By Jonathan Augustus, Cultural Ambassador to ASI
When I first heard about the American Studies Institute program I honestly wasn’t too excited or even sure if I wanted to participate in it. For days I thought, “I’m going to have a boring summer at work when I’m supposed to be home in Los Angeles, not at school,” but as a wise dwarf once said, “Never have I been so wrong in my entire life.” Once I met everyone on the first day I fell in love with the program.
Although it was a little difficult getting used to the students speaking in their native language without feeling left out, but after the third day I became accustomed to it and am proud to say that by the end of the program I even learned to speak a little Chinese with the correct pronunciation and tone. I even earned my Chinese name 小火龙 (Xiǎohuǒlóng), which means little fire dragon, because of my Charmander necklace.
It was just such a great experience to be able to share our cultures with each other and to be able to bridge the gap between our cultural differences with laughter and good times. As cliché as it sounds this program has really opened my eyes to see that we, as human beings, really can get along with one another. Within just a few short weeks I became more than just friends with the students and together we made memories that will last a lifetime. Due to the odds of us seeing each other in the future are slim unless we travel halfway across the world, I’ve decided that when someone makes the first commercial time machine I’m traveling back to the July of 2014 to relive all of the good times we had.