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Japan: Akita International University Exchange Program

Japanese Language and Japan Studies

Experience the fusion of modern and traditional Japan at a leading Liberal Arts school


Akita city is the capital of Akita prefecture, and hosts a population of approximately three hundred thousand. Akita has its own airport, as well as a developed public transportation system including train, bus, and boat routes both within the city and to neighboring regions. Akita airport is a ten minute drive from campus, and the Akita JR train station is a thirty minute drive. Akita International University is located outside of the city center, and surrounded by nature.



Akita International University (AIU) is a highly ranked, four-year Liberal Arts University offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The undergraduate program offers bachelor’s degrees in Global Business and Global Studies. The University hosts approximately eight hundred degree-seeking undergraduate students, over one hundred of which are international students. In the fall of 2012, AIU had over one hundred twenty international students representing twenty two different countries and regions. AIU was recently recognized as having one of the highest employment rates of its graduates. The school emphasizes producing globally minded graduates. 


International exchange students constitute a large portion of the student body at AIU, and highlights the University’s emphasis on inter-cultural education. The Center for International Affairs provides on-campus support for students, and encourages student integration into clubs, organizations, and the student body. AIU degree-seeking students are required to spend a full year abroad, and the AIU International Affairs office encourages visiting students to spend a full year abroad as well. The International Affairs office assists students in pre-departure preparation including help with the Visa, room and board, insurance, transportation, and money matters. Support continues once the students are on campus with a week-long, on-site orientation.


AIU boasts a Student Faculty Ratio of 17:1, offering students the opportunity to be a part of a personalized academic experience. All courses are taught in English, with the exception of the Japanese language courses. Exchange Students visiting AIU have access to the full undergraduate program on top of the Japanese Language and Japan Studies courses. 

Japan Studies

Japanese Language


AIU supports an involved student body with over two dozen clubs and activities, as well as the opportunity to form new clubs with  student interest. A modern sports facility neighboring campus supports basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer, and weight training. Also near campus are opportunities for hiking, cycling, golf, and other outdoor activities during the warmer months. Meanwhile, snowfall during the colder months supports nearby skiing and snowboarding facilities. A large shopping mall is ten minutes away from campus by bus. Transportation hubs near campus offer cheap transportation into Akita City and the surrounding area; a bus ticket from campus to the train is about two US dollars. The international office also arranges several excursions to promote exposure to Japanese culture throughout the semester, some of which are included as part of the program fee. Different classes and clubs will also arrange excursions.


Similar to other Marist exchange programs, housing at Akita is arranged directly by the student. Due to the University’s large international population, exchange students have access to the dorms right on the AIU campus. Arrangements are made with support from the AIU international affairs office. A variety of meal plans are also available.




  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA at the time of application
  • Sophomore level standing or higher at the time of study abroad
  • Academic Advisor approval of program and coursework

General Information 

Interested students should contact James Morrow-Polio, Assistant Coordinator of International Programs, at with additional questions and for further information about the program. Enrollment is limited, and applicants are encouraged to apply early. Click here for more information about the program