jounal5 Yuka Kawashima

The 16 days I spent in America seemed short, but I could have a very strong experience.

I learned a lot about cultural difference between Japan and America. Of course, I was able to learn these from many lectures we took part in. However I also learned a lot from my daily life in America. For example, the custom of chips, the glass of water reserved in restaurants are unusually large compared to Japan, the number of channels on American TV programs are much more than that of Japan and so on. It was good to learn about cultural differences not only by learning in words but also by actually feeling the atmosphere.

One of the most memorable events in program is the church visit. I have never been to church because I am not a Christian. So when I went to church for the first time, I thought would it be accepted us, not American, to visit church and attend a morning service. But I was very impressed by the kindness of Christians. Many people in there accept us and treat us very kindly.

The W&M student who supported my focus group was Roger, so I have a strong impression of him. When I saw him communicating fluently with Americans, even though he did not grow up in America, I was very surprised and thought that I had to study English harder. I strongly want to be able to speak English.

We are taught to write literally correct English in Japanese school, but what I have learned in America is the importance of trying to communicate with even in a word or a lot of gestures. I often face the situation the conversation ends while I was thinking the correct sentence in my head.  I also very keenly aware of the passiveness of the Japanese students when they were asked to speak in lecture, and the assertiveness of the W&M students when asked to speak. I wonder why there are so big difference. So, of course, I became interested in American culture. And I want to study American politics in Keio university, but I was also interested in the difference in education from elementary school. I would like to know what kind of educational differences form people differently between Japan and the United States.

What I learned in the lecture is that the Japanese are insensitive to discrimination about skin color because there are no difference in skin color in Japan, and discrimination against women and racism are very difficult to solve.

It was difficult to improve my English in two weeks, but I will never forget the time I was spend with my friends who can count on. I was impressed by the time I went to the World War 2 Memorial in Washington. In Japan, there are such monuments only in Hiroshima and Okinawa, and no monuments in Tokyo, so it was impressive.

It’s an honor to meet precious friends in my freshman year of college. I’d like to continue to do my best based on this summer’s experience. I can not thank you enough for all of your support

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