Program Overview

In this program, you will directly enroll in courses at Akita International University (AIU), a small, liberal arts university located in Akita prefecture in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. With a total enrollment of around 800 students, classes at AIU are small and interactive so you can build relationships with your professors and classmates – from Japan and around the world.

A truly international university, AIU is a welcoming environment for students who may not have previous experience in Asia or with Japanese language. All content classes at AIU are taught in English, allowing you to choose from the full range of classes available. All students at AIU are required to study abroad for a year, and about one in five students on campus are exchange students, contributing to the international environment.

See videos from a UO student who studied at Akita International University here.

Akita City is located on the west coast of Japan's Tohoku region, on the northern stretches of the main island, Honshu. A small city of approximately 300,000, it is known for its stunning natural environment, wide variety of folk culture and performances, and its warm, welcoming people. Akita City is a good fit for students looking for a more personal, immersive experience. While urban Tokyo is only a one-hour flight away, Akita prefecture is a peaceful environment to study and immerse yourself in rural Japanese culture.

Note: Akita International University is a no-smoking campus (including the residence halls). Since smoking is not allowed on campus and there are no places to smoke near campus, AIU has indicated that students who currently smoke are expected to quit before coming to AIU.

Additional requirements

  • Junior standing is required for the Fall and Academic Year programs. 
  • Sophomores may participate in Spring term of their sophomore year.
  • If some of your credits are transfer or high school credits, please check with your GEO advisor regarding whether you are eligible.

What is an Exchange?

This is a program in which the University of Oregon and the partner universities exchange students on an ongoing basis. The number of places available to UO students varies based on the number of partner institution students coming to UO. If there are not enough exchange places available in a given year, then qualified applicants will be offered the opportunity to apply as a fee-paying study abroad student, or to apply for an alternate exchange program.

This is an exchange program in which you will directly enroll in courses at a UO partner university. Exchange programs differ from other study abroad options and on-site student support services such as academic advising, health & counselling services may vary. Students most comfortable and successful in exchange programs typically have high levels of self-reliance, resourcefulness, and willingness to adapt to unfamiliar teaching styles and living arrangements.

NOTE: The host university has its own credit and grading system. The transcripts provided by the host institution will be converted by the UO Registrar’s Office based on established standards of conversion. Exchange applicants should meet with a GEO advisor to discuss program details.

Academic Details

You will be directly enrolling in content classes taught in English, and you have the option to take Japanese language classes. Each semester, Akita International University offers a range of classes in the social sciences, arts and humanities, Japanese language, Japan studies, Asian studies, the sciences, and business. For more information about classes offered at AIU, please visit:

Japanese language classes are available from the very beginning to advanced level, and include comprehensive core courses, self-directed practice courses, and skill courses aimed at helping you develop your reading, writing, pronunciation, etc. While it is not required to have previously studied Japanese before going to AIU, we recommend that you take a language class while there to help facilitate daily life in Akita City and navigating Japan. For students who are building upon previous language study, your language level at AIU will be determined by a placement test. Students at the intermediate or advanced level can take multiple Japanese language classes if you wish to rapidly improve your language level. For more information about Japanese language classes at AIU, please open the PDF file on this page:

Fall semester students have the option to stay for the Winter Program, an intensive 8-week program from January to March that allows you to study Japanese language, content classes in English, or a mix of both. Yearlong students typically participate in this program during the break between semesters. On the Akita International University Exchange program, you will earn:

  • Around 18-25 UO credits per semester. If you choose to take Japanese language classes, this may include around 5-25 UO credits of Japanese language, depending on your level and how many language classes you take.
  • Plus up to around 14 UO credits in the Winter Program (only for yearlong students and fall semester students who choose to stay for the Winter Program)

Note: UO credits listed here are estimates and are subject to change. Please refer to the AIU links for the updated credit information on their classes. One credit at AIU is equal to 1.5 UO quarter credits.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Housing Description

UO students that study at AIU are guaranteed on-campus housing. There are four different housing options: Komachi Hall, Global Village, Sakura Village, or the Theme Houses. The rooms on offer vary: most rooms are double-occupancy with en-suite bathrooms, however, there are also some single-occupancy rooms available. Cafeterias and meal plans are available, and some of the residence halls have a communal kitchen so that you can cook your own meals.

Since 90% of AIU students live on campus, you will find unique chances to get involved, including club activities and student-led events. Students at AIU say that the on-campus community is top-notch, as you are never more than a 10-minute walk away from your friends, classes, and the wealth of activities on offer.

For more information on housing, visit this page:

Application process

Selection for the program is based on a review of your written application, transcripts, recommendations, and completion of the interview process. After the initial application is complete, GEO will review it and select successful candidates for nomination to Akita International University (AIU). Students will then need to complete a secondary application for AIU, which typically consists of an online application, copy of passport, official UO transcript, ID photos, proof of financial resources, and recommendation letter. The secondary application is usually due in March for fall students, and in October for spring students. The final decision regarding acceptance is made by AIU. Notification about acceptance usually happens in late April for fall students, and late November for spring students.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearDeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Fall/Winter Semester2020-211/1/2020Late AugustEarly March
Fall Semester20201/1/2020Late AugustLate December
Academic Year2020-211/1/2020Late AugustLate July
Spring Quarter20211/1/2020Early AprilLate July

Travel Advisories

For current health, safety, and travel advisory information, search the US Department of State country webpage.