Marie Gahn is a second-semester exchange student at AIU from Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences, in Germany.
Too Many Memories to Count
In my year-long stay here, there were many highlights, each of them different, but equally important for me. I had a lot of fun with the Nihongo House, a Themed House on campus, I appreciated the quality of the Japanese classes and I enjoyed the Happocho program, a program organized by RCOS, the Community and Outreach Services.
AIU's Natural Environment
But I decided to focus on the one, simple experience I was able to enjoy every day. And that was the surrounding environment, the nature.
In Germany, I usually walk through endless roads of gray houses to university or take my car to go to the supermarket or visit my parents. Here, every time I walk on the campus, whether to go to classes, the cafeteria, the laundry room, the bus stop, I always pass by several trees and lots of nature and everyday there was something new to see.
The growing clovers, a bird, red leaves, of course cherry blossoms and thankfully no bears. Seeing the beautiful nature always gave me back some energy, no matter how much deadlines I had due. Even writing essays was more fun with an open window, seeing the green forest and feeling the wind. While riding the bus to AEON, the nearby mall, my favorite pastime was to look at the ever-changing rice fields, a view I obviously cannot enjoy in Germany and will miss greatly when I get back home.
The most enjoyable part of watching the nature was however, to directly see the seasons change slowly, just by taking a simple walk around campus and gaze at the trees. Well, except for winter, when you had to watch the ground to prevent slipping on ice.
Nonetheless I still managed to do just that quite often. . .
Generally, I've noticed that the Japanese are quite sensitive to the change of seasons, much more than the Germans are. Usually, I notice that winter has arrived, because I have to change to long-sleeved clothes, not because the leaves turn into a gorgeous red. It made me appreciate nature a lot more and I am happy I decided to study at Akita International University.