Through this program, my image against the U.S. is changed. At the first image, I thought that American people like to machine-gun talk and they dislike the wrong English, and due to of the image, I was a little bit anxious to speaking English. However, in America, there are various people and they get different education. Therefore, they do not care about how to speak and the grammar than I had thought. Moreover, they tend to listen carefully to what I say, and reply quickly. This is one of surprise things for me. Second, the diversity makes strong influences on their lifestyles than I have thought. When our focus group went to restaurant to eat pizza, I surprised to see the build system. People can choose various cheese, meal, and vegetable, and they make the favorite pizza through this system. In Japan, most people only choose menu and enjoy eating. People do not need to choose their flavor, and cook makes effort to make delicious food menu. Therefore, I found that American diversity has strong influences on their lifestyle even their food, and that is the second point that my perception changed.
Regarding the most important things, I learned that American people put emphasis on their history. During walking the Slave Trail in Richmond and visiting Washington D.C., I saw many monuments and museums, and I realized that they respect and understand the history. On the other hand, in Japan, some people do not seem to respect or understand history, because they have to learn history only in order to pass the entrance examination. Not only that, I found that American presidents also respect the history and most of them like to reading books. When I visited the Library of Congress, I found that the presidents of America, especially Thomas Jefferson, really understand the history and they gain some schemes from the history. Therefore, what I learned as the most important thing through this program is their attitude toward history.
After finishing this program, I have interest in education in the US. Before taking part in this program, I heard that American students have to discuss after lectures. If some of the students do not say anything in the discussion, they are regarded as negligence. During this program, I realize that American students can easily say their opinions, questions and additional explanation about the lectures. Interestingly, not only that, I found that they read much more books than Japanese students, and the university also has a lot of books. In Japan, most students focus on learning the contents of the lectures and they do not like reading books. Through this summer program, I realize the American education makes the students reading a lot of books, and I want to learn about American education.
Interestingly, I found the difference of souvenirs as a cultural observation in the US. During this program, I was looking for some stores, which sold some cookies or chocolate as souvenir for Japanese friends or my family. However, in the US, most stores for souvenir did not sell cookies and chocolate, which is famous and favorite for Japanese people, but sold key ring, watch, book, T-shirts, Mug, and so on. Through this experience, I found that American people like different and various things as the souvenirs while Japanese people like cookies, chocolate, and some local food as the souvenirs. This is an interesting cultural observation for me.