Australian National University Students Hit the Ground Running at AIU Winter Program

Winter program students arrived at Akita International University on a snowy day

It may be mid-summer back home in Australia, but students arrived to a blanket of snow.

On Thursday, January 5, AIU welcomed 8 students from our partner university, the Australian National University, to the 6-week, advanced Japanese Language and Cultural Immersion Program (J-CIP:A). Akita weather rolled out a welcome of its own, treating the students, in the middle of summer vacation at home, to an arrival snowstorm.

This program for advanced learners of Japanese is a content-based language learning course that exposes students to traditional Japanese and rural Akita culture while developing their communication abilities. In addition to intensive language lessons, students will explore Akita on visits to cultural sites and spend three days living with local families while helping to prepare and execute an annual rural revitalization festival.

enjoying the welcome party food at the Akita international university cafeteria

Students, faculty, and staff at the welcome party

But before any of the intense studying began, participants came together with AIU students, program faculty, and support staff for a welcome party on January 6. With an AIU Resident Assistant leading the event, students participated in ice-breaking games and an Akita quiz challenge to strengthen personal bonds between themselves and with the program leadership.

student practices balancing a kanto festival pole

An ANU student attempts to balance a kanto lantern pole in an interactive exhibit at the Folk Performance Museum

The next day – Saturday – the students' program started in earnest with a day of visits to cultural heritage resources in Akita City that will tie directly into future classroom lessons: Folk Performance Museum, Satake Historical Material Museum, Akita Prefectural Museum of Art, and the prefectural products plaza at Atorion.