Student Voice

2015.12.28Student Voice

Student Voice: Paulius Barakunas, Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania

Paulius Barakunas is a first-semester exchange student at AIU from Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania.

Academic Experience

I major in Marketing and International Commerce, so I'm taking mostly business classes, plus Japanese language here.

Adjusting Courses to Meet Major Requirements

Some of the classes have taken some extra effort to adjust to and make them fit into my major. For example, I am taking International Law and Institutions to fulfill a requirement for Business Law at home. Since the class is more law-intensive without a business focus, I have to put in additional effort to relate it back to my major.

The class style for that course has also been an adjustment. There is not much as much lecture from the professor as I am used to. We do our reading outside of class and the class time is more focused on student output.

Extracurricular Activities

I've participated in a few trips around Akita since I've been here. In one, we visited several miso factories as well as the Satoyama Kitchen, where we got to make our own Japanese food.

The miso factories were interesting because, while they have been passed down from generation to generation, they do not try to expand their business or grow. They are happy with what they have and maintain the same level. I have learned that these kinds of small family businesses account for nearly all of the businesses in Japan.

At Satoyama Kitchen, I was part of the group that made soba noodles alongside a professional chef. It's a very demanding and precise process and requires a lot of effort to make only a small amount of noodles. But they were very good to eat!

On the same trip, we also visited a Zen temple for zazen meditation and saw an Akita traditional Nishimonai Bon-odori dance performance to honor the dead and pray for a good harvest. It was a very full day!