Q&A for New Students about Spring 2020

To new students and to their parents:

To our new students we offer congratulations on passing the AIU entrance examination. Before entering our university we know that our new students are probably spending their days with a mixture of expectation and nervousness.

On March 19th a decision was made by the AIU president that our 2020 spring semester courses would be delivered online using distance education teaching methods. Further, it was decided that our courses would commence on April 20th. Lastly, it was decided that our dormitories will remain closed during the entire 2020 spring term. These decisions might surprise our students as they were expecting to join us in Akita, at AIU, at our beautiful, forested campus. At the same time, students might feel anxious about these decisions.

As President Suzuki stated in his announcement of these decisions, AIU was planning to receive about 130 international students from our affiliated schools around the world, as well as about 200 freshmen from all over Japan. We had intended to start their international liberal arts educations on campus. It is an educational curriculum that encourages the growth of individuals through both academics and extracurricular activities.

However, and unfortunately, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly since the beginning of the year. Of particular concern are “cluster infections.” Cluster infections occur in environments where the virus spreads quickly through a segment of the population or an isolated group. As AIU is a residential university where students from around the world gather to study and live together, the risk of a cluster infection is much higher for the AIU community in comparison to a typical Japanese university. If one student is infected, the infection could easily spread throughout the university community. Additionally, in the case of even one infection, AIU would have to isolate all the students, faculty, and staff and disinfect all the classrooms, dormitory rooms and common areas, and the cafeteria. To accomplish this, the university would have to close. The impact on our students, faculty, and staff would be enormous. The decisions of President Suzuki were based on an understanding of these circumstances and were made for the sake of the university’s mission to provide a safe and enriching study environment. We ask for your understanding.

We know that some students might be worried that this switch to online courses in the 2020 spring semester might not allow them to accumulate enough credit hours to maintain their timelines for study abroad or graduation. We can assure them that they will receive enough credits in the spring term to maintain their schedules for study abroad and graduation. Additionally, they might wonder about their ability to learn the content and improve their academic skills through online courses. Everyone should rest assured that AIU is preparing diligently to deliver the best quality of education through online formats.

The spread of the coronavirus is filling the world with anxiety and confusion. But having the wherewithal to overcoming this type of hardship is a quality that we want our AIU students to develop. We want our students to be steadfast and ambitious in pursuit of their educations.

We know that you have questions regarding the courses and classes. Below, we have listed some of them along with our answers. As we receive more questions, we will provide more answers. We want you to have all the answers and information that you need in order to be secure in your understanding of the path AIU is taking and how instruction will take place during the spring semester.

Prof. Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University

Q&A for New Degree-Seeking Students about Spring 2020

Q&A for Exchange and Study Abroad Students about Spring 2020