国際交流センター|文京学院大学

国際交流センター|文京学院大学

文京学院大学トップページ研究センター・機関|国際交流センタートップページお知らせ【アメリカ】セントベネディクト・セントジョンズ大学 交換留学修了レポート③

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文京学院/EVENT RSS

【アメリカ】セントベネディクト・セントジョンズ大学 交換留学修了レポート③

[ カテゴリ:トピックス ]

06月

6日

2022

留学先    :College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University    
学部・学科  :外国語学部 英語コミュニケーション学科 国際ビジネスコミュニケーション専攻     
留学期間   :2021年8月31日~2022年5月10日           
氏名・学年  :L・Dさん(留学時期:2年生後期-3年生前期) 



Study Abroad Experience

School: College of Saint Benedict/ Saint John's University

Period: August 31, 2021 - May 10, 2022

    It has been almost three weeks, and I still reminisce every single moment of my study abroad journey. From the struggle, we went through at the beginning of August getting lots of papers ready at the last minute to all the precious memories I made with the wonderful people I met. Even with the tough readings and writing I have done, I miss it, which is weird because I hated those when I was there. Things that I thought were nonsense for me also stuck in my head showing how these nine months were worth it and proving that I made the right decision to join this school and apply for this program. This journey made me realize a lot of things about myself and the place where I live.

     First of all, college life was different from what we experience here in Japan. The bond each student has with each other and also with their professors was marvelous. As I mentioned, I had difficulties adjusting to the education system in the U.S., especially with the number of readings and writings they gave for homework. However, the close relationship that the professors have with the students helped me a lot in adjusting to the American education style. As opposed to Japanese professors, American professors are often more open, including in their personal lives, which allows students and professors to become closer and approachable when students need help. I loved how students casually talk to the professors not just about school but also about their private life. Hearing the professor sharing about their weekends, and lives, and merely seeing students casually calling the professor's name and hugging them makes me feel how easygoing the people are in the U.S. and that made me feel relieved to approach the professor anytime I have a question. The most surprising interaction I saw between students and professors was when I went to a football game. The professor was also having fun cheering the team and students shouted the professor's name and wrapped their arms around the prof saying jokes as if they were friends. It may be a culture shock at first sight but I was jealous of the relationship they had. Schools in Japan often do not have this kind of relationship because respecting elderly people and high power distance are common in Japanese culture. Most professors are unapproachable and joking around is out of the question. Thus even if I had a question, I often wondered if it was appropriate to ask, and ended up not being able to ask it. On the other hand, the professors in the U.S. were very friendly, and I can easily ask them anything, no matter how trivial it may seem. I was surprised to see people asking easy questions or even just repeating what the professors said to clarify that their understanding was right. In Japan, asking a question about what the professors explained shows that they were not listening to their lecture and are seen as disrespectful and impolite, however, in the U.S., people generally do it, and professors kindly answer it with no hesitation. This openness helped me with my studies and even with my daily life. It made me realize that we should not be ashamed of asking but we should be ashamed of not asking.

    Another struggle I had was adjusting to the low-context culture. Since America has the opposite culture from Japan, they are used to vocalizing everything, and reading between the lines wasn't common. When I first came I expected people to give us special treatment or at least call us out when we are having a discussion so that we can join in easily. However, since everyone loves talking and if we do not tell them that we are struggling and we need help, people will not do anything and they will keep going on with the conversation. At first, it was stressful because I thought it was normal that they should know we are struggling without mentioning it since we are exchange students, but I guess that was just a cultural thing too. I was trapped in the culture I grew up in and it prevented me from adapting to a new culture. However, I overcame this by making this situation a game where I decide at least how many times I am going to speak once a day, and if I cannot, there will be a punishment. This motivated me and the culture itself became a practice to speak for myself and be independent which I thought I had but turned out I did not at all. Not just in school activities but also when making friends, it is important to initiate the first move. You have to ask them out and you have to actively participate in extracurricular activities. Since everyone lives on campus, many people participate in those events so it will be a great opportunity to make lots of friends and to practice English by vocalizing all the knowledge you have and asking friends for help.

    Last but not least, these nine months made me realize that my identity was being shaped by the social norm in Japan where people are trapped by stereotypes. Since Japan is full of rules, such as clothing, behaviors, and appearance, it was hard for me to be myself or to figure out who I really am because of the fear of being judged. However, the freedom I had in the U.S. gave me a chance to do soul searching and embrace myself to the fullest. At first, I had difficulty challenging new things and was shy most of the time, but my friends' words gave me courage. " Nobody cares, just be you", it may seem harsh to some people but hearing this word from many people pushed me from my comfort zone and helped me with no hesitation. There will always be cheers for you, no matter what you do, even if you make a mistake and feel ashamed, and this atmosphere gave me comfort to do anything I want and made me love myself more. There is so much emphasis on self-love and self-awareness in the U.S. that there are events where students will do activities to practice self-love, and that struck me as being pretty cool since it gives us an opportunity to make positive behavioral changes that can result in greater personal and interpersonal accomplishment.

    I will conclude this report by leaving advice that I believe everyone should hear. Firstly, if you are hesitating to study abroad because you are scared then you shouldn't be. This paper itself will guarantee that you will not lose anything. In fact you will gain a lot. Studying abroad is not just a place to learn English, it is a place for you to figure out about yourself and your country as well. Secondly, For students who are going to study abroad, get out of your comfort zone and seize every moment and encounter. Time really flies by so do not waste it by staying inside the box. It is your chance to think outside the box and do anything you want with no judgment of others. As long as you're not doing illegal, keep trying new things, and be exposed to U.S. culture.


GASP3.jpg

    This is a photo I took when I went to a party with my friends. As I mentioned earlier in the report, this was one of the moment where I initiated the first move and ask my friend to help me meet new people. When I open up to my friend that I was struggling making friends since everyone has their own circle already, she invited me to a party with no hesitation and introduced me to lots of her friend. This move I made changed my life and made my stay more fun. Looking forward to hearing you guys' experience!

GSI(Global Studies Institute)オフィス(国際交流)


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