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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Akita City, Japan
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Calendar Year, Fall Semester, Spring Semester
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: WWU applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Exchange Language of Instruction: English
Language Prerequisite: No Fields of Study: Accounting, Art, Business, Economics, Humanities, International Business, International Studies, Japanese, Political Science, Sociology
Housing Options: Student Residence/ On Campus Minimum GPA: 2.5
Program Description:

WWU Full Color LogoWWU Exchange in Japan: sign
Akita International University


About Akita International University (AIU)

AIU is a small, four-year undergraduate college with a graduate school, both of which are accredited by Japan University Accreditation Association. AIU ranked 12th overall in the Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings for 2018.   Within this ranking, AIU tops the engagement and environment pillars, which measure, respectively, the quality of university teaching and the diversity and inclusivity of the university environment.
A note on eligibility: AIU requires students to have one full year of grades from Western on their transcript before the application deadline. Students who are in their first or second quarter when they apply do not meet this requirement.
Please also note that AIU is a non-smoking campus. Smoking is not allowed anywhere on campus or in the residences and there are no places to smoke near the campus. If any applicants do smoke, please be aware that AIU expects you to quit before coming to AIU.

AIU is located in Akita prefecture, which is in the northeastern part of the main island (Honshu). Akita prefecture is famous for its rice farming, apple orchards, and sake breweries. Akita is a beautiful region with hills and forests. The change in seasons is sharp and distinct. If given the opportunity, students should definitely attend celebrations of the spring cherry blossoms and the fall change of colors. Note that winters are cold in Akita and there is often heavy snowfall.
The university is roughly a 10-15 bus ride from the nearest train station (Wada station). It takes roughly 12 minutes to get from Wada station to Akita station. Akita city is famous for its beautiful views of the Japan Sea, its traditional temples and shrines, and well-preserved old farming residences. Although Akita city is large (pop. ~ 350,000), it is not nearly as densely populated as Tokyo city (347 persons per km2 vs. 6158 persons per km2), making it a more comfortable destination for students not used to crowded cities.

Fun Facts about Japan
  • The origin of the word Japan is Cipangu, which is an Italian phonological interpretation of the Chinese word that means “the country of Japan”.
  • Japan is (currently) made up of 6,852 islands.
  • Japan has the third longest life expectancy in the world.
  • Japan has more than 3,000 McDonald’s restaurants
  • Kobe beef comes from cows that receive daily massages and, in summer, are fed a diet of saké and beer mash
Academic Program and Courses

The undergraduate academic calendar starts in early April as is customary in Japan. However, AIU welcomes international students in either spring (April) or fall (September) semester.  Please note that ends Fall semester ends in December, allowing WWU students to return to WWU for Winter quarter.
  • Fall Semester: early September to late December
  • Winter Program: (Fall students only): mid January to early March
  • Spring Semester:  early April to late July
The Japanese Studies Program, designed mainly for international students, focuses on Japanese culture, business, economics, politics, and history.  
The Global Business Program is modeled after those at top business schools with a focus on such areas as marketing, finance, international business, entrepreneurship, leadership and strategy. AIU business faculty have graduated from Harvard, Princeton, University of Chicago, UC-Berkeley, University of Tokyo, Keio, Waseda and other prominent universities and have had careers at Citibank, AT&T, Ford Motor Company, Mitsui Venture Capital, Nomura Securities and other global companies.  

The Global Studies Program examines forces in politics, law, society, culture, media and economics that are bringing about an increasingly interdependent world. This program focuses on the relationships of North America and Asia, with a special focus on China.  

More specific information on courses, including course descriptions and syllabi can be found on the AIU Academics page.

