It has been more than two weeks since the William and Mary/Keio Cross-Cultural Collaboration program was over. That 15 days were literally amazing. Now I’m writing this final journal, looking back memories in Williamsburg and Washington D.C. Today, I’d like to write about some of the impressive things, that I went through as a final assignment, and hope it will help me remembering the precious time in the U.S.
Sharing time with William and Mary students, all of the PAs and CIs, and being a student of there for two weeks became unforgettable experiences. It was so nice to meet everyone. They all are so open and friendly so I really enjoyed talking with them. Through those conversations, I realized that how William and Mary students are passionate about study and think deeply about it. I had considered myself as a hard worker until I joined this program. Actually, I was working hard, but what I was doing was carrying out things that I need to do, without contemplating. In lectures, dialogue classes, focus group works and even during chatting, PAs and CIs gave us questions like, ‘Why do you think so?’ or ‘What are you thinking about?’. Sometimes I was not able to say anything aloud not because I didn’t understand the topics nor questions, but because I couldn’t come up any opinions. This might be hard for American students to understand. In Japan, however, it happens I think. Since I haven’t been asked to say anything in classes in Japan, all I have to do is to listen what the teachers say and try to understand. So I’ve completely lost a habit to ‘think’. It sounds like so superficial but that is exactly how I’ve learned things for several years. I have no idea if it is related the national traits or not, but now I am hundred percent sure that I could not have noticed the importance of ‘thinking’, if I had not been there.
Another thing that I like to keep in mind is how I observed diversity in American culture. I study world history including American history so I did know that America is culturally and historically diverse. However, that was more than I expected. Professors of William and Mary delivered the lectures about several kinds of diversities in the U.S. I realized that almost all of the American issues are related to them, especially racial diversity. Since I actually had experience of staying the west coast of the U.S. and spent time with people who live there, I thought I had enough understanding about the issue. But that was my first time to go to south-east region, and the my image of America completely changed. For example, In west coast, I saw more Asians. I’m not sure it is relevant but sometimes I felt like people are curiously watching us. I didn’t feel bad and I didn’t consider it as a racism, I just realized the differences. To see the good side of that, I believe this experience will certainly help me with making up my mind where and what to study in the future. However, the incident happened in Charlottesville, the attack of KKK, was very shocking thing to me. I couldn’t believe that awful violent like that still exist in America. What was worse, President Trump didn’t sincerely deal with it. This point also became one of my interests about the U.S., about the President Donald Trump. It seemed obvious that his thoughts are extreme and crazy. His insistences sound always related to White-Man power to me. Then, why he was elected? That is my biggest question these days. I still don’t have the answer of that, but I felt like I’ve seen the part of the racial conflicts in America. I guess the circumstance surrounding the U.S. will change dramatically. Whether it’s good way or bad way, (I’m afraid it supposed to be bad way though) I will keep an eye on that.
I had so much fun sharing time with all of the PAs, CIs and Keio students. How time flies, two weeks was too short and good things happened in the blink of an eye. But thanks to everyone who became my companies, I’m pretty confident that I was able to make the most of them and have awesome experiences that I’ll never forget in my life. I appreciate everything. I don’t want to say good-bye, I just say see you again sometime and somewhere in the future!