First of all, I would like to thank to “Japan Society Michinoku Scholarship” for visiting a small town called Dayton in the State of Washington. It is located east south of the state, in which about 2,000 people live. I was surprised that there are only one supermarket and one grocery store in the town. To go shopping, we have to spend a half an hour driving to the nearest town. My host family has a pen in their huge premises. Milking goats, collecting chicken eggs and feeding the cows was immediately my routine.
There are four members in my host family: Father, mother, and four children. I was the eldest in my brothers and sisters. As soon as I arrived in Dayton, they treated me as if I was a family member, which I appreciate very much. I won’t forget playing card games, working in the garden, playing sports with them.
Dayton High School, where I went to, is the oldest public high school in the state. It has about 200 students. The school is in the center of the city, and I had to take the school bus that came to the nearest bus stop at 6: 40 a.m., which made me an early riser. My host brothers and sisters stay home without going to school and my host mother teaches them all subjects. On the very first day of Dayton High School, I was alone and very sad, but everyone around me was so kind that I could make a lot of friends.
One of the most impressive things at Dayton High School was participate in the prom. Little did I expect that I would ever attend the dance. Since they wear a formal dress, I wore a tuxedo for the first time in my life. We danced the night away, which was one of my unforgettable memories in my life.
Another thing to remember was join the basketball team. One of the biggest reasons I applied for the AFS Study Abroad Program was, actually, play basketball in the States. Since they were far better players than I had thought, I often got depressed but I made a lot of friends through basketball.
Here I should like to mention that the most memorable event with my host family was Christmas. It is customary that each family member buys a present to themselves. I bought as many Christmas gifts as ever and I received the most presents in my life.
During my stay in the States, I visited Seattle twice, which is six hours away from Dayton by car. For the first time, I went sightseeing with my liaison partner. For another occasion, I went to watch a soccer game with my friends. Also, I had a chance to visit Los Angeles and Hollywood with my host father.
Looking back my American life, I cannot say all of my experiences are not always good and interesting. Every time I faced such difficulties, however, I learned that intercultural exchange is very complicated and difficult. Despite such experiences, I was able to deepen my interest in international issues while I realized how wonderful Japanese culture is. I am now very grateful to those who enabled my stay in the U.S. and enriched my American life for their constant help and kindnesses. I’ll do as much as I can to broaden my outlook remarkably.
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