This is my fifth and last journal for William and Mary & Keio cross cultural program. In this journal I would like to share what I’ve learned by joining the whole program and what I’ve thought since I came back to Japan.
It has been 2 weeks since we’ve came back to Japan. I was very happy to meet my friends in japan again, but missing PAs and SAs in W&M a lot at the same time. In this exchange program, I made new friends, had great experience, learned a lot not only by attending lecture but also by participating in discussion. I certainly feel that experience of joining this program effected me in a very positive way.
I am glad that I made the decision to join the program few months ago. I think it is the best decision I made so far since I entered University. Keio offers us more than 10 program to chose from such as Oxford university, Cambridge university and more. Each program seemed interesting, but I’m very happy that I chose W&M from all the other option. I chose this program because I had been interested in American culture for so long, and I wanted to learn and experience what it is like to live in America.
I have been very interested in American culture since I was in preschool. I went to an International preschool so there were a lot of American teachers. We did trick-or-treating much earlier than it became common in Japan. I knew a lot of Christmas songs from America because we had Christmas concert every year. I still had been interested in American culture after I’ve grown up. I watched a lot of drama series and movies from America. Not only that, after entering Keio, I started to watch a lot of American YouTube channels and became interested in American life and culture more and more.
I definitely enjoyed every single moment of the program, however what I enjoyed the most was the discussion time with my dialogue class. Because I’m such a talkative and dramatic person, I love to share my thoughts and exchange opinion with others. I love brainstorming and I feel so happy when I discover a new point of view by learning others opinion. Sadly, in Japan, we don’t have much chance to have a discussion because most of the classes are lecture based where professor talks the whole time. Therefore, I was very happy when I discovered that we had a time when we could share our opinion. By joining the discussion in dialogue class, and talking with PAs, SAs and lecturers, I realized that American people I met all accepts opinion from other perspective. They even accepted counterarguments. Their acceptance and understanding made everyone who participated in the discussion feel that we could say whatever we felt, which lead to active discussion. Also everyone let us ask political or personal questions, which surprised me because in Japan most people feel offended when we were asked those kind of questions. I really liked how a lot of American people are open minded and how they always welcome question and others opinion. I wonder why there is a big difference between American discussion and Japanese discussion, and I really wish we had more chance of discussing in Japanese education! Educational system can’t be changed overnight. However, I can try to be an open minded and welcoming person like American people I met during the program. Whenever I had a chance of having a discussion with others, I will try my best to be an open minded and welcoming person because we’ve realized how that one person can make the discussion active and make it a safe place where everyone can share idea without being attacked.
Since I came back to Japan, I found myself paying attention when the TV news reports issue in the U.S. Because I’ve learned a lot about American culture during the program, it made me easy to understand the current issue in America. In addition, because now I am able to understand American issue deeply, I became more interested in American culture. Now I’m thinking of going to a University in overseas as an exchange student. I’m not sure it will be in America or not, but my experience of this project definitely made me interested in other cultures. I really want to say thank you to everyone who made my journey possible, and Williamsburg is definitely in my list of places I want to revisit soon!