Drexel in Japan: Akita International University
About the Program
Akita International University (AIU) is a liberal arts university located Akita prefecture in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. Established in 2004, AIU is one of the only universities in Japan that offers all courses in English. Classes are small and interactive, so you can build relationships with your professors and classmates – from Japan and around the world. Located in rural Japan, AIU offers a true immersion into Japanese life and culture.
Akita is a small city of approximately 300,000 people and is known for its stunning natural environment and a wide variety of folk culture and performances. In Akita, you’re never far from wooded hills or lush fields, but there are pockets of urban convenience close at hand. Akita prefecture is known for its natural beauty and resources. The university is located close to ski areas, scenic hiking opportunities, and the Sea of Japan coastline. Akita is particularly famous in Japan for producing the country's most delicious rice and sake, as well as for the beauty of its people.
- 3.0 minimum GPA
- Open to all majors
- JAPN 101 language requirement
- Sophomore, Pre-Junior, or Junior
: Use this link to search coursework offered at AIU. Drexel students can choose from any courses in AIU’s course catalog so long as they are eligible for the course. Just as at Drexel, courses cannot be guaranteed and students should be flexible in their study abroad planning.
Coursework available in Japanese language and culture, business and economics, global studies, and communication.
Students have the option of remaining at AIU for the winter term following the fall term. The winter program is an 8-week Japanese language intensive. Students must attend Akita in the fall term to participate in the winter program.
Students will need to get any additional courses approved by the appropriate department for each course they plan to take at AIU. For example, if you want to take a Sociology course at AIU for Drexel credit, its equivalent must be pre-approved by the Sociology Department at Drexel.
Students are taught and graded by AIU faculty. Grades are noted as Credit/Non-credit ("CR/NCR") on the transcript and will NOT affect the GPA. In order to receive CR, students must earn a "C" or above at the host institution. Students must be a full-time student at the host institution while also taking the equivalent of a full-time load at Drexel.
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Students must leave spring/summer co-op a few weeks early. Students in class during the summer term will need to take additional permission from their academic advisor and summer term professors to leave those courses early.
All students are required to live in guaranteed on-campus housing. Nearly 90% of AIU students live on campus.
In addition to normal dormitories, Akita has a number of Themed Houses. 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 require an additional application and are not guaranteed. Past Themes have included:
- Japanese Arts and Culture House
- Nihongo House
- Entrepreneur House
- International Customs House
- Romance Languages House
- Fitness House
Students who need special arrangements or a particular room assignment because of special circumstances (physical or medical condition, etc.) must request that in advance and supply an official document, such as medical doctor's report, to verify their condition.
A detailed list of housing options, cost, and photos can be found on Akita's Housing
All students must apply for a study visa to study in Japan. Students should apply for their student visa through the local Japanese consulate/embassy immediately after receiving their Certificate of Eligibility from AIU. Visas may take 4-6 weeks to process. Upon arrival in Japan, students with study visas will be given a Student Residence Status. More information can be found on Akita's website
Estimated Program Costs
Review the Estimated Study Abroad Costs page for a list of approximated program expenses.
Tuition & Financial Aid
This is a Drexel sponsored program, thus your Drexel tuition and financial aid remain the same during the term abroad. Students may also want to submit a revised budget to Drexel Central to see if additional funding may be available.
Students who receive Federal Work Study should consider applying for the Study Abroad Online Journalist work study position (only available to students after acceptance).
Those interested in seeking additional funding should review Scholarship & Funding Opportunities. Remember that scholarship deadlines may be much earlier than study abroad deadlines, so plan accordingly.
- Students who receive Federal Pell Grant should apply for the Gilman Scholarship. Awards up to $5,000 for U.S. citizen undergraduate students that receive the Federal Pell Grant.
- Students going on this program are eligible to apply for the PaCIE and The Asia Institute’s joint scholarship. Awards up to $1,000 to support students seeking to participate in global learning experiences in Asia.
- The Freeman-Asia scholarship, available to US citizens and green card holders, provides substantial support for selected students to help defray costs of studying abroad.
- U.S. Citizens are encouraged to apply for the US-Japan Bridging Scholarship for Study Abroad in Japan. Awards up to $2,500 for students studying in Japan for a semester.
For more information on these and many other scholarship opportunities, visit our Scholarships page.