Student Voice

2019.01.07Student Voice

Access to Unique Coursework and the Local Area: Ethan Seftor, Ithaca College, USA

Academic Experience

So far I’ve been able to take several courses that I never would have been able to if I was back at my home university.

Japanese Language

One of the most interesting of these has definitely been the central point of my education here: the Japanese Language course. I’ve never been able to take Japanese before, so I am in the 101 level class, but in less than two months I’ve already learned all of the Japanese Hiragana, Katakana, and even about 20 Kanji as well. The workload certainly requires commitment, but I feel I’m learning so much in such a short time!

Japan Studies: Media and Communication from a New Perspective

The other class that brightens my days the most is JAS 370: Anime and Contemporary Japanese Visual Culture! Being in the Communication Studies field, studying international forms of media is one of my favorite things, and learning all about the Japanese media industry through readings, lectures, and even several movie viewings that turn into discussions is such a vibrant way to learn about the subject. The professor is super approachable and even has weekly lunches set up to meet and talk with any student who wants to join him! The class is lively and so interactive and I highly recommend it to any media enthusiast.

main tank at GAO Aquarium, Oga, Akita

The main tank at the GAO aquarium, near the surface of the water you can see both a turtle and a shark
(Photo Credits Ethan Seftor)

School-Run Trips

If you’re even thinking about studying abroad at AIU, then one thing that you can’t pass up are the field trips run by the school!

They usually happen about once per month, and a large number of students can go. They usually aren’t expensive either, with the most pricey one costing maybe ¥2000 (about 18 US dollars). The most recent one that I partook in had us venturing up to the Oga peninsula in northern Akita Prefecture, and we got to experience so much of the unique culture there. We started by visiting the Oga Aquarium, GAO. It had plenty of interesting wildlife both native to the area and exotic, some of which I’d never seen before even at other aquariums!

We next went to Nyudozaki Cape and all got some free time to enjoy the scenic cliffs and try some “monster noodles” from the nearby shops. The view was so relaxing I accidently spent the entire time just sitting in the grass! We then got to visit the official Namahage museum where we were treated to a live show which demonstrated the lore of the namahage, and boy was it scary! The namahage seemed to like (or dislike) me particularly because when they came out to interact with the audience both of them came up to me specifically to give me a scare and shake my hand! It was a hilarious experience for all my friends to watch, less so for me however.

Finally we were allowed more free time to roam on Mt. Kampuzan and look over the entire peninsula below us. It was absolutely a sight to behold! Ultimately I can’t wait for the next one of these trips to happen, and you can bet I’ll be one of the first people to sign up and take advantage of all that these trips offer!