During this summer, I participated in “Intensive English for College Students” at Yale Summer Session. This course is designed to help non-native students to improve their academic English skills a lot. In this course, I took two required subjects: “Reading and Writing” and “Listening and Speaking,” and two elective subjects: “Pronunciation” and “American Popular Music.” In addition, I joined in some activities offered by Yale Staff and enjoyed hanging out with my classmates from other countries and traveling to several cities around Connecticut.
These classes gave me a lot of chances to improve my English skills. In “Reading and Writing” class, the teacher always encouraged every student to discuss interesting topics in the text, so I could get the opportunities to express my opinion in English in front of international classmates. Because I repeated to argue what I think in this class everyday, I overcame my fear whether I could use correct English or not. I got to give responding quickly priority over being correct about detailed grammar in real-time communication. Moreover, the teacher checked our writing quite carefully. Her advice let me notice my writing’s peculiarities to improve consciously. By the way, I learned the practical usage of English in “Speaking and Listening” class. I delivered a variety of presentations and organized several discussions in this class. In the final assignment, I gave 20 native speakers living around Yale campus interviews about Japanese impressions. I think this experience was so precious because I could know what American native speakers think about our nation and people with communicating to them frankly. In “Pronunciation” class, I learned how to make natural English sounds. I got to know most of Japanese speak English with the peculiar accents unconsciously, so I made my sounds more natural than before. However, I understood how difficult we made natural sound like native speakers at the same time.
Furthermore, I learned the difference between Japanese culture and others in this program. For one and a half months, I sometimes hung out with my classmates coming from other countries and communicated a lot about life styles, values, political opinions, race problems, the impressions of other countries and so on. I became to notice that Japan is one of small unique countries and that there are too many unknown facts and ways to think in the world. I also traveled to some cities around Connecticut. As I had never been to America, every travel gave me various kinds of impacts and I made interesting unforgettable memories.
I think I improved English skills to some extent, but this isn’t enough to express what I think exactly. I can take easy conversations, but I have difficulty in discussing serious issues deeply. What is most beneficial for me in this program is to learn how to study practical English effectively. Till I experienced this program, I didn’t know what skills we need to learn in order to communicate smoothly with foreigners including both native speakers and non-native speakers. Thus, I had aimed not at English as a communication method but at English as test results unintentionally before this program started. We should learn useful English for our daily lives. In addition, I made strong motivation to be able to communicate in English like Japanese. For now, I continue to study English steadily everyday.
As for the international exchange, I learned a lot of things from American culture and others. I took not only superficial information but also profound information introduced with direct communication. Then, I became to treat people coming from every country as the same men equally although I had definitely divided people between Japanese and non-Japanese before. I also could eliminate a sort of prejudice and stereotype from my mind. I recognized Japanese good points and bad points during my stay in America, so I have pride in our strengths and try to assimilate other countries’ advantages positively.
As a result, this summer program is quite beneficial for me in many respects. I hope I will play an important role internationally based on these experiences. Even if most of international challenges will be so hard, I want to keep my lively feeling right now. In addition, the experiences made me get interests in studying abroad in future. If I get the chance to apply to overseas universities, I should make as much effort to achieve my target of studying abroad as possible.
Finally, I really appreciate “Friends of UTokyo, Inc.” This scholarship gave me the beneficial experiences of studying English in Yale University. I will be trying to the experiences into something positive.