Interview with Exchange Student Lisa Hosoi

Emily Fritze, Writer

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Lisa Hosoi is a typical senior at the Madison High School; she plays sports, she hangs out with her friends, and she does homework. However unlike most of us her home is in Japan over a thousand miles away.


Lisa told me that the main differences she saw between the two countries were the “culture, school, lifestyle, values, houses, food…everything is different. But what I find most interesting among all the differences is that there are more opportunities to express yourself in the U.S. Like in Japan we basically do not get essay assignments or presentations. Also from our Japanese-cultural view point expressing ourselves could be considered vulgarity, and it is more important to corporate with others and to not bother as an individual, which is not always good, in my opinion.”


When asked what her favorite part of being here is, she told me, “I can always learn something new, literally all the time. Just talking with friends or even looking and walking around town, there is always something I learn new and it’s exciting. I especially enjoy getting to know people and making new friends here, because they are the greatest teachers to me.”


“I’m very curious about everything.” She chose to go abroad because she always wanted to understand what life is like for other people, and what their values are.


“Food? It is huge”.  The food here is much larger than Lisa is used to, the small size at Coldstone Creamery is a large in Japan.


When Lisa misses home she uses something similar to a Skype group with her friends, where she can video chat, and if the times are inconvenient (like they usually are with a 13 hour time difference) she can message them. Two weeks ago, her four best friends also visited for five days.


Lisa told me that the language barrier is something she got used to, and it is only bad when she needs to explain something complicated.


When asked about the difference in schoolwork, Lisa told me, “In Japan, each college-actually each department of each college- has a different entrance exam which is really hard. Basically what high schoolers do is prepare for the exams, which they take at the end of senior year. Since grades don’t matter and the exams are different depending on colleges we do not as much homework as we do here. A lot of people go to cram school and prepare for those exams.


“I love Sports”. Lisa told me that in Japan there is a more intense sport system, you pick one and you stick with it all seasons, every year in school. She chose swimming at home, and she is happy that she is able participate in other sports here too.


“All the families are different.” Lisa told me that she has to switch families often with the program she uses, and it is hard, but it’s very rewarding to experience living with all different types of people.



“I became more independent, mature, strong, and confident.” Through all the challenges she has encountered while being here, like being separated from her family and friends, speaking English everyday, and having to make new friends, Lisa said that she felt stronger knowing she could overcome those challenges.


While living in a place where everything is unfamiliar is a challenge for Lisa, she explained to me that no matter where you are, “People are nice, all over the world,” and, “we are different, but not really different.”


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