Student Voice: My stay here in Akita International University – Grazvydas STANEVICIUS from Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania

Grazvydas STANEVICIUS from Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania, is participating in our exchange program for the Fall 2023 semester. We would like to introduce his experience at AIU.

My first ever experience studying as an exchange student

My first experience of Japanese railways

This was my first ever experience studying as an exchange student. It has been a dream of mine to someday come to Japan and experience the cultural differences between Lithuania and Japan.

I have been interested in Japanese culture for quite some time now, and coming to Japan was the best experience that I could have hoped for.

I chose Akita, rather than other bigger cities, because I thought that I would be able to avoid many more foreigners. That was the original idea that I had, but the reality wasn’t like that at all.

Am I disappointed?

Mt. Kanpu with friends

And am I disappointed?

No, I am actually kind of glad because I was able to make so many new friends from around the world that I would have never made in my home university.

I met an amazing Japanese friend as well, who has helped not only with my homework but giving me a chance to explore Akita even more and supporting me in my journey to learn the Japanese language even further.

I myself even noticed that I have become slightly better in my Japanese speaking skill just by being here

”Kiritampo nabe” (a hot pot dish) with friends

I would love to say that Akita is a gem for me. It’s absolutely beautiful with many beautiful places to see and visit. I love the peacefulness of this city and the other towns that I have visited. I love the scenery that this place has, and the culture and local dishes as well.

Akita City is not as big as other famous cities, but for me it was big enough and I can say that I had an absolute blast exploring Akita. 

Beautiful Japan views

It was way more that I could have asked for

I have enjoyed everything from Akita City itself to Oga peninsula and Kakunodate Town.

In Oga, I learned about Namahage, went to Mt. Kampu and witnessed another amazing view of Akita, ate more delicious foods, visited huge shrines near the Namahage museum and saw the Godzilla rock. 

Godzilla Rock

In Kakunodate Town I got to witness how Japanese samurai lived and see some other examples of Japanese architecture and traditional housing. And how could I forget Lake Tazawa? I was mesmerized by the beauty of the lake. I’ve never seen a lake with such a beautiful color.

Another really amazing experience was the Omagari firework festival in Daisen City. We have firework festivals in Lithuania, but I have never seen one like this before. It was my first Japanese festival experience ever, and I am glad that I went. Never before have I seen so many people in one place like for this festival.

A cozy village that I found

The AIU festival was a blast as well, and I got to see how it feels to work as a croupier and also got to buy some nice souvenirs.

All in all, I’m happy that I chose this university as my exchange destination. I will never forget the experiences that I had here and the things that I saw as well. 

For a first time exchange student it was way more that I could have asked for.