Etsuo’s Corner: Sign off from Etsuo

Time has passed so fast and I cannot believe this column is my last one. Since I started writing articles, it has been 6 months and I have written 17 articles. In my last article, I would like to summarize my experience of my studying abroad.

I remember the moment I arrived at the airport. I was a little bit nervous and I thought my new life had started. But there was a problem. I needed to request a shuttle bus to the hotel but I did not have a phone and could not find a public phone. Then, a staff of the taxi desk helped me to make a phone call to the hotel and arranged a shuttle bus for me. It was my first time to experience that kind of American kindness.

In the orientation term, I met many students and I was surprised how friendly they were. Americans are said to be friendly and they were much friendlier than I expected.

At first, I didn’t know how to react with people because of the cultural difference but gradually, I learned how to shake hands and how to respond to “What’s up” or “How are you?” Although it feels comfortable now, it took long time for me to adjust to the American culture.

Once the classes started, catching up with lessons was hard because students talked very fast and I could not figure out what was going on. Then, most of the week, I visited professors during the office hour and asked a lot of questions. I really appreciate the professors who helped me and spent time with me throughout the year. Although it was hard to study in here, classes which I took were more interesting than classes I took in Japan. I might miss those classes when I go back to Japan and attend classes there.

Joining the cross country team and running with teammates were a very significant experience for me. I did not have the experience to run such a long distance before joining the team, so I remember how hard it was when I ran in the team for the first time. It was difficult to catch up with my teammates, even in the warm ups. When we started running, I was very late on the team. In that situation, they supported me, and I do not think I could have ran throughout the whole semester with their support. My relationships with teammates was also very important for me, and I spent very fun times with them. I am very glade to join the team and run together. I will never forget the time we ran and had a party together.

The experience of traveling around the U.S. was also a good memory for me. So far, I have traveled New York City, Miami, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles and Arizona. Everywhere I have visited, I was helped a lot of people and felt the kindness and hospitalities of the people.

The trip to Miami and Arizona to see the ballgames were the most memorable trip. Not only seeing baseball and players, I enjoyed talking with a lot of people in the ballpark. For me, many Japanese who come to ballpark focus on whether their team wins or not s. But in the U.S., I felt many people enjoy baseball for the show rather than focus on who wins or loses. I really liked the atmosphere of American ballpark and I would like to come to see ballgames again.

With a lot of support, I experienced the best exchange program for me and choosing Guilford was the best choice. Finally, I really appreciate all the staff in the Guilfordian who helped my column, especially editor Aarushi who edited my articles which included many errors. Without her support, I could not have done this column. I also appreciate Professor Cheryl Hatch who gave me an opportunity to go to Miami and write an article.

Thank you for reading my column. Thank you for all my friends and I hope you will visit Japan in the future. By the way, in 2020, the Olympic games will be held in Tokyo, so it might be a good chance for you to visit Japan.