By Natsuko Nagano, A.C.E. intern and University of Washington student
I lived in Seattle for 1 year, being an international student at University of Washington. Although that was my first time studying abroad, it resulted in one of my most wonderful and successful time in my entire life. I have had many lifelong friends from all over the world and great understanding of cross-cultural issues above all my efforts I put in with great enjoyment.
For the first few months, there were always trials and errors every time I took an action for something. For instance, when I asked for the direction to a bus driver, I couldn’t understand what he said before I asked him to say that again twice! I felt frustrated when I didn’t know how to respond naturally and properly when people talked to me. Furthermore, because everything in America is different from Japanese culture, it was exhausting for me to keep interacting with different people, which tempted me to get back to the Japanese surroundings that I feel comfortable best in and shut myself in the shell. However, things were looking up when I kept communicating with different people and knowing different cultures without giving up. I found myself feel comfortable living in America, and most importantly, I have felt connections with my friends from different countries at the emotional and personal level. Additionally, it contributed to my English improvement by leaps. Those factors led me to obtain great success.
I also intensively studied international business at UW, which reminds me of hard time in studying a specialized field in English. Throughout weekly presentations, long-hour lectures, and discussions with my classmates, I was able to acquired abundant knowledge and understanding on international business. In my internship experience, I learned many differences between American and Japanese workplaces and built personal networks. I’m sure that it may reflect on my future career.
Consequently, I would like to put an end of this study abroad on great success. I now feel much less frictions or barriers between people around the world and me and this experience is definitely brightening my life. In your country, they say English is, afterwards, simply a verbal communication tool, but I think it is a critical skill for you to expand your sense of the world and international insights. I’m certain that here in Seattle you can learn lots of revelations that you have never found in your country.