Message to Fall 2020 Inbound Exchange Students

Dear Fall 2020 Incoming and Continuing Exchange Students and Partner Institutions,

Greetings from Akita International University.

Cancellation of In-person Mobility for Fall 2020 Semester

I regret to inform you that Akita International University has made the difficult decision to cancel all of our inbound and outbound student mobility programs for the Fall 2020 Semester. While we will not be able to welcome you to Akita this fall, we have also decided to offer some of our courses online and make them available to you.

We are painfully aware that you were looking forward to your in-person exchange experience at Akita International University and the community and experiences here. We, too, wanted to take every opportunity to make this possible for you and for the past several weeks, we have been collecting and analyzing information from reliable sources to see if there was any possibility to welcome you to Akita. However, that information eventually led us to this challenging decision.

While we have seen that several countries have started developing and testing drugs to combat the virus, the process of testing, then creating production and distribution systems to ensure widespread availability is anticipated to take until the end of the year at earliest. Additionally, while research is proceeding on producing a vaccine, that process requires even more careful testing and development, so the earliest projections for general availability is next year. The WHO has also stated that the pandemic situation is expected to continue for some time, and has pointed out that some areas of the world are still at risk of a rapid growth in infections.

Some countries in Europe and North America, in particular, have begun implementing phased resumption of core economic activities, but it is not yet possible to predict their outcomes or make decisions based on them. Many experts are still predicting a second or third wave of infections and a long battle to come. In light of this situation, as of May 16, Japan will have immigration prohibitions in place against 100 countries and regions around the world, including nearly every country where we have partner universities. Under these circumstances, we cannot be sure when it will be become possible to welcome international students to Japan again.

Based on this uncertain situation, we have determined that we unfortunately cannot guarantee a safe and fulfilling study abroad experience for students in the Fall 2020 Semester.

Fall 2020 Virtual Study Abroad: Online Courses for Exchange Students

AIU has decided to offer a select group of courses online during the Fall 2020 Semester and to make them available to students from our partner universities who had applied for the fall semester. Japanese language courses as well as some content courses will be available.

Students participating in our fall 2020 virtual exchange will also be able to participate in virtual student life activities, which have already started in the spring semester.

The Center for International Affairs will be continuing with the screening of mobility applications for the Fall 2020 Semester. Students who are interested in enrolling in our Fall 2020 Semester courses as exchange students should continue with their application procedures. Your exchange coordinators will be in touch with you after this message with further details about your options and the specific procedures based on your enrollment and application status.

Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented danger. I hope you all join with me in believing that we will be able to overcome this challenge. We must all consider the post-COVID-19 world, what it will be like, what actions and behaviors we must take to adapt, and how we can prepare. This is also a period of unprecedented potential for growth. To that end, I hope that you all continue your studies and prepare to make a strong, positive impact on our world.

Best Regards,
Yoshitaka Kumagai
Vice President
Akita International University