By learning American culture with various aspects and meeting with ambitious people in W&M Keio cross cultural collaboration program, I can say in confidence that my way of thinking has changed positively. Two weeks have passed too fast but I could have fulfilling days. That was an irreplaceable and wonderful time.
I learned lots of interesting American culture from lectures. Race is something that is new to me to consider. The people who have different way of thinking living together in a country is something I could not imagine before because I was brought up in the mono racial society. However, I think being at the multi racial society is enviable experience because we can know various unique culture from different races. At the same time, I felt discrimination and segregation in the past are still the big issue in America. The incident happened in Virginia seem to represent what is still going on in America about the race issue. After learning about the race in America, “race” became one of the topics I want to learn more about. The culture in Multi-racial nation is deeply enmeshed and sometimes it is confusing but for this reason, I think multi-racial nation hold a respect in diversity.
During the program, I actually experienced how Americans respecting diversity. When I was asked to give opinions in Japan, what comes up to my mind first to think about is “ What is the best answer to this question?” or “What is the answer that professor wants to hear?” Pursuing the best answer to the question, I always forget what I was really thinking. I was not valuing my own opinions without noticing it. The first discussion class in the program however made me realized the importance of providing one’s honest opinions. To be honest, I didn’t understand what professor was trying to say in the lecture but I am not confident enough to speak up. And this is something that happens to me in Japan every time so I had no thought of asking question about it. Our CI, Ari said to us first, “ Everyone, just tell me what you feel about the lecture. Anything is OK.” Believe it or not, at the word from Ari, the Japanese mood shifted and everyone started to say his or her thoughts. And Ari acknowledged our questions and opinions with a polite nod. What I learned from this cultural difference is that Americans are tolerant and has high acceptance of opinions and people. And there is some kind of accepting atmosphere in the discussion. From this experience, I believe we express our thoughts by means of language. I keenly felt what is most extremely important is not saying the correct answer but developing the ability of self-expression. I realized that expressing oneself in foreign language is necessary for me to broaden my world and views. I was able to realize that that is especially why I want to acquire the English skill. From now on, I’ll be true to myself and respect my opinions, and not requiring the correct answer too much.
After the program, I am full of what I want to do and learn. Things I want to learn more about the US other than race is the cultural difference between West coast of United States and East coast of United States. I’m sure that there are unique differences between them and I want to visit each of the states to actually feel and experience. Furthermore, I am now interested in contemporary American society and economy. Specifically, I want to learn how American society works by the aspect of the American economy, which is sustained by a number of big companies. I want to visit some big companies in America such as GOOGLE, Apple, and Amazon…etc. In the program, I have learned various American historical cultures so I am now curious about how American society evolved over a long period of time.
I attended English immersion school and educated in English for 9 years but I didn’t have opportunity to use my English in English speaking countries until this program. I had known America from the media and other resources but spending much time in the field, talking with native English speakers, and experiencing American culture in America touched my heart. I was paused to realize the importance of going and seeing things with one’s own eyes and having firsthand experience.
Lastly, I truly want to thank everyone who supported me during the program and provided me an invaluable opportunity as a leader of this CCC program. They are all warm hearted, gifted, friendly, and compassionate. I’m grateful for the encounter. I guess I took the first step toward my future by participating this program and meeting wonderful people. I sincerely think that it is my pleasure to be part of W&M Keio CCC program 2017. I am already missing everyone but looking forward to seeing again in the near future.