In today’s study group session, we invited Vicki to give us a presentation about UWEC and Eau Claire. Vicki is an American, who graduated from UWEC and studied in HUTE for one year as a teacher training student. She started her presentation with a brainstorming activity asking the participants to write something in response to the following three questions:
1) What do you know (about America)?
2) What do you think (about America)?
3) What is your question?
These questions triggered some interesting responses and discussions. After a brief self-introduction, she talked about UWEC, the city of Eau Claire and the people (e.g., the Hmong). It is really interesting to know that Eau Claire is from French meaning “clear water”. She also introduced how she felt about the cultural differences between America and Japan. She especially focused on the difference in conversation style between Japanese culture and American culture. For example, in America you can jump in when the other speaker is talking while in Japan you have to wait until the other speaker is finished. Cutting someone short might be considered rude in Japanese culture but quite acceptable and even encouraged in American culture. It is important to be brave and direct in American culture. You have to mean what you say, that is, “Yes means yes. No means no. Maybe means maybe.” I think this is an important piece of advice on how to better communicate with the people in UWEC and Eau Claire during our visit there next year.
If you have any thoughts and comments, please feel free to share with us.