- Minimum GPA: 2.5
- Language of Instruction: English
- Judicial Check
Currently Accepting Applications for:
- Spring 2024 Program Dates: Early April – Late July
- SMCM Application Deadline: September 15
- Akita Application Deadline: November 1
- Need to be nominated by office for limited spots, so get an early start! (Update February 2023: Nomination spot has been filled for Fall 23.)
- Study at a Small Liberal Arts College in Northern Japan taught in English
- Experience Japanese culture and cuisine firsthand
- On campus housing guaranteed
Study Abroad Budget
View Estimated Semester Budget (Organized Geographically)
Financing Studying Abroad
Office of International Education Scholarships (Need-Based, Merit-Based, Region Specific, Language Study)
Speak with the Office of Student Financial Assistance for Options
About the Program
Akita International University (AIU), “Kokusai Kyoyo Daigaku,” is recognized as one of the top universities in Japan and places strong emphasis on a well-rounded humanities education and innovation. AIU is a small liberal arts college with a global orientation, welcoming a high percentage of international students from around the world. SMCM students have the opportunities to take courses, taught in English, in the Japan Studies Program, Global Business Program, Global Studies Program, and in a variety of other disciplines.
Akita Prefecture, one of 47 prefectures in Japan, is located in the northwestern part of the main island of Honshu, facing the Sea of Japan, approximately 280 miles north of Tokyo. It is the sixth largest in area, and is easily accessible from Akita International Airport.
Akita is well known for its natural beauty and resources, abundant festivals, and sites such as Kakunodate, Tazawako, and the Shirakami Mountain Range, one of the largest virgin forest areas of beech trees in the world. It is famous in Japan for producing the country’s most delicious rice and sake.
Since all courses are taught in English and use an equivalent credit scale to SMCM, SMCM students studying at AIU are welcome to take any subject matter course in the curriculum and a similar credit-load (12-16 credits). Students must take the Elementary Japanese course and through a semester or one-year term, students can take courses in the Global Studies Program or the Global Business Program, or can study Japanese language, culture and society in the Japan Studies Program.
Basic Education/Global Education
AIU curriculum covers such topics as Japan Studies, Japanese Language, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Math and Natural Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, World Languages and Linguistics, and Health and Physical Education. This part of the curriculum is intended primarily for students in the first and second years of university. However, some courses, particularly in the area of Japan Studies, may be appropriate for more advanced International Students.
Global Business Program
This area includes the study of economics, finance, management, information, technology, strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship, international business, and other related courses. The Global Business Program emphasizes both theory and application, and development of the capacity to think in creative, critical, independent, and global dimensions.
Global Studies Program
The curriculum in this area covers the study of politics, economics, culture, arts and other social studies. The Global Studies Program is divided into 3 tracks: North American Studies, East Asian Studies, and Transnational Studies.
Housing and Meals
AIU considers housing students from different cultural backgrounds together to be a critical part of the international experience for all students. Double occupancy accommodations are guaranteed in either the “Global Village” apartments or the residence hall “Komachi Hall.” Each room at Akita will have a bed, bookshelf and desk and a shared bathroom. The residence halls also offer a lounge area equipped with Cable TV, sofa, tables, English and Japanese newspapers, vending machines and mail boxes. Laundry machines and dryers are located on each floor.
Students can purchase their meals in either the cafeteria or College Cafe on campus, which serves students, faculty, staff as well as the public.
International students at AIU are strongly encouraged to participate in AIU student clubs and circles of interest. Typical clubs include: Kendo, Table Tennis, Badminton, Yoga, Japanese Dance, Flower Arrangement, Guitar, Global Vision, Choir, International Cooperation, Broadcasting, Photography, Sign Language and Kanto. Circles of Interest include: Ecology and Environment, Japanese Chess, Aikido, Double Dutch, Musicals and Drama, Shorinji Kempo and Boxing.
Off campus, Akita is famous for its many skiing and snowboarding resorts and mineral hot springs. Students also have access to the facilities of a multi-sport complex in the Akita Prefecture Central Park. The complex offers an indoor all-purpose stadium, athletic fields, cycling paths, and weight training rooms. A shopping mall is available 10 minutes away from campus by bus where students can stop before or after classes and on weekends for groceries, restaurants, movies, video-gaming and much more.
Transfer Credit Policy
How credits taken abroad will transfer back to SMCM.
Academic and Judicial Policies
The academic and judicial requirements for any student considering studying abroad.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
How financial aid will apply towards your study abroad program and what scholarships are available.
Payments and Services
Payment processes for semester-long, short-term, and non-SMCM study abroad programs.