Student Voice

2018.05.14Student Voice

Making Friends from Around the World: Laura Hernandez, Sciences Po Grenoble, France

Akita international university host family ugo town sciences po grenoble

Laura (second from left) and fellow exchange students Sara and Kendall with the Sato Family, their host family in Ugo Town.

Making Friends from Around the World

My favorite aspect of being an exchange student at Akita International University was having the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. Before this year, I had never met anyone from Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore or even Mongolia or Greenland. Through meeting these people, I’ve had the possibility to hear stories about life in their respective countries, that I may not have had the chance to hear about in my home country.

Last semester I had a particular interest in America, and people who came from this huge, diverse and unmissable nation. I didn’t know that much about this country before, about the geography of the different states for example. In Akita International University I have met people from an impressive range of American states like Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Texas, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and I have gotten to know a little bit more about the particularities of each of them.

I have also met students from different cities in Taiwan and Hong Kong and had the chance to visit those locations later in the year. Overall, with all these encounters I feel like my mental image of the world became a little bit more complete this year at AIU.

International Perspective in Studies and Daily Life

Being with people of all different nationalities was also an opportunity to witness their reactions to the news unravelling in their home countries. There were many opportunities to discuss these events, whether it be in the cafeteria, watching CNN during breakfasts or with language conversation partners at the LDIC.

Between Puerto Rico crises, mass shootings, or Putin’s reelection, a lot happen this year. As a political sciences student, these conversations were so interesting and mind-opening that they led me to read more articles.

Sometimes, these conversations were also the occasion to find out some interesting facts. After visiting Hiroshima I was talking with a friend from New Mexico, the state from where the nuclear bomb was developed, who was able to give me more details about it. I also figured out that Haiti and France not only share the same language but have the same national motto, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.

For almost anything that happens in the world, you have a high probability of finding somebody at AIU who is from there or knows about this part of the world.

Akita Local Connection

These meetings with people from all around the world were as precious as those with local people in Akita. For instance, I admire the natural, the kindness, the sense of community and sharing that I had the opportunity to feel during homestays or festivals. I would recommend Akita International University to anyone who is interested in people.