Through this program, I was able to experience many things that I cannot do in Japan. I was able to experience directly American culture through eating foods with PAs, listening to professor’s lectures, and so on. Especially, I am going to introduce two things that I was able to experience in United States through this program.
First one is about me. In this program, I had many opportunities to express my opinions in front of people. I have always been shy, but in this program, I was able to speak up many times. There were many activities that I felt like I was able to grow. For example, focus group activity, dialog class, and professor’s lecture. In focus group activity, I had many opportunities to talk in English, because my focus group 5’s PA was Crissy and she doesn’t understand Japanese, so we had to talk in English all the time. At first, I felt it was hard to communicate in English, but I realized that it was easier than I thought little by little. At the end, I was able to discuss and communicate in English with members naturally. In dialog class, I learned that I can say anything that I want in discussion class. Before this program, as I said that I am shy, it was hard for me to speak my feelings or opinions in front of people. However, during dialog classes, I was able to speak my opinions and ask professors some questions in front of people. Moreover, I was able to learn many information about United States from Chris who was our leader of dialog class. In professor’s lecture, I was able to learn many kinds of American cultures about food, race, city, business, American Indian, religion, and online activism. The lecture that I thought most interesting is about hashtag history and online activism, because I often use Instagram, so this theme was very familiar to me and easy to understand.
Next, I am going to talk about what I thought about racism in United States through this program. At William and Mary University, I listened to professor’s lecture about racism in United States. There were many contents that I didn’t know before, for example, the percentage of black people. In United States, there are 30 percent of black people in Williamsburg, 50 percent in Richmond. The most thing that I was surprised to hear was about that there are only 11 or 12 percent of black people on the whole in Unites States. This was very surprising information for me because I was thinking that there are more black people in whole United States. There is one more thing that I thought in United States. That is, there are more black people than white people who is working at luxury stores. I don’t know why, but I found that I can feel about race more closely in United States than in Japan.
In conclusion, through this program, I was able to speak my feelings and opinions in front of people positively, and all PAs and CIs who supported me were very kind and nice people, so I was able to spend great time and I love them very much. Moreover, I was able to learn about race directly. I want to go back to Williamsburg someday.