■I11 岩田圭果 アメリカ Grand Rapids Christian High School（2016年8月中旬～2017年3月末）
It has been 5 months since I came here. The weather here is pretty crazy because it is winter now, and sometimes it is as warm as spring.
It has been snowing since the day before yesterday. I made a big snow mountain with my host family.
At the beginning of January, I had a winterim which is able to experience other things, it is not like my usual classes.
I took 2 classes of fitness. So I was able to go to a lot of fitness centers.
It was really fun, but I think regular classes are more fun for me because I can talk to my friends and meet a lot of people.
In my school, we had a dance party called “snowball.” I went there with my friends, but actually I don’t know most of the people except my friends.
Although I don’t know many of them, they were still kind to me. I enjoyed spending time with them.
The dance party is from 8:30 to 11:30p.m though, I just stayed for about 2 hours.
A lot of people came and “danced”. They were just jumping and screaming. I felt that was a part of American culture.
The second semester started, so my classes are different from last semester. I got new teachers and new classmates. At first, I was a little nervous, but I think it was much better than the day when I first came to this school.
I’m trying to enter some events this semester. I started “forensics”. It’s a speech club that is able to join big contest. There are so many kinds of speech or story-telling. I decided to do “oratory” which is about some political issues and global issues. I can’t join every contest because I’m going to leave here at end of March, but the teacher is trying to let me make speech. And if I can finish making this speech and remember it, then I can join a contest. The speech that I’m trying to make is about Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. So in the future, I’m hoping I can speak somewhere about it by using this speech. I’m still making an outline right now though.
I’m also doing a campaign about elimination of nuclear weapons including atomic bombs. 15 people signed up for this but I’m still collecting signatures. I was afraid of collecting signatures because the US military dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, and I don’t know how people think of it. But my teachers and friends usually give me their signatures except if they have some privacy. I am glad being able to do that, and I will try to collect more than 100 before I go back Japan.
I feel this January passed so quickly. I can’t believe it is February now. I’m still struggling in classes and sometimes with friends, but my host families are so kind, they love Japanese food that I made. I am very grateful to be on this exchange. Sometimes I’m still disappointed with the way how I resolve things, I am sure not only I am getting better at English, but also getting better as a person.
■I11 伏木彩澄菜 オーストラリア Citipointe Christian College（2016年7月中旬～2017年6月末）
Last month, I was very excited when the school holiday ended, because I could see my friends again, meet new students and start new classes.
Firstly, I met my friends again. My friends were already at school when I arrived. I was so happy and glad to hear about their holidays. Most of my friends spent their school holidays in their own countries. My Chinese friend gave me a Chinese present, it was an iPhone case. However, I was quite sad because my other friends left International College at the end of the last term. They got enough credits to go to mainstream and one of my friends went back to Japan. She studied English for a year just like me.
Secondly, there were many new students in the classroom. I was asked to translate what teachers said from English into Japanese for new Japanese students. It was not only translation, but it was also an important welcome. I know how new students were feeling so I tried to talk to them gently. I explained to them about this school and guided them at break time. I learned and thought about a lot of things from experience. It was difficult for me to translate into Japanese. I could understand what my teachers said in my mind, but I couldn’t explain that in Japanese. I’m not good at Japanese even when I was in Japan. Furthermore, I speak Kansai dialect, but they speak standard Japanese. In Japan, I first had to learn more Japanese before I learn English. I thought a language barrier was difficult – even Japanese! I also reflected on the half year I have spent in Australia. When it was the first time for me to go to school, I was so nervous and I didn’t understand what my teachers were actually saying, so Japanese students translated for me. At that time, I admired them and they were my motivation. I was happy that the new students told me it didn’t seem like I’ve been in Australia for only six months. I hope I was incentive to the new students just like my translators were when I first came to the school, because now my English has improved.
After translating, I was called to an unfamiliar room. I wondered what was going on. I was tested without notice and I changed class the next day! I got upset because of this unexpected result. But now I’m learning English for Math’s and Science, and I was allowed to learn a subject in mainstream. Nowadays, I’m very busy because of a lot of homework. I’m given three hours of homework every day, and study for about five hours after school. I’m always pressured by my homework. I realized I had been so lazy for a couple of months, because I was given three hours homework but I was always able to do this quickly. Now since I moved to the new class, I have extra work to do. I know how to do work properly now, so I can do my best every time.
I think I have started this term well. Not only I enjoyed studying but also I enjoyed going out with my friends. My teachers taught me, “Sowing the right thing leads to reaping the right thing. Your mind is a garden and your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.” These phrases are my mottoes at the moment, so I’ll study hard for the next four months until I come back to Japan.