Alumni Voice: To Akita and back again-Petr Ovcacek, Masaryk University, Czech Republic

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 Petr Ovcacek. He was an exchange student who stayed at AIU in Fall 2012, Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 Semester.

Enjoying winter at AIU


Leap of faith into the unknown

Before leaving for study abroad, I did not know what to expect. It was my first time in Japan, and on top of that, I decided for AIU in Akita Prefecture – far from big cities, surrounded by rice fields and endless forests. Before departure, everything was a big unknown, so I did not know what to expect. My main goal for study abroad was to improve my Japanese. Yet, more importantly, I was hoping to get a new perspective on things, new experiences, and new friends. Looking at it now, I would say I gained a lot more.

Learning so much Japanese

As a Japanese Studies major, I was looking forward to speaking Japanese with everybody, but I was not at that level of fluency yet. That is why I was excited about the Japanese language classes I could take – core classes, speaking, writing, pronunciation and many more. All classes proved to be sufficiently challenging, and the enthusiasm and teaching style of all teachers were also motivating and helped me push further. The classes were relatively small, so every student got a lot of attention and guidance from the teachers. I was learning a lot of new things every day, which I wanted to put into practice.  

No being stuck in a classroom

The best way to use Japanese outside classes and get the real university experience was through extracurricular activities, an essential part of life at AIU. I was lucky enough to be a member of the volleyball club, the Kimono Club, and the Kanto Team. Especially the last two are sources of the greatest memories. As a member of the Kanto Team, I participated in the Kanto Festival held in August. Being able to perform with AIU team members and hundreds of other performers on a hot summer evening was unforgettable. Again, through the Kimono club, I had a chance to participate in a kimono contest to show how neatly I can dress myself in a traditional male kimono with a hakama. All in all, the people and experience in extracurricular activities were amazing.

At the Kimono Contest


To Akita and beyond

One year at AIU gave me more than I expected. I discovered many new things about Japan and boosted my Japanese language skills, which was helpful in my further studies. Also, I had a chance to experience Japanese culture through the Kanto Festival and other activities. Last but not least, being in an international environment gave me a whole new perspective on things, and I learned new things about myself. All that would not be possible without everyone I encountered during that year. Even after returning home, I kept in touch with many AIU friends and never stopped being grateful for the experience and memories. I would go again if I had a chance. I cannot but recommend it!

In Akita Kanto Festival