Category Archives: Dickinson Partner Program: Akita International University

The study abroad reflections on Akita International University

Angel Acosta ‘15

The first time I went to Japan was last summer with a Dickinson program, Seismic Japan, where we studied not only the geological conditions that make Japan prone to earthquakes (and other natural disasters), but also the influence that natural disasters has had, and still has, on the Japanese culture and people.

I later went on to study abroad at Akita International University (AIU) in Akita for one year, one of two Japanese programs offered at Dickinson. While studying at AIU I joined the Kanto (竿燈) club, a 200-year old tradition in Akita where performers balance long, 50kg bamboo poles with paper lanterns attached at the top on their bodies. The festival, and the Kanto pole, actually represents a prayer for a good rice harvest in Akita, and is one of the biggest attractions in the Tohoku region. I was given the opportunity to be part of the festival when I joined the club, and it was one the best experiences I could ever ask for.  I also joined the volleyball club and participated in tournaments throughout Akita.

At AIU I lived in a dorm, and my roommate was Japanese which gave me the opportunity to make more Japanese friends and helped me to further develop my Japanese speaking ability. Being able to use the language everyday made my experience in Japan much more meaningful. I took various Japanese courses, and was able to take a seminar with Japanese students on Japanese society. My favorite academic experience in that class was being able to travel around Akita and interview various elderly people to get their perspective on living in the countryside and their opinions on the decreasing birthrate and aging population in Japan. I also took traditional art classes such as calligraphy.

Being in Japan for one year helped me grow as I learned more about myself, and about what makes me happy. I was able to find what I was passionate about, which is invaluable and something that I would never trade for the world.

kanto 2

Lindsey Blais: Spring 2013

Akita International University

Akita International is a one of a kind university in Japan; a perfect union of the old and the new.  As an International Business and Management and East Asian Studies double major, Akita International University was able to provide me with a study abroad experience that perfectly coincided with my academic interests! The small school environment allowed for constant interaction with the full-time students as well as the other exchange students. I was welcomed with open arms and fully accepted as a member of the AIU family. The integration of the exchange students and full-time students allows for an immense amount of language exchange. I do not believe I would have been able to improve as much as I have in my second language, Japanese, anywhere else. As a Posse Scholar from Los Angeles, this experience has allowed me to see diversity from a global perspective. I was welcomed not only by the AIU community but also by the local Akita community. AIU fosters year round interaction between the student body and the local community to allow for greater understanding and a greater appreciation for the people of Japan.



Akita International University


Akita International University

Akita International University is a small liberal arts institution whose goal is to produce future leaders who can effectively conduct business and lead international organizations in the 21st Century. The University offers degrees in Global Business, Global Studies, Japan Studies, Japanese Language and Liberal Arts. Students enjoy small class sizes with a mix of Japanese and international students with content classes taught in English.

Akita, Japan

Akita (City) is located in the Tohoku region of Japan on the Sea of Japan, approximately 280 miles north of Tokyo. Akita-shi is a city where traditional and contemporary Japan coexists. Although the local industry includes rice-farming and mining, there is a rapidly developing technology and tourism industry. Akita-shi is also known for its many outdoor activities including hiking, skiing/snowboarding, canoeing and cycling. Although a haven for local culture and outdoor enthusiasts, Akita is just four hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen and a short flight from Hokkaido’s vibrant capital, Sapporo.


Dickinson students studying at Akita choose four classes, two Japanese language courses and two content courses in English. Academic year students will also enroll in an additional language course over the winter to earn a total of 9 Dickinson credits. Spring semester students please note: due to the difference in the Japanese academic calendar, spring classes begin in April and end in late July.


This Partner program requires students to have:

  • Four semesters of college-level Japanese
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Open to all majors.

All students must have a declared major at the time of application.

As a part of the review process students’ conduct records and account status are also reviewed. Students and their parents should note that the review process takes all elements of the student’s academic record into consideration and that even if a student has the required minimum GPA and language prerequisites, he or she may not be admitted.

Students who have questions about the review process or their particular candidacy for a program should come into the Center for Global Study and Engagement for advising.

Center staff will not discuss students’ applications with parents, friends or any other party without the student’s consent and presence in the conversation.