AIU requires all short-term international students to live in on-campus housing. Students may express a room preference on the Housing Application Form. However, final room and roommate assignments will be made solely by AIU.
  Komachi Residence Hall Global Village Sakura Village Themed House
Room Style Double occupancy room connected to another suite Double occupancy Single bedroom with triple occupancy suite Double occupancy
Toilet/Bath Shared with 2nd suite One unit bath per room One unit bath per suite One unit bath per room
Kitchen Common Kitchen IH Range in Room IH Range in Suite Gas stove in room
Amenities A/C, Loft Bed, Book Shelf, Closet, Desk, Desk Chair, Desk Lamp, Wired Internet, Internal Phone A/C, Bed, Closet, Desk, Desk Chair, Desk Lamp, Wired Internet, Small Refrigerator A/C, Bed, Closet, Desk, Desk Chair, Desk Lamp, Dining Table, Dining Chair, Wired Internet, Refrigerator, WiFi A/C, Bed, Closet, Desk, Desk Chair, Desk Lamp, Wired Internet, Small Refrigerator, Kerosene Fan Heater
Bedding Set 20,000 JPY (Fall/Spring); 6,750 JPY (Winter) 20,000 JPY (Fall/Spring); 6,750 JPY (Winter) 20,000 JPY (Fall/Spring); 6,750 JPY (Winter) 20,000 JPY (Fall/Spring); 6,750 JPY (Winter)
Japanese Residents Yes, mostly Freshmen Yes, mostly upper classmen Yes, mostly upper classmen Yes, mostly upper classmen
Fall/Spring Semester 90,000 JPY (utilities included) 108,000 JPY (utilities included) 180,000 JPY (utilities included) 103,500 JPY (utilities included)
Winter Program 60,000 JPY (utilities included) 72,000 JPY (utilities included) 120,000 JPY (utilities included) 69,000 JPY (utilities included)

The themed house project is a pilot project funded by the Ministry of Education to further enhance the “24-hour Liberal Arts Education” practiced at AIU. In each Themed House, international and Japanese students live together and work on common subjects. They develop intercultural communication and collaboration skills, as well as leadership.

Themed Houses began with the Japan House (Japanese Arts and Culture House) in Spring 2015. The number of houses and their specific themes change each semester. AIU will send a list of available themes along with application instructions to accepted students each semester.

Themed Houses require an additional, emailed application and entrance is not guaranteed.

Past Themes have included:
  • Japanese Arts and Culture House
  • Nihongo House
  • Entrepreneur House
  • International Customs House
  • Romance Languages House
  • Fitness House
Please make note of the following:
  • On-campus accommodations share common spaces. As such, the possibility of spreading infectious diseases is high. To prevent the possible risk of infection, AIU strongly requests that students receive the following vaccinations before arrival:
    • MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella vaccine)
    • DPT vaccine (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine)
    • Influenza
  • Payment for housing is due roughly 4-6 weeks prior to arrival. AIU will provide students with payment deadlines and procedures. Students who cannot meet the payment deadline should contact AIU as early as possible to arrange an alternate payment plan. Failure to do so may result in the cancelation of the student’s exchange.
All housing options provide either a community kitchen or cooking facilities in the student’s room. On-campus dining is also available at the cafeteria. Students can pay cash for individual meals at the cafeteria or they can purchase a meal plan. There is a 21 meals/week plan (100,800 JPY) and a 10 meals per week plan (60,000 JPY).
Students are required to purchase the 21 meals/week plan for the first two weeks of attendance. The cost of the 2-week plan is 14,400 JPY, for which students will be billed prior to arrival.
Program Cost

Exchange program participants will pay a student fee based on WWU in-state tuition and mandatory fees.  For students studying abroad for three quarters, this fee will be equal to in-state tuition and mandatory fees. Students studying abroad for a single semester will pay a semester rate for tuition, which equates to ½ year of in-state tuition. All other costs associated with participation in the program (including transportation, room and board, personal expenses) are the responsibility of the individual student.

Please note that students will be required to purchase two health insurance policies. As required by WWU policy, students must purchase study abroad health insurance. As required by Japanese Immigration, students will also need to purchase National Health Insurance for the full duration of the student’s visa. Instructions will be provide by AIU.

