Student Voice: Finding Community – Marie WALDHAUS, FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Austria

Marie WALDHAUS from FH Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Austria is participating in our exchange program for Spring 2024. We would like to introduce her experience at AIU.

“Our homes are not defined by geography or one particular location,
but by memories, events, people, and places that span the globe”.
– Marilyn Gardner.

Reach the world next door

Bus Trip to Kakunodate Town:  (Far left) Me with friends in front of “Shidare Sakura” tree (weeping cherry tree)

Upon arriving here in Japan and at AIU in April my whole world shifted. 

I come from a tiny village in the countryside of beautiful Austria and have never been this far away from home in my entire life.

Even though it may be hard in the beginning and life may feel very lonely at times, I forced myself to actively go out and find friends here. 

It is quite a strange feeling being in a place where you know literally nobody, but that is also the beauty of it, because you can start at the very beginning of the process of building friendships.

Join the clubs

Having been at AIU now for over a month, I have found friends from all over the world.

Not only have I made friends with some fellow Europeans, which will always give me a feeling of community, but I have also made Japanese friends. 

In addition, I would recommend everybody to join clubs here at AIU, such as the Hula Dance Club that I am a part of, which can give oneself an opportunity to dive even deeper into a culture and to get to know the community within. 

Takoyaki (octopus balls) Welcome Party of Hula Dance Club

AIU friendships and memories will last forever

That is why I must count myself very lucky to be located in a place such as AIU where new friendships develop and unforgettable memories can be made. 

Even though home may seem far away at times, my newly found friendships will forever feel like a piece of home in my heart.

Spring at AIU Campus: Sakura/Cherry Blossom Trees