Located in Beppu City in Oita, Kyushu, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) offers its students the chance not just to study Japanese in Japan, but in one of the country’s most visited tourist destinations. APU has achieved a perfect balance between a diverse student body and international outlook, with a continued appreciation of traditional Japanese culture and way of life.
As part of its fundamental character and its attention to the global community, they have long acknowledged communication as one of the first crucial steps to international understanding. This means that APU put particular emphasis on curating the best environment and tools for developing its student’s language and communication skills. Any student majoring in the two colleges, Asia Pacific Studies (APS) and International Management (APM), are eligible to enroll on the Japanese language program, and due to this significance placed on communication and integration, the university strongly encourages them to do so.
Japanese Language Program
As students are foremost enrolled in the English language program, of which the courses can be shaped entirely around English taught units, no prior knowledge is required before starting the Japanese language program at APU. However, by the end of their degree, students are expected to be able to communicate ‘fluently and effectively’ in Japanese, and so once they arrive at APU, they will begin their language studies. As part of the registration process students take a placement test, which then determines the appropriate level for them to develop their Japanese best; as mentioned earlier no prior knowledge is necessary, so APU caters to all abilities.
The curriculum is made up of six different levels, ranging from Japanese Foundation Course 1 up to the Advanced Japanese Course. Students selected for the Japanese Foundation Course 1 will be registered for courses I, II, and III, which results in 12 classes per week, Japanese Foundation Course 2 take courses II, and III (8 classes per week), and Japanese Foundation Course 3 only need register for course III (4 classes per week).
In order to give students with minimal Japanese skills, ahead starts with their studies, before the beginning of the term, those selected for Japanese Foundation Course 1 also take part in a weeklong intensive course on hiragana and katakana training. This means that they can then begin their classes already with a basic understanding of the Japanese writing system.
Other Programs Available
As well as the standard Japanese language curriculum taught on the intensive course, specialized language courses are offered to those who have already completed their required Japanese credits. For students interested in further study, careers in Japan, or reaching advanced language proficiency, these extra courses are highly valuable in developing their ability further. Electives range from Japanese for lectures, Japanese language and culture, Business Japanese, and Japanese projects.
Language courses are also available for non-degree students studying at APU. Although auditing students are exempt, part-time students studying at least ten credits worth of subjects per semester are eligible to enroll in one of the language programs.
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