Student Voice

2018.10.15Student Voice

A Place Beyond Expectation: Suyiteng Zhang, University of Manitoba, Canada

Suyiteng Zhang University of Manitoba Exchange Student Akita International University lecture building hallway

Suyiteng Zhang, from the University of Manitoba, Canada

Academic Perspective

To be honest, I did not set up any academic requirements for myself when I first arrived at AIU. After almost one and a half months here, I am so surprised that what I have learned is more than I expected.

I registered for Pre-Modern Japanese History class, Japanese Society, Tea Ceremony and Elementary Japanese. All of these classes are interesting and the professors are professional and enthusiastic. Already, I have acquired a brief knowledge about Japanese history. In my Japanese Society class, we go over lots of typical Japanese society traits, and I learned a lot academic terms as well. I highly recommend these 2 courses for those who are really interestes in Japan.

Besides the class content, the class size is similar to North America high school classes, small but the class environment is unique. Unlike my home university classes, everyone comes and goes. The small class sizes lead to everyone getting to know each other, so it is easy to make friends.

Special Japanese Cultural Class: Tea Ceremony

I have to say there are only a few universities in Japan that offer Sado (tea ceremony) as a formal class, and AIU is one of these few. Tea ceremony is very relaxing and enjoyable, the core concept of it relates to Buddhism, and people desribe it as “Wa Kei Sei Jaku” (和敬清寂), the idea that people will find their inner peace with the help of this main concept during the practice.

Extracurricular Activities

Community Life
Suyiteng Zhang University of Manitoba community outreach school visit

Eating lunch with kindergarteners at a school visit.

My friends and I signed up for Research and Community Outreach Services (RCOS) events. RCOS offers lots of events every month and they are a good opportunity to get know local people and play with Japanese kids – and even a good chance to learn Japanese.

I went to Minami kindergarten and this experience has become my favorite. During that visit, I read books in English to them and introduced my home country. Even though I spoke in English and they could not understand, they expressed their curiousity. When I showed them pictures, the emotions on their faces was unforgettable for me. When I visit these places, my role is not only teaching English, but also let these kids know there are lots of places and cultures in the world to bring more possibilities in their lives. (And they are very very very cute)

international student radio interview

Preparing for a radio show

My friends and I also joined a local radio program and go to the radio station every month. In that program, we will talk about ourselves and the reasons why we choose study here.


If you have a driver's license, you can rent a car and explore the city with friends. Unfortunately, I don’t have a license, so instead of driving, my friends and I choose to walk around the area near the campus. We went to the shrine nearby AIU and almost encountered a bear. We also walk around the park after dinner to enjoy the sunset.

Personal Impact

As I said before, AIU is beyond my expectation. I have studied Japanese, English and so many other languages here. I met new friends. AIU has given new possibilities in my life. I really wish I could stay here longer than one semester.