Student Voice

2017.10.23Student Voice

A Close-Knit Community that Feels Like Home: Kate Lescenko, University of Latvia

Kate Lescenko Akita International University Hip Hop Dance Club AIU Festival

Kate (middle row, second from left) and members of the AIU Hip Hop Dance Club at the 2015 AIU Festival.

I came to AIU for the first time 2 years ago, in 2015 and I was really looking forward to enjoy campus life here.

Intercultural Opportunities

AIU offers a lot of opportunities for both Japanese students and foreign students to communicate with each other. For Japanese students, it is a wonderful experience to improve their English speaking skills and chance to get to know other cultures, while international students can learn about Japanese culture and Japanese language.

Forming Close Relationships Across Borders

However, AIU is not only about learning each other’s culture and language, it is a great opportunity to improve communication skills and to make friends from all over the world. At AIU, international students, like myself, usually have to live with Japanese student, so they can get to know each other's cultures, behaviors, values and norms, which can be useful in the future.

Activities and Clubs are Best to Make Friends

Moreover, AIU provides a lot of activities to connect people from different countries and backgrounds. For example, there are a lot of different clubs, where students can find friends from all over the world with the same hobby, or they can try something new with new friends.

Personally, I belong to AIU dance club, where I not only got more dancing experience, but also made good friends, whom I am still in contact with.

Going Outside: Rural Life in Japan

The university also offers students opportunities to participate in activities in the surrounding community, so we can interact not only with AIU students, but also with local people living in Akita Prefecture. This is a great opportunity for both international and Japanese students, who came from all over Japan, to get to know what rural life is about.

A Second Exchange

All of these reasons made me think about returning to AIU again, if not as a student, then as a visitor. Luckily, after graduating from my home university and entering graduate school, I got one more opportunity to come back to AIU as an exchange student. I am really happy being here again, talking to my friends, whom I got to know 2 years ago, and who just came back from their studies abroad, participating in AIU activities, making new friends and so on.

Is AIU Really My "Home" University?

Actually, one of my friends, an AIU student who entered in 2015, when I first did, and just came back from studies abroad, said that it feels like I am a full time student at AIU, who also just came back from the exchange to continue studies in AIU, because I stayed in Latvia exactly for 1 year.

Maybe someday I will enter this university as a full time student, too.