Japanese-English Bilingual Education

The type of students that ICU strives to develop are people who can venture past their own social and cultural assumptions, engage in dialogue with unfamiliar values and perspectives, and thereby discover themselves through new relationships with others. That process hinges on honing exceptional communication skills--an effort that begins with proficiency in both Japanese and English.

Ever since its founding, ICU has adhered to the concepts of bilingualism by making Japanese and English its official languages. The university requires students to complete the English for Liberal Arts Program (ELA) or Japanese Language Programs (JLP) in order to graduate. These are just two examples of ICU's core commitment to bilingual education, which plays a central role in the classroom, outside the classroom, and even in student club activities.

English for Liberal Arts Program (ELA)

Under the English for Liberal Arts Program (ELA), majority of April entrants spend the majority of their first year at ICU enhancing their English abilities through intensive study. Students are placed into different streams (Streams 1-4) based on their learning levels, and each stream is divided into "sections"--small-group classes of around 20 students each. These sections take from four to eleven classes together every week. ELA students read, talk, and write short essays about various topics, such as "Intercultural Communication" and "Bioethics," to develop the ability to think creatively, critically, and independently.

Japanese Language Programs (JLP)

While many universities require students to have a certain degree of Japanese proficiency before enrolling, ICU admits students of all ability levels. New students with no prior Japanese experience whatsoever can enroll in Japanese Language Programs (JLP) to acquire solid Japanese skills in around a year and a half through intensive, small-class instruction. After completing these intensive courses, students can enhance their proficiency in Japanese to levels that allow them to take classes in Japanese.

A Diversity-Rich Campus

One in every three full-time faculty members at ICU is non-Japanese, and many different nationalities are represented. This proportion of foreign faculty members is high even by international standards.

ICU has a faculty member from Bulgaria who teaches The Tale of Genji, for example, and a Hungarian professor of Japanese history. These diverse intersections among the "nationalities" of ICU's faculty members and the subjects they teach represent one of the university's greatest educational merits.

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