Student Voice: Leaving my heart in AIU: My Time as an Exchange Student at AIU – Phetsinee THONGTEM, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Phetsinee Thongtem from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand is participating in our exchange program starting in the Fall 2022 semester. We would like to introduce her experience at AIU.

I have always been fascinated by Japanese traditions and culture, and I was eager to learn more. I have taken many interesting classes at AIU. However, the class that made the biggest impression on me was the Tea Ceremony Class. At my home university, I was unable to partake in such a profound traditional class, making this opportunity precious and invaluable to me. I have learned that Japanese Tea Ceremony is not just about brewing tea but also about creating an entire environment that is conducive to tranquility and peacefulness. Every movement, gesture, and word had a deep meaning and is part of a ritual that has been practiced for centuries. It is a way of life that is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and philosophy.

Tea Ceremony Class

Kimono Club Activity: Autumn leaf viewing in a kimono

Apart from attending classes, another way that allowed me to explore more about Japanese culture was by joining the Kimono Club and the Japanese Traditional Dance Club. It was a unique opportunity to learn about Japanese culture in a hands-on way. The club members, mostly Japanese students, were passionate about preserving and sharing their cultural heritage. The process of putting on a kimono was an art in itself, and the dances were intricate and required a lot of practice to master. It was challenging, but also rewarding. Joining these clubs at AIU has been an enriching experience that I will always treasure.

Besides the academic and extracurricular activities offered by AIU, living on campus with international friends is the chance to form close bonds with people from all over the world. I made friends with people from countries I had never visited and may never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. We often held international food parties in our dorms and had a great time together. Even though we parted, these friendships will last beyond our time at AIU.

International food party with international friends