Student Voice: Experiencing cultures outside the city – Ryan Devlin, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Ryan, the left in the front row, with his friends on campus.


My time in AIU will be one I shall never forget. After coming from a small part of Ireland I felt quite comfortable in AIU. Along the way, I met new people and created new experiences with them, such as traveling to new places, experiencing cultures outside the city, being interviewed for a local newspaper, and even donning a kimono during a local festival (although wearing 【zōri】sandals hurt a little). Some of these experiences wouldn’t have been possible without great travel experiences offered within AIU, and particularly the opportunities within the Japanese Language House, where I was fortunate enough to reside.


One thing about being at AIU is that you can be in the community. Here, Ryan poses for the camera just before the local festival starts.


With the final semester approaching, I planned on one final adventure after study; climbing Mt. Fuji, however because of recent events this became impossible this year. BUT! As the sun is sure to set, I will someday come back to dominate that mountain!

With having so many fond memories I struggle to think which is my highlight. Truthfully, my best memory is visiting Sendai with my best friend for the first time. Together we travelled around the city and outside it for 5 days and experienced the area’s history, food culture, and a beautiful light event called the Pageant of Starlight. The food there was amazing with 【Gyūtan】(cow tongue) being the highlight (although【Gyūtan】 cider, I will probably not drink again). When looking back I believe the oyster rice I tried in Matsushima was one of the most delicious dishes I have ever eaten and would recommend.


Oyster rice, a local cuisine Ryan encountered in Matsushima during his trip, became his favorite.


With having to leave Japan and return to Ireland, I find myself disheartened for having to leave; but I remain thankful for the time given and the new fond memories; and for that I especially thank everyone at AIU.

Studying online has been tricky, with such a large time zone difference between Japan and Ireland, I find it at times confusing with scheduling and general time management but thanks to the considerate staff within AIU, I have been able to attend classes and continue my studies. The spring semester has been difficult for everybody, but I know we can all make it through and continue to create great memories together.


Studied at AIU in the Fall 2019 Semester and currently studying in AIU’s online Spring 2020 Semester.