Student Voice: Opportunity to Explore Akita – Olivia HILL, University of Leeds, U.K.

Olivia HILL from University of Leeds, U.K. is participating in our exchange program starting in the Fall 2022 semester. We would like to introduce her experience at AIU.

One of my favourite things about studying at AIU has been the opportunity provided by field trips. AIU organizes field trips throughout the semester that take participating students to different areas of Akita. I think this is an excellent idea, as it allows for international students and even Japanese students to learn more about the beauty of the prefecture we now live in. Additionally, while studying abroad has offered me the ability to experience a country I’ve never been to before, it can be difficult to navigate travel within that country on my own since I’m not fluent in the language.

The first bus trip was in September of the autumn semester, for which we went to the small town of Kakunodate and Lake Tazawa. We had time to explore Kakunodate, talk to locals, eat Kiritanpo (a food originating from Akita Prefecture), pet Akita-inu (a breed of dog native to Akita), and learn more about the history of the town. I really enjoyed learning about aspects of Japan that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to learn about otherwise. At Lake Tazawa we were able to buy Omamori (a type of amulet charms often found at Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples), and read Omikuji (fortune-telling slip).

Lake Tazawa
Yokote Masuda Manga Museum

The second bus trip was in November, for which we travelled to the cities of Yokote and Masuda. In Masuda, we visited the Yokote Masuda Manga Museum, and in Yokote, we went to Akita Furusato-mura, a sightseeing facility with various shops and attractions. Out of the attractions, I particularly liked going to the Wonder Castle with my friends and taking photos with the 3D art. This trip was a little bit different than the first trip, so I liked the variety in seeing different aspects of Akita prefecture.

These trips have been highlights of my experience in Akita. This semester I will have the opportunity to go on another bus trip, so I’m excited to experience yet another part of Akita.