Founded in 2000, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University has become known for its diverse student body and open multicultural atmosphere, making it one of the best universities in Japan for international students. Located in a quiet town of Beppu in Oita Prefecture, APU offers its students a lovely environment to mingle and cultivate their personal growths as global citizens. Boasting the impressive domestic-international student ratio to 50:50, APU proves that its unique bilingual education system can answer to the needs of many students in the era of unprecedented global interconnectedness.

Known for its bilingual education system, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University provides 90% of its undergraduate classes in English and Japanese. This ensures that students can acquire both language skills and specialist knowledge in their chosen fields. 

Currently, APU offers undergraduate education through its two colleges: College of Asia Pacific Studies (APS) and College of International Management (APM). Students enrolled in the College of Asia Pacific Studies will earn a bachelor’s degree in Social Science, while those in the College of International Management will earn a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BBA) when they graduate. In addition to degree type, the name of the chosen area of study will also be shown on the diploma, given that enough required credits in the specialized field are taken. There are various areas of studies offered by both colleges, as will be explained in details below.

College of Asia Pacific Studies (APS)

College of Asia Pacific Studies aims to provide students with comprehensive understandings of the Asia Pacific region through various disciplines such as political science, economics, sociology and cultural studies. Students can choose to specialize in different areas of study including Environment & Development, Hospitality & Tourism, International Relations & Peace Studies, and Culture, Society & Media.

College of International Management (APM)

As its name suggests, the College of International management offers courses that are focused on business administration. It aims to cultivate “human resources with strong business ethics that will play an active role in resolving management issues at globalizing enterprises and other organizations.” Students enrolled in this college can choose their areas of study from various fields such as Strategic Management & Organization, Marketing, Accounting & Finance, and Innovation & Economics.

For this article, I had a great opportunity to discuss with Time, who is currently majoring in Marketing at the College of International Management, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. Time is an avid dancer who loves K-Pop cover dancing. She is actively engaged in extracurricular activities at APU, participating in a student dancing team named K-MUSE throughout her college years. When she can spare some time from her busy practice schedules, she loves reading, playing the piano, and watching anime. Without further ado, let’s hear her opinions on APU!

What inspired you to study abroad in Japan?

Japan has always been the country that I wanted to visit. I love the language, the culture, and how orderly things are in Japan. Since I was a child, I have always been a fan of Japanese anime. I was inspired to start learning Japanese and that passion developed into the desire to come to Japan over time. In high school, I also chose Japanese as my major. Coming to Japan, therefore, greatly helps me develop the skills that I had.

How did you hear about APU?

My mom told me about it. There were also many former high school upperclassmen who were attending APU at the time, so it naturally became quite a familiar name.

Why APU?

I chose APU because of its bilingual education system. Having opportunities to use both English and Japanese simultaneously in the classroom is a big plus for me. As I have mentioned, many of my high school’s alumni who excelled in both academics and extracurricular activities also attended APU as well.

For extracurricular activities, the multicultural week is the key highlight at APU. The multicultural week is actually one of the main reasons why I chose to study here. As a way to encourage diversity and nurture the multicultural environment, APU allows students to organize multicultural weeks to promote their culture to other students and faculties. In my case, I have always actively participated in Thai Week events as part of the organizing team, becoming the vice-representative of Thai students for this event in 2018. 

Thai Week at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

What’s more, there are so many extracurricular activities for students to choose from. The city that APU is located in (Beppu, Oita Prefecture) is also peaceful and much cheaper than big cities like Tokyo. APU also has great support for international students, both in terms of financial support and other aspects of student life. I am receiving a scholarship from APU as well.

How is the student life? Is it any different from what you have expected?

Actually, I didn’t expect much before coming here. I gradually learned and adapted the life as an international student. One thing that I realized was that the subjects and the professors I chose had much stronger impacts than I thought.

Did it take you quite a while to adapt to life in Japan?

In my case, it didn’t take that long. I just had to make sure to pay attention in classes and become self-disciplined, as I have to live all by myself, away from my parents. In terms of culture, it was quite easy for me as I have always been interested in Japanese culture, so I am always proactive in learning about cultural differences.

How intense are the classes at APU?

The style and contents of the classes can vary, depending on the professors who teach them. I usually consult with the upperclassmen to find perfect classes that suit my learning goals. As I major in Marketing, there are lots of group projects and group presentations. For this type of assignments, the difficulty really depends on your teammates, since not all people are highly committed towards their studies.

How diverse are the students at APU? 

It’s pretty diverse here. The ratio of Japanese to international students is 50:50. With international students from many countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, and many other countries.

Students at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Having almost graduated, what is your favourite part of life as a student?

I love extracurricular activities! I love dancing, I love living in Beppu. I also love trying out new things such as singing karaoke alone all day long (lol). I also love having many friends from various cultural backgrounds.

Who would be the ideal candidate for APU?

People who highly value both academic and non-academic activities. There are so many extracurricular activities for students to try out, on the other hand, paying attention to your studies is also crucial. APU is also perfect for ambitious people, as it offers a lot of opportunities, be it academic or non-academic, for students to take on the challenge. As Beppu is a small town, it is also a plus for people who enjoy being surrounded by nature. Lastly, people who thrive in an international and diverse environment would love it here!

Define APU in three words

Diversity, Challenging, Enjoyable

Want to learn more about Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University? Check out their website here. If you’re still not sure, take a look at our articles on Sophia, Waseda, Keio, and Toyo. Up next in No Japanese, No Problem is Tokyo Institute of Technology. Stay tuned!