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small-p1000020.JPGsmall-p1000011.JPG I visited Akita International University on Friday, June 27. President Nakajima and Professor Taida whom I know invited me to speak to the students. I also heard about the new initiatives of the AIU and wanted to visit myself. It was such a wonderful experience for me.

 I flew to Akita in the morning to find that the university is located in such a beautiful environment. The campus was just 5- minute- ride from the airport and it reminded me of many liberal arts colleges in the U.S. which I love. I felt that I saw this campus before in my life and felt so familiar. They took me to the tour of the campus. I was impressed with their facilities and the designdormitory for the freshmen, apartment for those who came back from overseas exchange programs, etc. I was particularly overwhelmed by the library. It is made of Akita cedar and beautiful architecture. When you go inside, you feel that you are in a totally different world! 

  I gave a talk entitled How to build a world class career in the age of Web2.0 and Global 3.0? As all the classes are conducted in English at the AIU, I gave my talk in English as well. I started, as always, with questions to the students and continued on. (Photo on the right) There were several questions at the end of two-hour session and we continued our dialogue for a while even after the seminar.(Photo on the left with students)

   It was so much fun to interact with young students.   The AIU has done quite a few initiatives such as making every freshman stay at the dorm on campus, making every student spend sometime overseas.  I am so glad that something like this new attempt has begun, as I believe they will trigger the transformation of the educational system in Japan. (ICS, our graduate school, is one of the new initiatives for the new educational system as well.)   The weather was beautiful, the campus was great and students and the faculty/staff were so hospitable. It definitely made my day. How lucky I am to spend such a great Friday with great people in the lovely environment.

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  • Comments (8)

  1. I’m very glad that you left with such a wonderful impression of AIU. As an international student from a small liberal arts college in the states, it is very easy for me to feel comfortable here, despite the cultural differences.

    I’m amazed at the proficiency of English that all of the Japanese students have demonstrated here. By comparison, I feel like a clumbsy, bumbling fool with my Japanese.

    I hope you will be able to return again one day! Akita has a kind of atmosphere you won’t find many other places in Japan.

    • yishikura
    • July 12th, 2008

    Hi, Rebecca, this is Yoko Ishikura. Thanks for your comment. I am delighted that you are having a good time at AIU, which is such a fine liberal arts college, with students enthusiastic and dedicated, regardless of the nationality.
    I too hope that I can come back to AIU soon. I am now finding out many unknown (probably only to me) places in Japan, which are very charming.
    I am now in British Columbia and find many trees similar to the ones I found at AIU. So I feel very close to it.

    • anthony
    • March 17th, 2009

    hello, interesting read.

    Would you recommend AIU for an international student? I’m thinking it sounds like a good university to attend for the full 4 years 🙂

    Thank you

    • Abman
    • June 15th, 2010

    I have a similar question to anthony’s, is AIU a good university? By good I mean if you get a degree from AIU, are the programs good enough that it is recognized as quality education in Japan and internationally?

    I have read many negative reviews about AIU regarding different areas:
    1) recognition as a quality university in Japan
    – Japanese students that graduate from there cannot get jobs afterwards
    2) international recognition
    not held in high esteem
    3) Administration and treatment of staff
      I would really appreciate an answer by someone who has received knowledge about this first hand. The program, courses, and catering to international students look amazing but I am very concerned about these reviews to the point where might not apply. Thanks

    • Kensuke
    • July 13th, 2010

    I am one of Japanese AIU graduates and felt responsible for answering your question.
    I think it’s true that AIU hasn’t really established high recognition oversea or even in Japan.
    Sadly, there are so many people around me who know nothing about my university.

    Yet, I truly believe that AIU has a “potential “to be a frontier in a new educational field.
    We have experienced many things that other Japanese uni wouldn’t be able to offer us. For instance, study abroad for a year is mandatory for all students. The library is 24 hrs open; On top of that we have extreme deep intercultural and interactive communication among students on campus.

    I personally went to National University of Singapore. Of course I have to admit in terms of educational copetitiveness, AIU is no better than NUS or other famous uni oversea.
    If I have to point out a bad thing about AIU, it would probably be club activity or sports and part time job in Akita are not as attractive as other uni in Japan.

    If you let me answer your first question, we are doing pretty good getting a job, at least here in Japan.
    Companies that AIU students have got their job from are: Morgan Stanley; IMB, Mitsubishi Corporation; NYK Line; Sumitomo Corporation; Bandai;
    Asahi Kasei; Marubeni Corporation; Dentsu; Cannon Marketing Japan; Mitsui Sumitomo Bank; ANA ; Mitsubishi Materials; Mitsubishi Heavy Industry; Nippon Steel Corporation; Kao; Mitsubishi Electronics….to name a few. Some students advance their academic career. Tokyo University Graduate school, Australian National Univesity, London School of Economics and so on.

    It’s also true that there was a big controversy concerning employment of professors; they got fired immediately after their contracts terms were over and they intensely protested on the web and every other possible ways. But hiring good teacher in a competitive environment is necessary process to make a good university. I personally think many of professors in Japanese universities are not in that kind of environment.

    • yishikura
    • July 20th, 2010

    Dear Kensuke, this is Yoko Ishikura. Thank YOU so much for your comment re: AIU.
    I am sure it is very helpful for those who are interested in AIU.

    • Kensuke Suzuki
    • September 9th, 2010

    Dear Ishikura Sensei,

    I’m not sure if you remember me, but I have met you at AIU campus when you visited us.
    Having met you was really inspiring and exciting moment to me. Now I got a job at Nippon Yusen.

    I’m hoping to see you again at St. Gallen Japan Club Meeting in April next year.

    • yishikura
    • September 10th, 2010

    Hi Suzuki san, this is Yoko Ishikura. Thanks for yoru kind words. Good luck with your new job. Hope I will have a chance to see you at St. Gallen meeting.

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