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 ■ Comparison of the study experience in Tokyo and California

 Kawashima Lab, Tzu-Ying Lee

I am an international student whether in Tokyo or California. It was not difficult for me to accommodate myself to another country. Therefore I could enjoy the living and studying in the USA very quickly. When I checked in University of California, Irvine (UCI), I was surprised that the ratio of Asian students is over 50%. Most Asian students are Asian Americans. Although look like Asians, they behave as Americans completely. There are many activities, such as outdoor singing performance, dancing performance, speech, and stands for selling fashion stuff or foods etc. on UCI campus during lunch time every weekday. I found that American students are livelier, freer and dare to show themselves to the public. Japanese students, however, are steadier, more rigid and less unwilling to show themselves to the public. In lectures, American students usually ask questions, which may be simple or probably wrong. Japanese students seldom inquire but mostly professors ask students to answer questions instead. In fact, in my country, Taiwan, students behave like Japanese students. Due to the similar systems of education, most students have to pass the sequent, strict entrance examinations. Then they can enter senior high schools, colleges, and graduate schools. The examination system influences a lot the learning attitude and goal of younger students. Although Asian American students have the same appearances, they behave in a different way from Asian students due to different systems of education, culture, tradition and values. By the way, living in the USA, you need a car or you cannot go anywhere. In Japan, thanks to the convenient public transit, one can go almost anywhere without a car. Besides, people can stay outside safely until midnight in Japan, which is not the case in the USA because public security is bad. In summary, I benefited greatly not only in research but also in experiencing the USA from this trip. Finally, I acknowledge the grant from the Center for Urban Earthquake Engineering, which made this trip possible and beneficial.