My summer experience in this program has changed how I look at the world. It has given me a different perspective on DC, and a greater appreciation for the new friendships and the experiences we have shared together.
My favorite activity was the visit by the Pulitzer Center. The activity we did with them caused me to notice things about DC that I have never noticed before. One thing includes how much history has been preserved in DC and how every person has a story. We were assigned the task of taking 2 photos of DC, 1 of something familiar and another of something that we never noticed before. I was surprised by how little information I knew about the place I called home. In my head, I thought that I knew everything that there was to know. I was completely wrong! I learned that DC was a center of spreading ideas and a catalyst for change.
Another experience that will always stick with me was our brief time with G. He was able to connect us all with words. We had to form a circle, each person said they were powerful, but there was a catch. Each one of us had to say it louder than the person before us until someone was shouting it. I was nervous, but standing there together all laughing and getting to know each other caused me to feel powerful. This wasn’t because I just said it but by hearing it get louder one person at a time. I learned that together a group of strangers can become friends and our voices are stronger together than separate.
Another activity was when we played an icebreaker that showed all the things we had in common. This taught me that the words that come out of my mouth have to be honest, because if your words are powerful, then they have the ability to contain emotions and feelings that connect people. I want to connect nations and to do so by seeing that underneath all the differences are in culture. I had this idea, that in order to change the world that you have to be the best person at what you do. I have come to understand that you just must try your hardest.
When I think about going to Japan I get a little fidgety from the anticipation. Learning Japanese culture, personally, is something that this program has made aware to me. During our time in Chinatown with the Japanese students we had an awesome time even though it was raining. I remember Takuya’s infatuation with soul food and Ken’s astonishment when he found out that walking on a red light was common in DC. Their moments captured what it means to step out of normal life and experience a side to life that you do not understand.
When facing something new the first time it is challenging. This is a humongous challenge, but conquering of my fear of flying is something that I am looking forward to. Shun, my host brother, has told me how much he liked learning about hip-hop culture and we talked about how Naruto is coming to an end. We are still getting to know one another better and we will continue to. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet all 12 TOMODACHI and I am looking forward to staying connected.
In conclusion, my experience with everyone I met and everything I have done with them, was the greatest experience of my life time. It allowed me to see how different people are but also how they are the same, even if they are from a different country. This experience has taught me so much about myself, it allowed me come out of my comfort zone and embrace diversity. I can truly say that this experience has helped me grow as a person, student, and friend.
School Without Walls