Set in the wooded mountains of northern Honshu, away from the dense crowds of larger Japanese cities, Akita Prefecture resembles the Pacific Northwest in many ways. IE3 Global’s partner, Akita International University (AIU), is ranked as one of the top public universities in Japan. The curriculum at AIU offers an accessible and exceptional introduction to Japan and the local culture. The intimate and highly personalized study program at AIU mirrors Akita’s small town atmosphere.
While in Akita, semester and yearlong students have the opportunity to take basic to advanced courses in Japanese language as well as English language based coursework in Japanese Studies, International Business, and Global Studies. All subject courses at the university are taught in English and no prior Japanese language experience is required.
AIU also offers an intensive 6-week summer language program where students can study Japanese at the 100 or 200 level. Students participate in cultural workshops on topics such as calligraphy, traditional clothing, and tea ceremonies; go on field trips; and do other optional activities like learn martial arts or meditation.
In addition to Japanese language courses, students take most of their courses in the university’s primary three departments – Japanese Studies, Global Business, and Global Studies:
Depending on how many classes you take, you should receive approximately the same number of credits for your time in Japan as you would being a full-time student at your home campus. You will be registered at your home campus and receive credit from that institution. Consult with your academic adviser and Campus Contact to determine how coursework completed in Japan will integrate with your home campus curriculum requirements.
Students who choose to do the Fall/Winter program will participate in the regular Fall semester at AIU and then the optional Winter Program. The Winter Program is 8 weeks long and students can take additional intensive Japanese language study.
The summer program is a 6-week intensive immersion language program with courses offered in 100 and 200 level Japanese. In addition to language coursework, students also participate in culture workshops, field trips, and activities on campus.
View course offerings here.
This program is open to undergraduate students in any major. To be eligible, students must meet the following minimum requirements before departure:
There is no language requirement
Students must continue to make satisfactory academic progress throughout the application process and during their study abroad program, and otherwise comply with policies and procedures of the host university, IE3 Global, and their home university International Programs Office.
If you do not meet the minimum eligibility requirements, please consult with your home campus contact person before applying.
Living on campus in Akita’s international community is an important part of the cross-cultural experience AIU offers: nearly 90% of all AIU students live on campus. Students can choose between dorms and apartment-style residences, but most students will live in doubles. The on-campus environment provides easy access to student clubs and university-organized activities, with many structured opportunities to explore Japan with fellow students. Campus food service provides three meals-a-day in either meal plan or pre-paid card options. Some of the residences offer in-room kitchenettes, while common kitchens can also be used for food preparation. Most students prefer the ease and social atmosphere of the cafeteria, as traveling off-campus to grocery shop can prove to be a hassle.
The AIU International Education staff provides student support once the program begins.
Counseling services are provided on campus by a professional counselor. The AIU student life counselor offers assistance to any student who has difficulties related to his or her studies, cultural adjustment, interpersonal relationships, or any other matter.
AIU also has a school nurse on campus. While studying in Akita, IE3 Global students are covered both by the Japanese National Health Insurance System and by a health and traveler’s assistance policy provided by IE3 Global.
IE3 Global seeks to make its exchange programs affordable and accessible. For detailed information regarding the program budget (both the program fee and an estimate of personal expenses), please click on the following:
The program fee includes academic and administrative fees, room and board, orientation expenses, on-site support, and health and accident insurance. The program fee does not include airfare, campus-based fees and personal expenses such as local transportation, textbooks, laundry, recreation (including travel), personal supplies and incidental expenses.
“Japan is beautiful! Behind Akita International University there is a beautiful forest with great hiking paths. From many of the school windows you are greeted by deep green pine trees. If you are lucky to be here during the cherry blossom season you get to see the famous Japanese blossoms. My ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement, class went on a hanami (花見), or sakura viewing, at the famous Senshu Park (千秋公園), Senshu is amazing with its pond, complete with huge black and white koi fish, cherry trees, shinto shrines, and multitude of events allowing you to experience Japanese culture, but it is the restored castle that made me return to the park. Not only will you find nature in and around Akita City, but all of Akita Prefecture takes pride in its nature. “
-Alexis Hartford, 2015
“I made a solid group of friends on the first day and since then, Japan has been nothing but an adventure. I have spent my time here slowly mastering the basics of the language and visiting various places around Akita prefecture with my friends. I will admit I was nervous at first, but being here has taught me that with a solid group of friends I’ll be fine facing whatever challenge presents itself.”
-Jacob Triplett, 2015
Fall: February 15
Fall/Winter: February 15
Fall/Winter/Spring: February 15
Summer: February 15
Spring: September 30
- Sophomore or higher
- Institutional GPA of 2.75 or higher
- Completed at least three terms at home institution by the application deadline