
Through this program I learned many things and spent precious time with friends. Thank you!!