Sophia Marie Willoughby（高１） / Sinéad O’ Connor (英語科）
O’Connor: Please tell me your name.
Marie: My name is Sophia Marie Willoughby. I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
O’C: Why did you come to Japan?
M: Originally, it was because I was interested in manga. I liked manga because it helped me through a rough time. I almost felt friends with the characters when I didn’t have many friends myself. As I came to Japan I wanted to learn the language more, and a new culture.
O’C: What was your favourite manga back in The US?
M: I really liked Naruto, but I had also read a lot of smaller ones before on websites.
O’C: Did you experience any culture shock when you came here?
M: Yes. I have to say the biggest culture shock I had was the size of the dogs. Where I come from we have many sizes of dogs. In the US I have medium size dogs so to see only small dogs really freaked me out. It also shocked me that not everybody had cars. In the US where I live we don’t have a subway so everybody has to have a car.
O’C: What do you think of Friends School students?
M: They are very nice, and honest - I like them a lot better than students in my school in the US. They also work really hard. They also have have the feeling of a real community, maybe because it’s a small school. It really feels like a family.
O’C: At school there have been many events throughout the year, which was your favourite?
M: I think they each had their good points and bad points. I think my favourite thing I did with the school was my softball club camp - the gashiku. It was the first time I’d experienced a sports camp. While we trained hard it was still a lot of fun and I made good memories.
O’C: What did you like about everyday life at school?
M: I like how on-time students were - like, if they were late they ran to school or they ran to the classrooms. I also liked how everybody would help each other so for example of a student didn’t take a picture they other students would airdrop it to her.
O’C: How did you communicate with your friends here at school?
M: Well, at first I spoke to them in English because I didn’t speak any Japanese. But it’s a lot of eye contact and pointing at things, like even now where I can talk to them in Japanese. it isn’t just speaking - it’s using your body, your eyes.
O’C: What was difficult for you at first?
M: Making friends was a little difficult because the people I wanted to be friends with didn’t necessarily want to be friends with me. We have different interests.
O’C: How did you come to be so good at Japanese?
M: I think that I’ve always been better at listening and understanding a language than speaking it - it’s like that with Spanish and Portuguese, too. So, I just listen and ask a lot of questions. And then, over time I just asked a lot of questions. I also studied a lot.
O’C: Do you want to come back to Japan?
M: Yes, definitely. Why wouldn’t I!
O’C: How did you change while being on exchange?
M: I gained a lot of confidence. I used to be afraid to share my opinion but not anymore. I’m able to communicate more easily. I became a hard-worker.
O’C: Do you have any message for Friends School students?
M: Keep working hard!! Don’t give up.