Student Voice: The great chance to have -Tolunai Kulakova, National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), Russia

Tolunai Kulakova, National Research University Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg), Russia, is an exchange student studied online in Fall 2021 Semester. We would like to introduce her experience at AIU.

Ms. Tolunai Kulakova in Okinawa, during her first study abroad in Japan in 2019.


The online mode even at my home university turned out to be quite difficult, however, when it came to academic mobility online in Japan, I thought it would be a great experience: I was curious to see how the online-educational process is going in the international student community. Since the last time I was in Japan in 2019, I wanted to return to the atmosphere of studying in a Japanese university, even though technically staying in Russia. I chose AIU because before that I knew little about this university, also, I wanted to learn more about Akita Prefecture, its people, and the northern region of Japan in general.

The first thing I would like to note is that, in all the courses that I took, there was an incredibly friendly and kind atmosphere. The difficulty of the online mode lies in the fact that even seeing people through the screen, we cannot maintain communication equal to live conversations in the classroom. This was one of those things that worried me much. However, despite this, all the students were very good at maintaining productivity in the classroom.

My studies in AIU were held in two time zones since I moved several times from my hometown in Siberia to St. Petersburg, where I study. The time difference between my home region and Japan was 2 hours, which did not cause me any inconvenience. The challenge was the time difference between Japan and St. Petersburg, which was 6 hours! I had to get up very early in the morning to have time to wake myself up fully, to be prepared for being active during classes. However, as classes were very interesting, it was not a big problem for me to get easily involved.

During my studies at AIU, I have found new friends and improved my Japanese language skills. This experience will remain in my memory as one of the brightest, as I really enjoyed the learning process. Thank you, AIU!

In Russia’s Saint Petersburg in March 2021.