Before the program, I had thought that America had been a dangerous country, for example, the number of thefts are high. But, days in Williamsburg and Washington D.C. was so safe, so I reconsidered that idea. America is not so much a dangerous country. In addition, to my surprise, I could make myself understood in broken English to native speakers. I thought if I spoke English with wrong grammar, I couldn’t have done that. However, there was no such thing at all. Certainly, In Japan, a lot of foreigners speak broken Japanese, but I usually understand what they mean. This is the same situation in the U.S.
It was too hard to listen to and understand all of the lectures about the history and culture of the U.S. But all of them interested me. Especially, a lecture about American religion interested me the most. This is because before the lecture, we actually went to the church, and felt an atmosphere. It encouraged us to develop quality of the discussion and understand the lecture more. This can be experienced only in this program. I am not Christian and had never been to church, so I think I had a precious experience.
What I was the most impressed with was Focus Group Presentation. It was very hard to form an opinion as a group and present what we researched in a short term. In the question and answer time, I got nervous so much, because it was so hard to answer and even to hear and understand. But, the other members of my group, a librarian and especially our PA, Jonah, helped me with a lot of things, so we could do that work smoothly.
What I was the most surprised as a cultural aspect was the time to eat dinner. Before the program, I usually eat dinner at 6 to 7PM. But in the U.S. we ate dinner at about 5 to 6PM, although we eat lunch at 1PM. For me or other members, it was too fast to eat. But after I go back to Japan, I usually eat dinner at that hours. I got used to that style in this program. This program changed my life style. In addition, in our free time in Washington D.C., when my friends and I was going to eat dinner in a restaurant, we found that a lot of restaurant ware closed at 7PM. Even Starbucks was closed at 7PM (in Japan, some outlets are opened until 11PM). It surprised us so much. The reason of this and that we ate dinner so fast may be same. And this is absolutely a cultural difference. I want to research this.
Finally, I really enjoyed a lot of things in the United State. My days in the U.S. most be the most enjoyable in my life so far. I don’t remember the thing that I didn’t enjoy in this program. Though this program, I’m happy to experience what I can’t experience in Japan and by just trip. It has only two weeks, but what I experienced, felt and considered in the U.S. was invaluable for me! I can’t thank PAs and CIs enough. I’m so happy to take part in this program!