The best experience in my life that I thought I would regret the most: studying abroad: Doris Kala, Tallinn University, Estonia

Doris on the right, at Oyasu Gorge, digging foot in hot spring water


Studying abroad in Japan has been a lifelong dream for me, but as a person who loves their comfort zone more than anything else, then I always assumed that it would simply remain a dream that I would never cross off of my bucket list. Nothing ventured, nothing gained- but also nothing lost, and I valued that safety. Oh, boy was I going to be proved wrong. Somehow through a whirlwind of paperwork and emails, I found myself in Akita, towing a suitcase as big as me behind me, on my way to my new dorm.

Life on campus:

Living on campus was going to be a new experience for me since my school doesn’t have one. In the dormitory, I met people that I want to be friends with for life. Every time I ventured out of my room, I ran into someone to stop and had a chat. I can honestly say that I have made more friends within these five months, than within the two years I’ve spent in my home university. I was so taken aback by the warm and friendly environment that is not just on the campus, but in Akita as a whole. My mind was at ease whenever I ran into a problem that seemed too difficult to solve on my own because I knew that someone always had my back- all I needed was to ask. But not only were the people amazing, so was the campus itself. Walking back from the library on a late night of studying, I passed by the Kanto team practicing. Hearing the traditional drums and flutes playing somewhere off in the background is going to be one of those magical moments that I will never be able to forget.

Birthday celebrations in Nihongo house

Picture perfect sights:

The activities were never-ending, and there was never a dull moment. The matriculation ceremony, Kakunodate, Sakura Festival in Senshu park, Misato lavender garden, and AEON mall: these are the many adventures organized by the school and by ourselves. I now know never trust anyone who says, “There is nothing to do here, it’s just a countryside” because there is always something to explore. AEON Mall is a running joke between everyone and, no matter who you meet; they will tell you that AEON is the “Disneyland of Akita”. Make sure you get a chuckle out of this. That being said, I encourage all students who can’t decide whether or not to come to AIU to take the opportunity and do it. You will not regret it. I know I certainly did not.