Journal 5

I leaned a lot of American cultures and experienced American lifestyle during this short exchange program. For example, I learned American “feminism” and “racism” and “sexuality”. I ate American foods and paid “tip” at the restaurants and listened American musics and danced. I enjoyed them very much. The impressions and images of America that I was thinking has changed even in good way and bad way. Before this short exchange program, I did not what I do not know about America. But after that, I clearly understood what I do not know about America. And I got a better understandings of what I knew. This short exchange program was a very good experience for me and I think that it will greatly influence my future college life of course in good way.
What I wondered most thought through this short exchange program is “American citizenship”. Many Japanese people who were born from Japanese parents live in Japan. And they have Japanese nationalities. They have Japanese custom for example all Japanese people always say “itadakimasu” before they eat. So “Japanese citizenship” is easy to understand for me. On the other hand, many people who have various nationalities live in America. And there are many Americans who were born from parents with different nationalities from America. I had a question “what is the definition of American”. What is the standard for defining Americans? People who have American nationalities? People who were born from American parents? People who live in America? People who have consciousness as Americans? People who have American custom? In framework lecture, I learned citizenship. Citizenship is classified into two categories “legal” and “cultural”. But I did not understand at all about “citizenship” so I researched “citizenship education”because I thought how to teach citizenship is the key to understand it.
Federal government is adopting “citizenship education”. In 1916, they adopted a citizen’s curriculum at middle school and high school. In 1994, they enacted “Goal 2000:Educate America Act”. And they emphasized that citizenship education is the center of American educational goal and necessarily for American democracy. I think because they have social and political problems that Americans are multi-ethnic group and multi-religious group in this background. Now, federal and state governments and schools and private organizations are collaborating to realize it. For example, in the US presidential election, 1.5 millions children did a simulated vote in 11 thousands voting places in 2004.
There are two points of “citizenship education”. First, American students have learned “judgment” since they are elementary school students. For example, they study “the fear that they vote without understanding the details”. In other words, they learn that if they decide by only their feelings without understanding the contents and vote, they fall into “a trap of voting”. Secondary, they have leaned “a point of voting”. Especially teachers focus on about current affair issues. Students are not taught what the issue points, they practice to gather information through media and think carefully and construct issues. The government thinks that it leads to citizenship that actively participating in politics is a member of Americans. In these ways, federal government gives American children awareness as Americans by adopting citizenship education in America that is multi-ethnic group and multi-religious group.
I recognized the difference between Japan and America citizenship through this investigation. Japanese are easy to recognize that they are Japanese so they don’t actively win citizenship. On the other hand, there are many ethnic groups living in America so Americans need to communicate that they are Americans. So Americans have actively acquired citizenship. Nowadays immigrants and refugees are increasing in Japan. I think that Japanese people need to actively acquire citizenship.

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