What do you want to experience at AIU? What do you want to become through study abroad?
In this series of articles, we would like to introduce the articles from past exchange students who have completed their studies at AIU. They will share the most memorable experience, what they learned and how the AIU experience helped them now, and what they would like to tell international students who are thinking of studying at AIU.
The purpose of studying abroad is different for everyone, but we hope that the stories of alumni will encourage you to consider studying abroad at AIU as a place of learning.
Here is a message from Julia Kemmerling. She was an exchange student who stayed at AIU in Fall 2016 Semester and Winter 2017.
Choosing AIU and all the experiences that came along with it
In the summer of 2016, I arrived at AIU for a seven months exchange. Looking back a few years later, my time in Akita shaped me more than I could have expected.
I think I was mostly hoping to improve my Japanese and otherwise just enjoy traveling and exploring. I also remember being uncertain about choosing a university in the countryside. Now I can assure you it was the best possible decision.
During my first week at AIU, I already got into contact with more of Akita’s unique culture than I could’ve imagined. I still have fond memories of my roommate introducing me to Babahera (local ice-cream in Akita), the students’ Kantō performance, and a slightly intimidating visit to Namahage (god from the Oga region in Akita). Even after the honeymoon phase, there were always opportunities for extraordinary trips, such as farm stays, cooking classes, or local schools visits.
Yet, hopefully not getting too corny here, the best thing often were my fellow students. Even though I barely understood enough Japanese to ask for directions, I decided to join the drama club. I am still not quite sure how my clubmates found the patience to explain an entire play to me, but they did - and made me feel part of the group right away.
Outside of club activities and classes, I also spent much time with other exchange students from various countries and programs. Within a month I had found trusty travel buddies and friendships. It was also due to the people I met here that I decided to pursue a full master‘s abroad afterward.
If you come to AIU, I can only advise you to take in all opportunities. Go on all the trips, join a club, maybe two, and connect with the students around you. I am sure you will have unexpected, great experiences!