When I was a senior in high school we hosted a foreign exchange student named Heibei, China. Her English wasn’t too good, but she soon became one of us. We became friends in an interesting way. She was curious about Christianity in America, and I wanted to learn about Communist China (being from a small conservative town communism was almost taboo). What I found most interesting about what she told me about China was that everything from Valentine’s Day to the stars had some myth or legend behind it. This is what sparked my interest in Asian culture. It was during this same year that I found my joy in the physical sciences. Little did I know that I was going to have the opportunity to pursue both the following summer through the NanoJapan program. I became good friends with our visiting foreign exchange student and during my stay in Japan I hope to become good friends with my lab partners too. My friend once commented that she would have never known what America were truly like if it were not for us. I hope that through NanoJapan I will get to see Japan for what it truly is too.
Science is one of the few universal languages, but cultural differences cannot be ignored. As a physicist I will have the opportunity to work with colleagues from countries worldwide and I will also be expected reasonably assimilate myself into a host country culture when collaborating internationally. This is what I hope to get out of Nanojapan. If I decide to continue research in nanotechnology as a physicist, I hope to be in constant contact with my Japanese counterparts. There are communication skills and teaching methods that are essential in Japan that may be unused here in the United States. I hope to be able to incorporate such skills during my visit. As nanotechnology becomes more developed these skills are going to become more essential for all scientists and engineers in this field.