Intercultural Communication Center (ICC)Waseda University

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Participant Report: Reflections on the ICC Online English Conversation Program

Hanaka Suda
2nd Year
School of Social Sciences

I joined this program because I wanted to be able to speak English better and make foreign friends. I was successfully matched with Lena, who attends Monash University in Australia. Her parents are Japanese, so she has the ability to speak both Japanese and English fluently. We held sessions using Zoom about once a week and continued to keep in touch via LINE. She had a very cheerful, friendly personality which allowed me to have fun conversations with her despite my limited English.

In the Zoom sessions, we enjoyed talking about how we spent the week, university class content and about each other’s family and national culture. Also, on LINE, we enjoyed sending photos to each other of places we went and delicious food we had eaten. (The pictures of the sun setting in Australia were very beautiful!)

I like chatting with my friends very much, but I didn’t have the opportunity to speak English in my day-to-day life. When I began the Zoom sessions with Lena, I hesitated a little about speaking in English as I had difficulty translating what I wanted to say. However, Lena encouraged me by saying, “It’s okay! Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, let’s practice together and gain confidence!” I felt very reassured. I learned to listen and speak English little by little with each session.

Also, her wonderful friends sometimes participated in the Zoom and I was able to talk with them. Everyone was kind and had an interest in Japan, asked questions, and told me about life in Australia so I was able to have a wonderful time. I was also impressed to be able to communicate with foreigners living so far away even though I was in Japan.

Lena often supported me, and I was also glad to hear her say, “I’m happy to make Japanese friends!” She is planning to come to Japan when she can travel, and we promised to go eat fluffy pancakes together then 🙂

After meeting Lena, I learned about foreign cultures and my own way of thinking expanded. I’m very grateful to her. By participating in this program, I became more interested in foreign countries, and it made me want to try many more things. I’m so glad I participated in this program. Everyone, please join us!

Photo by Lena Sumiyoshi

Photo by Lena Sumiyoshi

Photo by: Lena Sumiyoshi

 

Place

明治神宮

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