Student Voice: My first impression – My journey so far in Akita – Robin TÖTH, Linnaeus University, Sweden

Robin TÖTH, from the Linnaeus University, Sweden is participating in our exchange program for the Fall 2023 semester. We would like to introduce his experience at AIU.

When I started my university studies over two years ago, I had no idea that in 2023 I would write about my experiences living in Japan. While I had dreams of one day visiting Japan, it was not something that I thought would happen in the near future.

However, here I am. Writing about my own experiences of living and studying in not only Japan as a whole, but in Akita in particular.

Photo of some of us international students from the Matriculation Ceremony

My entire journey started back in early 2022, when I decided that I wanted to study in Japan. In the autumn of that year I met a now former AIU student, who encouraged me to apply to AIU after she heard about my goals.

This university matched my expectations and I decided to apply as soon as possible.

My friend and I at the tip of the Oga Peninsula

All of these months preparing were worth it several times over. I have met so many new friends in these first two months, including both international students from all over the world and Japanese students and locals from Akita.

During my short stay so far, I’ve learned about the history and culture in Akita in many different ways, from viewing Kanto performances to visiting Akita Castle Ruins and strolling through Senshu Park, where I could view most of Akita City from atop the Kubota Castle.

Kanto performance by the AIU Kanto club
Kubota Castle in Senshu Park, Akita City
View of Akita City from the Kubota Castle

In late September AIU arranged a bus trip for students to visit the Oga Peninsula so we could experience the Namahage, an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. I feel as if I have just scratched the surface when it comes to knowing more about this calm northern prefecture. I can’t wait to see what the rest of autumn and winter will bring. 

Speaking of calm, AIU lies a few kilometers outside of Akita City, where students live on a campus surrounding the university. For those who, like me, enjoy the quiet life compared to the busy city life, AIU is perfect.

Namahage statues in Oga, Oga Peninsula
Omagari fireworks festival in August in Omagari, Daisen City

Studying at AIU has so far been quite enjoyable. One memorable event so far was when in my International Security class we met with the former Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Ichirō Fujisaki. 

I would like to thank AIU, my Senseis, classmates and the wonderful people in International Affairs for letting me experience a dream of living in Japan. My story is not over, it has just begun!

Group photo with former Ambassador Ichirō Fujisaki, AIU President Monte Cassim, Professor Takemoto and us students