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Japanese Globalization

Akita International University's Exchange Programs

Japanese students challenging the world


AS globalization continues, the graduates of Akita International University (AIU), located in Akita, will play leading roles on international stages. Established in 2004, AIU offers students a fully English-based curriculum. Its students are required to participate in a one-year study-abroad program, similar to the Erasmus scheme in Europe, while the Akita campus also hosts a number of foreign students on short-term study programs.

Trying to prepare for the globalization age, where interests and values often cross borders and where students need solid language and communication skills, as well as an education at overseas programs, Dr. Mark Williams, Vice-President of AIU stated: "Akita International University contributes by nurturing students with practical abilities, including excellence in English and other foreign languages, along with a rich liberal arts education."

One of the keys to providing this education is the exchange program. AIU is partnered with 155 universities around the world. (as of September 2013) A compatible GPA system coupled with credit transfers allows students to take courses at universities abroad while gaining credits for their efforts at home. Former AIU President, Dr. Mineo Nakajima established this system, providing opportunities for Japanese students where none existed before.

The student's aim is to become self-reliant, to acquire the skills needed for autonomous learning and to become adaptable to changing environments. This helps establish the skills necessary to eventually assume positions of leadership.

To prepare for exchanges abroad, all students at AIU must first take the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course which provides the fundamentals required for advanced academic learning. They are also strongly encouraged to participate in international festivals, speech contests and the like.

One program that has gained immense popularity is called "Project Based Learning" (PBL), whereby a multinational team works on a common research project with professors from both AIU and a US partner institution. One example is a joint Pennsylvania-AIU project studying the comparative effects of ageing societies in Japan and the US. During the 6-8 week program, this Japan-US team engages in fieldwork at each university.

After graduation from AIU, all students are expected to have developed the abilities necessary to thrive in a globalizing world. Those students who had a solid university life will have a strong sense of identity, confidence and acquisitive learning.

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