I have been studying abroad at UCLA since last summer. Although I have had a lot of difficulties in living in a different country or in studying something in a non- native language, I have been doing this because studying in the U.S was always my dream. The reason why it was my dream is that I was attracted by how people are in the U.S. I grew up in Japan, which has only one major culture and one language. We were taught to be the same as other people in school. As one of the characteristics of Japanese culture, we are not expected to say something different from other people’s opinions much. On the contrary, Los Angeles is very different in that everybody is different from each other. It has variety of cultures. Every student at UCLA stands out. Everybody is expected to say everything they have in their mind.
Immersing into a different culture gave me a different way of thinking than the way I used to think before. Now I think I need to change how I act in class or in everyday life. Moreover, what I do in everyday life in the U.S is not special even though a lot of exchange students go somewhere they cannot go in their own countries and do something new. However, not doing special things makes me feel special to be here. I always hang out with my friends, do nothing special, and go to the same places. For me, it makes me very happy because it makes me feel as if I’ve been living here for a long time.
I think people do what makes them happy or do what is beneficial for themselves. No one wants to do what they don’t like to do. Sometimes we need to do what we don’t want to do, for example, study. However, considering our future, it is much better if we study now. Although I didn’t want to go to college before, I’m glad I went because going to college in Japan brought me to UCLA. I’m still in seek for what I should do in the future. I’m sure studying abroad at UCLA will widen my world, and it already changed my way of thinking and let me know why I am here.