By Carlos Ramirez
The time flies as the last minutes of the program seem to go down. Lately, I have been imagining what I would be with my life outside the program. It’s been a rough year. I had difficulties in my school (academically) and personal life. What the program did to me was giving a sense of family since I’ve been here in the US. Every time I went to the program I sensed a great feeling of community, outside learning a new language that is always a pleasant experience to better understand the variety of culture that this world could offer and the expansion of knowledge about Japan. However, even I have to say that my biggest motivation was not only learning the language but passing time with my peers. However, that does not mean that I went every Wednesday and Saturday to just talk.
I never expected to really, genuinely like a class as I did love Japanese Plus. Being surrounded with people who have the same likes as you, it feels comfortable. People who are really interested in learning like you. That sense of community, knowing if we get something wrong, we are going to be corrected from our peers. Be with people who think like you, and people who will support you because everyone wants to learn.
It is amazing to have this sense of community as the Japanese. Japanese people are more a community system, as Americans are more individualistic. I learned that making groups and hearing everyone’s expressions is really important, and that can lead to a great idea. I like that the program builds that sense. For me personally, I’m always being an individualistic person. This program taught me that I need to learn as others learn. It also taught me about friendship, cooperation, and unity.
This is the end of one chapter for a few of us. We have lost peers that for some reason decided to leave, but the sense of community is still there and now is stronger than before. I will miss everyone’s face from now on (at least in class). It was a great year with many smiles that I (most of the time) provoked. It was a safe space where everyone was the same but unique at the same time. Personalities have grown and most of our peers have experienced growth, thanks to the program. They were taught that everyone has a talent. However, even if you do not have the talent you want, we all have talents that complement us. In this class, no one is better than anyone. We are all the same but different at the same time. I am going to miss it, but encourage everyone to keep up the hard work. Keep having the community feeling, keep, keep being better, do not give up. Every day is a new day. Mina-sab Ganbatte! And Arigato!. Jyaa-ne! I will see you around.