Alumni Voice: First Time In Akita, Not The Last -Rahi Taylor Galvez, University of Mary Washington, U.S.A.


What do you want to experience at AIU? What do you want to become through study abroad?

In this series of articles, we would like to introduce the articles from past exchange students who have completed their studies at AIU. They will share the most memorable experience, what they learned and how the AIU experience helped them now,  and what they would like to tell international students who are thinking of studying at AIU.

The purpose of studying abroad is different for everyone, but we hope that the stories of alumni will encourage you to consider studying abroad at AIU as a place of learning.

Here is a message from Rahi Taylor Galvez. He was an exchange student who stayed at AIU in Fall 2019 Semester.

Mr. Rahi Taylor Galvez at Furusato-Mura in Yokote City, Akita


My trip to Akita and AIU was full of “firsts”. It was the first time I visited Japan, the first time I lived on campus, and the first time that I had the opportunity to experience some of the unique traditions of Akita prefecture. AIU truly was the keystone that held my impression of Akita together, both in terms of on-campus activities, and off-campus cultural understanding. The campus is filled with students of every background imaginable, and the staff is comprised of amazing professors who offer distinct worldviews!

Most important, however, is the community at large and the numerous events and activities that AIU offers. During my stay, I had the chance to work with local farmers on their rice fields, I took several field trips to Akita’s varied cultural sites, and I even made some new friends along the way!

Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in Japan, where he went on field trip (Semboku City, Akita)


The most memorable part of my trip to Akita was my weekly routine of participating in RCOS activities. RCOS is one of AIU’s offices and they organize opportunities for students to visit local schools around Akita and have language exchange sessions with Japanese students. Armed with my picture book and minimal Japanese, I always look back fondly on memories of laughing with the students and teachers. 

Even after coming back home, I am always pleased to list AIU on my resume and cite my experience in Akita whenever the topic comes up! Thanks to my experience as an RCOS volunteer and as a language tutor in the library, I recently became a teacher’s assistant. Next year, I will be applying to the JET Program, and I hope to return to Akita. I am forever grateful that I had the chance to visit this lesser known, yet beautiful prefecture and I can’t imagine having stayed anywhere else!