One of the first things that people will tell you about studying at AIU is this: it is small. As nice as campus is, I have found myself wanting to explore and see more of what Japan has to offer without spending a fortune in travel expenses. Luckily, there are several opportunities to explore Akita through field trips and RCOS activities.
Several classes have field trips throughout the semester, and sometimes they will have more than one. Through the Science Research Project, I have gotten to visit and learn about Akita’s rice fields. In my ikebana class, we visited two beautiful ikebana exhibitions and a tea house in Akita City.
Bus Trips for All Students
Student Affairs also offers field trip opportunities. For our first field trip, we visited Kakunodate, an herb garden, Lake Tazawa, and a soy sauce brewery. Being an old samurai town, Kakunodate is rich with history and interesting places to visit. Sadly, we were a few days too early to see the cherry blossoms when we visited, but walking the worn streets and eating lunch along the Hinokinai River is still something I will always cherish.
Our second field trip was to Oga Peninsula where we visited the GAO Aquarium, Nyudozaki Cape, Namahage Museum, and Mt. Kampuzan. My favorite part of the field trip was visiting the cape. Standing along its edge, I was able to gaze in awe at the Sea of Japan and felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and peace.
RCOS activities are one of the best ways to interact with the locals in Akita. There are several different types of activities available as well, such as rice planting, homestay, and teaching English. So far, I have been able to visit two elementary schools and help teach children English. They’re so excited to have international students visit their classrooms, so be prepared for lots of questions! Even though you are teaching English, this is also a great way to practice your Japanese conversation skills. If your classes don’t interfere, it is something that I highly suggest doing.
Enrich Your Experience
While getting to study at AIU is an experience in itself, traveling off campus will only further add to it. Had I not taken advantage of the field trips and RCOS activities provided through the university, I would not have made what have now become some of my favorite memories.