ONE-chan, as you may know, is the mascot for AIU. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to get the source files for this loveable mascot, so I had to draw one myself based on a google image search result. He was a rush job, but I don’t think he turned out half bad. Only 32 more hours until the UNI International Opportunities Fair. Fighting!
Exploring Kyoto’s Amanohashidate Sandbar (天橋立)
In the 17th century, Japanese scholar Hayashi Gahō is said to have declared the three most scenic views of Japan (日本三景): the islands of Matsushima, Hiroshima prefecture’s Itsukushima Shrine and, finally, the Amanohashidate sandbar in Kyoto.
With lush pine forests extending down to the expansive shoreline, Amanohashidate stretches nearly two miles across Miyazu Bay. Though most popularly viewed from the mountains on either side of the bay, the land bridge itself contains a small theme park and the Chion-ji Buddhist temple. The contrasts between forests and beaches have drawn local and visiting Instagrammers alike to stroll among the sandbar’s pine trees and document Amanohashidate’s beauty.
No more photos this week as I am too busy preparing for UNI’s International Opportunities Fair. AIU is a fairly new program, so a friend and I are making the display board from scratch.
If you are a UNI student, come to the fair! That way, my efforts will not be in vain and you will get to see some incredible opportunities as well.
AIU Matriculation Ceremony 2012
Photography by Julian Tirazona
While students in America were celebrating Labor Day last Monday, it was the first day of classes for students across Japan. Before classes start, it is traditional in Japan to hold an Opening or “Matriculation” Ceremony ― welcoming students to their new place of study. There you will see many of the university faculty and have some guest speakers give a dialogue. Since uniforms are no longer a requirement at the university level, attendees are expected to arrive in semi-formal attire (black suit with conservative black tie is best.)
That said, おめでとう (congratulations) to AIU’s newest students, and to students all over to globe for finishing their first week(s) of classes!
Believe it or not, less than ten panthers have taken advantage of this amazing opportunity. If you have an interest in learning the Japanese language and culture, I highly recommend you go to the UNI Study Abroad Center today and ask about Akita’s summer or semester programs!
Photography by Greg Stoll
Pictured above is the late Dr. Mineo Nakajima greeting a fresh batch of new international students.
Photography by AIU
When you go the full-exchange route you be facing a completely different experience entirely. Whereas the Summer Program follows a strict schedule, when you enroll at Akita International University as an exchange student you are given a lot more freedoms in regards to living arrangements, what classes you take, and the ability to join university clubs and organizations.
Classes are taught in English, and range everywhere from your standard economics class to the unorthodox like Dr. Darren Ashmore’s “Manga Mania” surveying Japanese animation from its roots to modern time.
Akita International University’s Komachi Freshman Dormitories
Photography by Tiffanny Ann Ledesma
Whether you are an exchange student or just there for the summer, you will be rooming with a freshman Japanese student. This works out great because they are just as nervous as you are and they are just as eager to learn English as you are to learn Japanese.
Like it or not, it’s a natural tendency for people to stick to “their own kind” and this arrangement breaks that habit and allows you to meet new people and, most importantly, make some friends!
PROTIP: Don’t be offended if your roommate doesn’t talk to you right away. Japanese tend to be very shy and reserved. Take the initiative to introduce yourself and engage in small talk whenever possible. Just saying ittekimasu (I’m heading out) and/or itterasshai (Ok. Have a nice day!) can go a long way.
Summer Program 2012 at Lake Tazawa
Photography by Simon Chua
Although you can attend as a traditional exchange student, Akita International University has an excellent short-term summer program.
During the summer program, students spend their mornings in an intensive Japanese language course (with varying levels of difficulty) and in the afternoons they attend small workshops likes Kimono Wearing, Tea Ceremony, Zen Meditation, and even Calligraphy.
Students also have the opportunity to take field trips throughout Akita Prefecture to places such as Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in Japan, pictured above. During my time there, we even had an opportunity to see a traditional kabuki play.
Akita International University in Akita-shi, Japan
Photography by Sachiko Akie
Let’s do a little re-cap for those who are just joining us.
This is Akita International University (A.K.A. 国際教養大学 or Kokusai Kyōyō Daigaku), located in the upper north-east coast of Japan in Akita Prefecture.
The school is relatively new (established in 2004) and has just recently partnered up with University of Northern Iowa as one of its many sister schools.
With a small student population, rural setting, and a full English curriculum, students from all over Japan attend to perfect their English while students from all over globe attend to study Japanese and become immersed in Japanese culture.
It is quickly becoming a rather prestigious school.