by Kiyono Fujinaga
This summer I went to the United States for the first time in my entire life. I have lived and traveled to many countries but had never visited America before. I went to Berkeley, which I think must be one of the most pleasant places to go in the United States. The weather was perfect for studying outside, going running and getting tanned. Everywhere in Berkeley, people were friendly and always willing to help.
One of the most striking features about the University was that the students run the dorms. In my residence in Berkeley, the senior Cal students live with the summer students as residential assistances. They help us to sort out living issues, organize fun activities, and even consult our personal problems. Groups of kids also lived in our school residential area for the summer program. Every day I saw how Cal seniors took care of kids, planed games, led them to the dining hall for every meal. At the dining hall, I also saw students meeting every day to plan how to improve it. I believe helping others and being responsible for their own university has built great character in the Cal students, and I learned a lot from the their spirit.
Regarding my studies, one of the Linguistics course I took for the summer was quite unique as we were required to do a lot of group work. My classmates and I always enjoyed working together, but we had to be really careful concerning how we share our ideas. Even in group work assignments, we are instructed to explicitly cite the person who owns the idea. I have been aware of this issue as I’ve worked as a TA in the U-Tokyo Writing Center. Even though they cite from written sources well, UT freshmen tend to care less about citing when it is an idea from their working peers. When the new semester kicks off here in U-Tokyo, I would love to share my experience with freshmen.
Here is one remark from my friend at Cal with an appropriate citation!, “I always forget how helpful it is to work with others, there was so much I hadn’t even considered before working with you guys.” (Chandler) English is her first language and this is exactly one of the brilliance of linguistics – when non-native speakers give insightful observations that natives miss out about their language. I learned a lot from my courses and from my friends and Cal students in general, and I hope there were also things I was able to share with them as a summer visiting student. My summer experience in Berkeley even further enhanced my desire to enroll in Ph.D program in Linguistic Department in Berkeley. I am writing this report in between my GRE preparation. I will study hard, write a fine dissertation this year, and meet my friends in Berkeley again in next year. Thank you for the financial contribution to my summer, Friends of U-Tokyo ☺