イギリス1年留学 Mさん

As we enter December, we often talk about the Christmas vacations and tests. Talking with various people at school, I got the impression that many people spend Christmas in London. In Japan, I have the impression that people spend Christmas with their lovers and friends, but in the UK, people seem to cherish time with their families during Christmas. There are many days when the lowest temperature is in the single digits, and it is freezing cold just a little outside of school. I feel like I am writing the same thing in my monthly report because it is always cold. However, the maximum temperature goes back and forth between around 10°C, so it is still warm in the UK. Recently, due to global warming, it never snows in December, which makes me a little sad because I have been longing for a white Christmas.

I received an advent calendar at the beginning of December. I knew that advent calendars are sold in Japan, but I was surprised to see that schools also have them. Before the test, we mostly talked about the test, but after the test, we did not proceed much with the class and had fun playing games related to each subject. In Game class, after the hockey game was over, we played badminton tournaments, played dodgeball, put on Christmas costumes, and danced while watching videos. We also played football and made a lot of friends through Game. I have made more and more friends in other classes as well, and I look forward to class more than I did a few months ago because I am able to participate in class while discussing with both men and women. We ask each other if we don’t understand something, and some of us even talk to each other when we pass each other during break time. I have become good friends with a German girl who came here after halftime, and we have become even closer since I started speaking some English in December. The time when the two of us would gather in the art classroom during break time and paint pictures while playing Ghibli, anime songs, Christmas songs, etc. and singing along was a very important time for me and made me feel happy. During that time, we taught each other about our countries, and there were times when we taught each other Japanese. I also got to know a little bit about German culture. The girl went back to Germany right after school, but we have kept in touch and promised to meet in Japan in the future. We also talked about traveling to various places when we come to Japan, and I made a goal to study English so that I can speak it smoothly the next time we meet. In art, I always had homework, and I often invited my younger brother to join me in drawing and painting. It used to be warmer and we played football more often, but recently it was cold and rainy, so we played catch, painted, and played board games indoors. When I paint, I use a small desk in front of the fireplace, but when my younger brothers and neighborhood friends join me to paint, it is too small, so at first I work alone on the floor. But before I knew it, my younger brothers had gathered nearby and we were all painting on the floor together. My younger brother has many board games, and when the board game boom comes, he takes them down from the shelf and explains the rules to me. Playing with my younger brother was so much fun after I got the hang of the distance that we played every weekday even when I was tired from school.

As Christmas approaches, the culture here gets serious. We enjoyed the Cheltenham culture of the Advent calendar as well as the Puppet Muppet show and jumping into the pool (cheering). The last school lunch before Christmas was a Christmas lunch, which was very lively with Christmas menus, decorations, and teachers singing songs. I went to the cafeteria with a German girl and we enjoyed lunch with crowns in crackers. In food class we baked cookies and made ginger houses. In the pre-Christmas class, depending on the teacher, there was a subject in which we worked while playing Christmas songs and singing along, which was fresh and fun because we don’t get to experience that in Japan very often.

On Christmas Eve, our neighbors, who are always good friends with us, came over to our house and we had a lot of fun. We also played football for the first time in a while. However, I usually stay up late on such days, but when I put the kids to bed at 8:00 p.m., I wondered why, but it was to prepare Christmas presents. I carried a lot of presents from the attic to the first floor, assembled the gaming chairs, etc., and the adults went to bed early. I had been thinking about buying Christmas presents for a month, but I didn’t prepare them because I felt sorry for my siblings if they were unevenly distributed. Instead, I made a large airplane out of a toy that my younger brother had but didn’t play with much, and put it near his present as a decoration. On Christmas Day, I woke up at 7:00 a.m. and opened the presents while playing Christmas music. My host mother gave me a cologne and a Nivea set. I will look for them and send them after I go back to Japan. At Christmas dinner, everyone opened crackers before eating. The table was beautifully decorated with flowers, candles, and other decorations. That night, my brother and I opened the cookie Christmas tree set and assembled it while we both fussed. I put cream on the cookies and my brother put the cookies on the cream. It was a very good memory. We played games together until bedtime using the new TV and Switch we received as gifts.

We decided to return home on the 24th and 30th. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t say good-bye directly to the kids I became friends with at school. After Christmas, I was very busy packing, going shopping for souvenirs, and communicating with the school about what to do with my luggage. I was also able to take the neighborhood kids to see a movie called Vodka. It had been a while since I had seen the movie and I noticed that my listening skills were better than before. I went out that day wearing pretty clothes and makeup, which I hadn’t done in a while. I was very happy and it was a good day for me because I had never dressed up in the way I liked and enjoyed myself while I was under a lot of stress during my stay in Japan.

I finally received the packages that my mother and grandmother had sent before I decided to return home. I left the things I couldn’t finish eating, tissues, and warmer for the next homestay girl. I will take all the perimeters home with me, as I may not eat them.

The last time I saw the sky of England, it was blue, clear, and wide, just like my heart. I have no regrets. I was exposed to new people, cultures, values, etc. and absorbed a lot of things. There are still plenty of opportunities to study abroad in the future. However, I believe that there were things that I could only absorb at the age of 17. I would like to continue to broaden my horizons in life, to think, and to set goals for my life despite my suffering, without taking what I have experienced so far for granted. My study abroad program is made possible thanks to the support of various people, not only my teachers and family in Japan, but also teachers at the local school, CWA staff, and local coordinators. I will cherish what I have gained from my study abroad experience with a sense of gratitude and repayment to those people. Thank you very much.