When considering Japan for their studies, foreign students mostly look at universities in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Not very many of them readily think of Aichi prefecture
However, being most well known as the country’s manufacturing hub and home to the car giant Toyota, the region’s universities have made valuable contributions to the education of countless Japanese students and improvement of the Japanese economy. Among those schools hoping to expand their international enrollment are: Nagoya Gakuin University (NGU), Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Shigakkan University, Aichi Prefectural University (APU) and Aichi Mizuho College.
Marking its 50th anniversary this year, NGU’s eight colleges have five main objectives: enhance critical thinking, widen international education, provide advanced ICT, form regional partnerships and train employable workers for the industry sector. NGU hopes that by increase international enrollment, they will form a diverse student community that will foster more cross cultural understanding and help them secure jobs anywhere.
“Japanese families have been growing smaller. Young people have a very limited experience in communicating with their same age group. They turn to their smartphones. So they need experience and interactions with different cultures and peoples,” said NGU President Hisao Kibune.
More than 100 years old, Sugiyama Jogakuen University began as a sewing school for women. Its simple mission was to provide them with basic education and knowledge that would allow them to earn some income and contribute to their household. It started college education after the Second World War.
Sugiyama has since opened more colleges, most of which cater women’s interests. Currently, the all-women school welcomes a very small group of international students but it now wants to partner with more international universities and encourage more student and faculty exchange programs.
“Our professors are our ambassadors. When foreign students come here, they like the experience because the school takes very good care of international students and encourages them to interact with the locals and work together,” said Sugiyama Jogakuen University President Kimio Morimune.
Another all-women school, Shigakkan University has made a name for itself because of its thrust on the holistic wellbeing of it students and for having Olympic medalists as former students. The university has built a strong reputation in the fields of preventative medicine and nutrition, particularly for athletes.
Shigakkan has experienced increased interest among potential students as its own students won medals in the Rio Olympics last year and the Japanese capital Tokyo prepares to host the next Summer Games in 2020.
“The Olympics is a very good opportunity to promote more scientific and independent methods of sports training for both genders in all age groups,” said Shigakkan University President Kuniko Tanikoka.
Away from sports, Aichi University of the Arts has trained and educated some of Japan’s top artists. This has undoubtedly helped Nagoya, the capital of the prefecture, enhance its image as an important cultural center in Japan.