Akita International University

Akita International University, AIU, is a four-year liberal arts university located in Akita prefecture in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. The university is located close to ski areas, scenic hiking opportunities, and the Sea of Japan coastline. AIU is a small liberal arts college with a global orientation, welcoming a high percentage of international students from around the world. The university was established in 2004 and modeled on American liberal arts colleges. 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 the Japanese language. All content classes at AIU are taught in English, allowing you to choose from the full range of classes available.


For much of Japan’s history, it remained isolated from the outside world. In the 19th century, however, the small island country opened its doors. Japan is a country of exciting contrasts. Tokyo, the country’s economic, technical, and political hub, is truly one of the world’s most vibrant and fascinating capitals.  Experience a Japanese film or traditional theater performance. Ride the bullet train to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Get inspired at the Zen gardens in Kyoto. Then there’s Kyoto, Japan’s “cultural capital,” where ancient palaces, traditional teahouses, and peaceful Zen gardens meet to form an idyllic landscape. Making the leap to study abroad in Japan will be the opportunity to immerse yourself within a top-notch academic environment and a vibrant, autonomous culture that has stood the test of time and globalization to remain true to its roots.

Akita City

Akita City is located in the middle of Akita Prefecture, with the Japan Sea to the west and the Dewa Mountains to the east. The city is famous for its beautiful Japan Sea views, its traditional temples and shrines, and well-preserved old farming residences. Bordered by the sea and mountains, this peaceful city is home to major local festivals, museums of world-class art, and a well-preserved samurai village. As the prefectural capital, Akita City is the main point of access for exploring the rest of Akita Prefecture. The city also has major transport links with Tokyo, Kakunodate, and Aomori and from here you can catch local trains and buses to the hinterland of Hachimantai, Tazawa-ko, Kisataka, the Oga Peninsula, Odate, Towada-ko, and Nyuto Onsen.

Areas of Study

  • Japan Studies
  • Japanese Language
  • Basic Education
  • Global Business
  • Global Studies

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Language of Instruction

A wide variety of courses taught in English are available through this program, as well as Japanese language courses at all levels. No prior Japanese language study is required.


Most courses at AIU are three-credit courses. One credit reflects 45 study hours, including 15 lecture hours. Three credits mean three lecture hours per week for a total of 45 lecture hours per 15-week semester. 3 Credits at AIU = 3 credits at UMF.

UMF Students must enroll in a minimum of 12 UMF credits equivalence per semester, with maximum enrollment of 15 credits.

Each course has a course code, with 100 level courses designed for freshmen, 200 for sophomores or juniors, 300 for juniors, and 400 for senior students

Grading Scale

AIU Grade

UMF Equivalent

100 A+
95 – 99 A
90 – 94 A-
87 – 89 B+
83 – 86 B
80 – 82 B-
77 – 79 C+
73 – 76 C
70 – 72 C-
66 – 69 D+
60 – 65 D
59 or lower F

Academic Calendar

Fall runs early-September to mid/late-December
Spring runs early/mid-April to the end of July/early August

NOTE: The spring semester calendar does not allow for final semester Seniors to participate in UMF Commencement.

Click here to access AIU Academic Calendars.

Program Cost

Students will pay UMF for 15 credits of UMF tuition and fees. All other program costs will be paid out of pocket and/or directly to the host university.

Estimated Budget


AIU requires all international exchange students to live in on-campus housing. Over 80% of all AIU students live on campus which provides access to student clubs and circles, campus events, and over 200 community interaction opportunities per year. Living together with other exchange students from partner institutions in 47 countries and territories, as well as Japanese students, teaches more about intercultural cooperation and understanding than any classroom or textbook possibly could.

More about housing

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Helpful links

AIU Short-Term Programs

Orientation and Registration

Visa Information

Japan Tourism

Office of Experiential & Global Education
University of Maine at Farmington
106 Fusion Space
117 South Street
Farmington, Maine 04938
Phone: 207-778-7122