Vermont Through Yuri Sugumoto’s (‘23) Eyes


Yuri Sugimoto (’23) Photo credit: Jennifer Parent

Ashley Seymour, Writer

“Vermont people [are] very kind to me.” This was Yuri Sugumoto’s (‘23) response when asked what her favorite part of Vermont is.

Yuri Sugimoto is an exchange student from Kawasaki, Japan, coming to the United States in the midst of Covid-19, but even before Covid, Japanese people “all w[ore] masks,” Sugimoto said.

When Sugimoto arrived in Vermont on Aug. 1, she noticed that “Almost [every] American house has [an] American flag in front of [their] house, but Japanese house[s] don’t.”

When asked about the differences between American and Japanese schools, Sugimoto said the biggest differences are that “School[s] [are] so [much] bigger. [Most] Japanese schools do[n’t] have lockers, and if they d[o], the size of them are [only about a foot tall].”  Also, she was surprised that “people don’t [wear] uniforms in gym class.”

Since arriving at BFA, Sugimoto has joined Homework Club, where students can complete assignments after school.

With all these differences present, Sugimoto “miss[es] speak[ing] Japanese with [her] friend[s] and [her] family” most, but she is happy she can “cook Japanese food for [her] host family” and play with their two cats. 

Back in Japan, along with Sugimoto’s older brother, who influenced her by being an exchange student himself, she also has a younger brother.

Although Yuri has only been in Vermont for a couple of short months, she has already tried the “famous” Vermont maple syrup, and to that, she said, “I like maple syrup in Vermont a lot.”