The two weeks I spent at the US was a valuable experience for me. From this program, I learned a lot more than I had expected.
This was my second time staying at the US. First time was when I was an elementary school student. I spent two to three years at California. I wanted to find some differences between the west coast and the east coast. I found out that buldings were quite different. In Williamsburg, the buildings were European-styled. The lecture from Dr. Arthur Knight helped me a lot with this point. I took a walk several times when we were in Williamsburg and understood what he wanted to tell us. I miss the town a lot because unlike Tokyo, the town of Williamsburg has more trees and glass that people can relax.
When I talk about American citizens, I can’t really define who is American and who is not. People from all over the world come to the US. At first, I didn’t know what is an American culture. However through this program I get to know about that. American culture is mixture of many different country’s culture. People bring there own cultures to the US. I think this idea can be said in the food culture too. I went to Oishii restaurant in Williamsburg. This is a Japanese food restaurant but it was more like Japanese-American food. There are no California rolls in Japan and neither hibachi. I think Japanese people brought their own food culture but they changed the taste or even made new dishes to attract other Americans.
Because there are people from different places or countries, there are some conflicts. The problem of African American racism is a good example. I studied about it last year in Keio but it wasn’t enough. The lecture and discussion we had and museums in DC made me think about human rights. I could not feel this way if I was in Japan.
My first impression visiting Washington DC was that it doesn’t seem like the capital of the country. Compared to Tokyo, there were fewer train station and fewer people. Unlike Tokyo, there are no buildings taller than Washington Monument. In Tokyo, there are fewer museums than that of DC and it is more like city for workers not for tourists. In my opinion, Tokyo is boring when it comes to entertainment.
By participating to this program, I want to become more communicative not only with Japanese speakers but also with English speakers. To achieve this goal, I tried to talk a lot with W&M students. My English improved a lot by talking. Before studying abroad, I only studied English by just writing and reading. This didn’t help me improving my English skill. I thought speaking and listening to English lead us to be fluent English speakers. From now on, I will focus more on speaking and listening when I study English.
In the lectures, I learned American history to American pop culture. I became more interested in the United States. I want to learn more about America. If I had chance to go and study abroad again, I would definitely choose to study in the US.
To all the peole involved in this program, thanks a lot for your support. I had a great time and a great experience.