Cost Estimates
  • Tuition & Mandatory Fees (Academic Year 2018): ~$2,710 per quarter
  • Tuition & Mandatory Fees (Single Semester 2018): ~$4,065
  • Housing: 90,000 – 180,000 JPY per semester
  • Meals: Mandatory 2-Week Meal Plan: 14,400 JPY(must be paid before arrival)
  • Meals: USD $1,000 - $1,500 per semester
  • Books & Supplies: ~15,000 – 50,000 JPY per semester
  • National Health Insurance: 4,850 yen per semester (plus 1,140 yen per year)
  • Personal Expenses: 150,000 JPY - 250,000 JPY per semester
  • Airfare: $800 - $1,300
  • Deposit: 20,000 JPY
  • Student Activity: 20,000 JPY
The program may allow for time, which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sightsee or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-program activities.
How to apply

Step 1: Nomination
You must be nominated by Western’s EdAbroad office before you can apply for admission to AIU University. Here is the process:
  1. Create one EdAbroad application  
  2. Complete the following four items in the Pre-Decision Section:
    1. Sign the Read & Sign forms
    2. Pay the application fee
    3. Answer the Questionnaire (This will help prepare you for the interview)
    4. Submit a completed Recommendation.
  3. There are two other items in the Pre-Decision Section, but students can complete them either before or after the interview. 
  4. Call the EdAbroad front desk to schedule an interview.
Deadline for Submitting Nomination material  
  • Fall Semester: February 1 (Interviews can be scheduled before or after the deadline)
  • Spring Semester: June 1 (Interviews can be scheduled before or after the deadline)
Late applications accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Once the student has come in for an interview, the status in their EdAbroad application will be changed to "Interviewed".
Step 2: Accept the Nomination from the EdAbroad Office

The EdAbroad office will make nomination decisions as soon as possible after all eligible candidates have been interviewed. Note that different host sites have different nomination and application deadlines. The timeline of the host site’s application process strongly influences the order in which the EdAbroad office processes student applications.  
The EdAbroad office will notify students of their nomination status by email. Nominated students will receive an attached Nomination Letter.
In order to accept the nomination, students should initial and sign the nomination letter and return it to the EdAbroad office by the date requested in the letter. Note that students will be required to pay a $500 deposit against tuition after accepting the nomination.

Once nominated students have submitted their signed and initialed nomination letter, their EdAbroad Application status will be updated to "Accepted". When a student's application status is changed from "Interviewed" to "Accepted", the remainder of the EdAbroad application material will become available for review and completion.

Step 3: The EdAbroad office submits your nomination information to AIU
The EdAbroad office must contact AIU with your nomination information. The deadline for the EdAbroad office to submit this information is as follows:
  • Fall Semester: February 28
  • Spring September 30
Please note that the nomination decisions for AIU will be prioritized for Fall semester due to the nomination deadline.
Step 4: Apply to AIU

Students will need to complete an online application. Students will receive a user name and password by email.
Interested students can review the Online Application Guide.

Step 5: Submit Hardcopies of Application Documents
Students will need to send several documents to AIU. For more information, please click here.
Application deadlines are as follows:
  • Fall/Academic Year: April 1
  • Spring/Calendar Year: November 1
Step 6: Acceptance
AIU requires all students to live on-campus. Students apply for housing through an online application system after acceptance to AIU.

Step 7: Certificate of Eligibility (CoE)

When applying for a student visa, students are required to submit a Certificate of Eligibility along with other supporting documents. AIU will apply for the CoE on the student’s behalf, but students may need to provide AIU with necessary documentation. AIU will advise students accordingly.
US students studying in Japan for more than 90 days are required to apply for a student visa through the Japanese Embassy or local consulate. There is a Japanese consulate in Seattle with jurisdiction over residents of Washington State. A visa cannot be acquired after arriving in Japan.

Useful Links
Akita International University Home Page
AIU Academics
Consulate General of Japan (Seattle) – Visa Page


WWU Accessibility Notice

Program Ratings:
Academic Experience:
1 2 3 4
Program Value:
1 2 3 4
Housing Experience:
1 2 3 4
Cultural Immersion:
1 2 3
Program Administration:
1 2 3
Overall Experience:
1 2 3 4

This program is currently not accepting applications.