This I Believe

Hitomi - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on April 19, 2006

“The Frog in the Well Knows Nothing of the Great Ocean”

I have been studying at a college in the U.S. for two and half years after I finished a six-month English course in New Zealand. I decided to study abroad because I wanted to improve my English skills. Speaking fluent English is my dream since I was little because it sounds so cool to me, and I always had dreams of communicating with the 514 million English-speaking people of the world. When I was in Japan, it was rare to see foreigners, since Japanese inhabit 99 percent of Japan; besides, I was living in a small town where it was highly unlikely to meet foreigners. Since I started studying abroad, I realize the importance of speaking another language and meeting various people from different backgrounds.

I believe in importance of going abroad to meet many kinds of people so that I can see the world from another point of view and share valuable experiences. I didn’t know anything about other countries even my own country, Japan. What I am most interested in is how other people view my country. Above all, Korean people have very strong feelings about Japan. I thought I already knew what Japanese people did in the past, as I loved to study history in my high school. I have made many Korean friends here, and what they always ask me is “What do you think about the relationship between my country and your country?” I knew Japanese people did some terrible acts to them that should never be repeated. I didn’t realize that the past is still a hot issue for many Koreans. Although many young Korean people accept the Japanese culture these days, many old generations still can’t forgive what Japan did more than fifty years ago. If I never went out of my country, I would never have known that.

I believe people in limited environments will not know the rest of the world.

Ever since I left my country, I have made many friends from all ages and backgrounds. I have gained practical experience and new philosophies that affect my whole life. Without this three- year experience, I would be the frog in the well, and I would not even realize I was in the well, or not even know how big the well was. If one has the courage to take the first swimming stroke to see the great ocean, then his or her life is going to change in a very positive way.