International Character

International Character


International Commitment

Embracing Christian ideals amidst the devastation and emptiness left by World War II, International Christian University opened its doors in 1953 to promote "the cultivation of superlative individuals, who serve both God and mankind and have been educated as internationally minded citizens, as well as the making of contributions to lasting peace." ICU became not only the first Japanese university to feature the word "International" in its name but also the first college of liberal arts in the country.
As these core principles show, ICU is a university that transcends the national frameworks of the past and, as it has been ever since its establishment, an institution that plays a vital role in building bridges from Japan to the rest of the world.

Japanese-English Bilingual Education

Cultivating an international character is a key part of the educational mission at ICU, and all students are required to develop sufficient proficiency in both Japanese and English. ICU has adhered to the concept of bilingualism ever since it opened, by making Japanese and English its official languages. The university's core commitment to bilingual education plays a central role in the classrooms, office rooms, and even in student club activities.

  • Read more

Japanese-English Bilingualism: A Core Concept in the ICU Tradition

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.


International Educational Exchange/Study Abroad Programs

ICU sends over 450 students - roughly 15% of the total student population - abroad each year.

A Diversity-Rich Campus

One-third of the full-time faculty members at ICU have nationalities other than Japanese. The dormitories at ICU are also home to a wide variety of international students who live together and build relationships across cultural lines.

  • Read more

One of the highest foreign faculty ratios in the world: one non-Japanese faculty member for every two Japanese faculty members

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.


Learning with Students from Over 50 Different Countries and Regions

The student population at ICU includes students from over 50 countries, which means that one out of every 10 students at the university is non-Japanese. International students not only speak different languages but also come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Given this diversity, ICU is an environment where students can accept differences, respect each other, and live without boundaries.

This sense of communality extends beyond the classroom walls, too: the relationships that students have with friends at their dormitories and extracurricular activities stretch across national and ethnic borders, making it possible for everyone in the diverse ICU community to share the fruits of learning and joys of growth together.


International Service-Learning

International Service Learning participants join programs at partner universities and institutions in China, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and India to help local NGOs and public agencies with their service (outreach/volunteer) activities.

Global ICU

Internationalization efforts at ICU have earned its selection for two initiatives being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT): the Top Global University project and the Go Global Japan project. Visit "Global ICU" to learn how ICU is taking internationalization to the next level.

Summer Courses in Japanese

Summer Courses in Japanese, a six-week program that runs from early July to mid-August, offers courses in the Japanese language to non-native speakers. The programs draw a yearly average of nearly 100 participants who experience dormitory life on campus, do homestays, learn Japanese at an accelerated pace, and experience the culture of Japan.