In the Pursuit of Culture, History and Architecture in Central Europe, Hungary
We had many opportunities to enjoy the program with Hungarian students, and the experience helped me develop in several respects. Of course, I learned a lot from the lectures, but I think I learned more from the Hungarian students, both directly and indirectly.
Through them I was able to see a part of Hungary, and understand what the country is actually like. Compared with Japan, I found similarities as well as differences. Hungarian students were full of hospitality, hardworking, and a little bit shy. My impression was that they seemed to be more similar to Japanese people than to Americans. I found it interesting that Japanese and Hungarians share some experiences in childhood, as we both watched Japanese anime and read Japanese manga when we were younger. Japanese culture has had a bigger influence than I expected and it was an opportunity to appreciate Japanese culture again. I think that the biggest difference is that Hungary is exposed to other countries. I understood that immigration was actually a big issue for them by participating in an active debate about it during a lecture. I aquired new perspectives and I realized that the issue was a familiar one. That is why I am interested in immigration and discussed it in my essay. I used to not pay attention to immigration problems even though there has been discussion about whether accepting immigrants into Japan is a good solution to our decreasing population.
I learned the joy of trying to communicate with people from different cultures. I found out that my English being poor is not such a big problem when I go abroad and make friends with those who live there. It was my first time to communicate with non-native speakers in English. I think international communication is similar to this since there are more non-native speakers of English than there are native speakers in the world. I realized that I should be more careful about what I percieve about others. When I talk with Japanese people, I mainly pay attention to what I say. However, when talking with people in a different culture, the way you talk and the context are really important. Information that is not spoken, and only implied by context is also important. If I really wanted to communicate, I found that it was not so difficult. On the contrary, I became confident when talking with foreign people. As the next step in this journey, I will keep improving my English.
I also aquired the motivation to study harder by watching the hardworking students I met on the program. I was impressed that some of them had prepared for the presentation beforehand. The notebooks for studying Japanese that some students showed me were also impressive. All the students were very willing to learn and understand different cultures. I realized that I have to work harder and more actively. I had some opportunities to talk with the Hungarian students about dreams and our futures, and it encouraged me to continue developing myself even after I return to Japan.