国際未来を切り開く社会性と創造性、そして、人類普遍の知性に富む人間を育成する

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Report on UCLA Study Abroad Program (Maiko Higa)

School of Business Administration 2nd. years Maiko Higa

1. Improvement of English Skills

➔ How I improved my English

[About Class] ➔ Intermediate Prep  : Contents

♦ We talked about the Issue of Life and Death.
♦ We practiced grammar
♦ We thought about sentences using simple past tense.
♦ We practiced vowel pronunciation and usage.
♦ We all read the story given by the teacher and role-played it.
♦ We studied business English.
♦ We all practiced the method of greetings visitors during business transactions.
♦ We watched a TV show called Friends and discussed the content.

[What I learned in this class]

We learned basic English and business English in this class.

In the basic English class, we learned that everyone in the class can communicate and talk, rather than solving grammar questions. Our teacher said every day “Don’t be nervous”. Japanese people are nervous and are characterized by avoiding communication with other people. I thought it was a chance to improve my English without getting nervous. So I kept communicating without being shy. We also learned how to pronounce and use vowels sounds in this class. I was not confident in pronunciation, but we practiced improving it. For example, we listened to our teacher many times and imitated his mouth movements. As I repeated it again and again, my pronunciation was being improved. But that’s not all. We reviewed of pronunciation in English when talking with friends, for many hours during break time, after school, etc.

One day, at the beginning of a class, we took the word “cooperation” up, thought deeply about the meaning of it, and realized what the word really means. Since then we cooperated with each other. And then we read the story given by our teacher and played it with everyone in the class. I was able to learn a lot there. We learned to help each other to understand the meaning of unknown words in the story.

Next, in business English classes, I think there were a lot of useful things for my job in the future. For instance, we thought about what we had to do first when dealing with overseas companies. Then we made a group in the class and had a discussion. As for me the discussion is, one of my weakest points because I don’t like to express my opinion, but I had a good experience with this program, using English. Then I felt that my English skills were improving and growing day by day.

We watched a TV show called FRIENDS, one of the famous TV shows in America. I was able to learn about American culture from this TV show. Because all explanations were in English. I could hardly understand anything. Nevertheless, this drama was very suitable for me to study English because of its many gestures.

➔ Discover LA  : Contents

◆ Rules & Requirements
◆ Preliminary Lessons
◆ Beverly Hills
◆ The Getty Center
◆ Hollywood
◆ Venice Beach
◆ Museum Row

[What I learned in this class]

[Venice Beach]

We interviewed a lot of people at Venice Beach, so that we could practice speaking and listening in English. Venice Beach was full of tourists and locals. While we were being there, we interviewed three people. We were very tense at first, but only because we had been nervous. Sometimes it was hard to ask questions, but they understood most of what we tried to say. Even if we used the wrong English words. I was able to speak to some of the people without being super nervous. I have realized that my comfort of English has grown significantly.

[Hollywood]

In Hollywood we took a tour guide. The guide told us the history of the place, although it was somewhat difficult because he was a native English speaker. I found that my English listening skills quickly increased throughout my time in Hollywood. At the Chinese Theater, the sign and names of Hollywood stars were left on the ground. And then, I thought I wouldn’t be able to see this scene in Japan, so I took many pictures.

[The Getty Center]

At the Getty Center I was able to see old American artwork. It was very touching. And later when I got out of the Getty Center, I saw a beautiful garden spread out. The scenery there gave me a very strong impression. The cherry blossom trees there were also very colorful and I took pictures there.

2. About babysitters in the USA

[Motivation]

The reason why I chose this theme is to find the means and the solution of the social problem in Japan, about fewer advances of the women progresses. The women in Japan were very difficult to continue their works after they gave birth of children, because it had been thought that mothers should take care of their babies and infants by them. This situation has not much improved nowadays.

It is the utilization of babysitter service that may be one of the best solutions against this social problem. However, the spread of babysitters has not been advancing very much in the current society of Japan. Those comfortable usage has not been even known. And then also this is serious social problem facilities of the nursery.

In contrast, the availability of babysitters is high in the United States, while many people are compatible with work; they seem to do child care. That’s why, I investigated how it had been enforced in the US where babysitter usage is high. And because I wanted to investigate the current situation, I asked for the opinions of experienced people, and clarify the benefits and problems.

[Interview results ]

I interviewed about one hundred people at UCLA. From the results of the questionnaire, eighty people were students and the others were working people.

Few people responded that they had actually used a babysitter. Many people have never used one. Some of them answered they didn’t know about babysitters.

Many people answered other when they asked when they used babysitters.

The most common answer on how to find a babysitter is that it was through an introduction. The number of people who responded “internet” and “others” was the same.

This survey shows that, among those who answered “NO” and used a babysitter, no problem ever occurred.

From this result, it can be seen that everyone relies on self-introduction. In the areas, many said they would rely on family and friends.

There were many people who answered that they had “NO” children. The reason was that there were many people who were students from the first questionnaire result.

What is the reason for not using babysitters? In response to this question, few respondents answered that babysitter usage fees were high.

[What I learned from this survey]

This time, I had the opportunity to go to the United States for overseas training, and I was able to investigate the babysitters I wanted to study in the United States. Japan currently has a problem of declining birthrate and aging population, and we are promoting measures to reduce the birthrate as nursing homes increase. Looking at the situation in Japan in recent years, even if the number of children increases, the environment for increasing nursery school is not in place. Also, while the number of parents working in Japan is increasing, babysitter usage rate is low. From a social perspective, there are few people who care about the public and usage of babysitters because there is a broad idea that parents should raise children. On the other hand, it is common to rely on a babysitter for a child because it is common in the United States. There is also a system in the United states for raising children throughout society. When I actually surveyed the usage rate of babysitters in the USA, most of the respondents were students. So I couldn’t get the opinions of people who actually experienced it. But I heard some opinions from middle-aged women, so I understood a little how to use babysitters. I thought that I should continue this survey to increase the spread of babysitters in Japan.

3. [About cultural exchange]

In my shared life, I was able to make the most of the blessed learning environment. As for how I improved my international sense, I went out of the dormitory, talked with indigenous people from various countries in the school cafeteria. It was a great time for me. I tried to do the most important thing when taking communication there. For example, I tried to smile and not be nervous.

I had a difficult time living in a different culture. And then I was able to find out how much my English proficiency was at the weekend activities there. I was really impressed with the cultural difference for three weeks. I think that I was able to make the time and space for understanding and being given a blessed cross-cultural experience as valuable as possible.

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