I have participated in Yale Summer Session, which offers summer courses for Yale students and non-Yale students. The reason I applied for this program was that I wanted to experience taking courses in one of the most prestigious colleges in the US and consider whether graduate study in the US would be the right choice for me. The five-week program at Yale not only fulfilled my expectation, but even exceeded it.
I took two courses: “U.S. Strategy After the Cold War”, which directly related to my major, and “Film, Video, and American History”, which was a completely new topic for me. Both of them gave me a lot of important insights. For the US strategy course, students were required to complete several readings and prepare critical reviews for each class meeting. These assignments were very hard, but made me realize how interesting it is to take time to deeply think about the most controversial questions in international relations. The film course gave me a completely new perspective, which tried to analyze films as records of history. Aside from my major, it was very interesting getting to know liberal arts education in the US.
Outside of class, Yale provided us with a variety of activities where international students could interact with each other. I enjoyed exploring the city of New Haven, going to museums, beaches, and outlet malls. These activities gave me chances to get to know people ranging from precollege students to PhD candidates from around the world. I was able to relax and enjoyed talking to these people on weekends.
I learned so much from this program when I think back about my time at Yale. Throughout the summer session, I struggled to keep up with my classes and tried hard to perform well. Speaking up in class was difficult at first due to my language incapabilities; however I gradually got used to discussion by preparing questions and opinions that I would bring up in class and purely by trying many times. Writing essays was another difficult task. I signed up for writing tutoring which helped me improve my academic writing. The fact that I was actually able to survive these five weeks was because my professors gave me words of compliment and encouragement, which made me more confident and proud of myself.
Yale Summer Session has been a truly extraordinary experience for me. I gained a lot both in and out of the classroom, moreover it was really enjoyable. My experience there strongly motivated me to pursue graduate education after some years of work experience. I will work hard to pursue my education and career so that someday I can return what I have gained to society. I express my sincere gratitude to the members of Friends of UTokyo, Inc. and those who granted, which made my wonderful experience possible.