Welcoming Community, Intercultural Interaction: Robin Rodval, University of Oslo, Norway

Robin (back, second from right) with AIU students from around the world at a Shinto shrine in Akita.

Robin Rodval is a second-semester exchange student at AIU from the University of Oslo in Norway.

Why Akita International University?

Like any other student on their way to a foreign country to do a semester for the first time, I was undeniably nervous; finding your seat on the plane, knowing that within the next few minutes I would be on my way to a completely foreign country, let alone continent, where I do not know the language, the culture, the society and all those little things that one would get used to back at their home university.

But at the same time I was excited; I was to learn a new language, I was to learn about a new culture, I was to learn about the society I was moving to but, most importantly of all, I was to learn more about myself.

It was for these reasons I chose AIU, and AIU has provided me with nothing but enriching experiences, awesome memories and friends for life.

Campus Community and Activities

The community on this campus is welcoming, and for such a small campus, the amount of engagement and hospitality provided by fellow students is staggering. The university offers a variety of clubs, and though the university is small, the amount of activities to participate in is incredibly big.

Cultural Exchange

Even better is the RCOS opportunities that gives one access to participate in cultural exchanges, language learning or simply engaging in activities with local people! I was once on a trip to teach kindergartners about Norwegian Christmas traditions. It made me learn that not only are Christmas traditions incredibly different, but also that one should be careful in directly translating as it lead me to having to tell the children to not search for small Christmas elves in the pockets of their teachers!

Though this is only one example of such a cultural exchange, the opportunities to do so are many. Akita might seem like a simple place at first glance; known for its rural scenery, the brewing of sake and rice. However, the area offers much more than that. It offers a culture rich with tradition, amazingly delicious foods, small towns all over, each with their unique characteristics, as well as strikingly beautiful environments for everyone to experience.

Diverse Learning Environment

Academically, the university offers an incredibly diverse environment; such a blend of cultures offers many interesting perspectives that demands one to challenge themselves into thinking new ways.

Professors are highly engaged with their classes and always willing to talk more after class, creating an engaging atmosphere of learning. Students alike are incredibly open and always willing to open up about their experiences and their culture. At this university, I did not only learn about others’ culture, I also learned more about my own culture through the perspectives of others.

All in all, coming to AIU was one of the best decisions I had ever made. A lovely community, a beautiful area and an engaging social and academic atmosphere made this an experience I will remember for the rest of my life and bring with me as I continue my studies.

Thank you, AIU!