International University of Japan is a graduate school located in Minami Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture established in 1982. It is a first of many things – first graduate school-only university, first US-style education, first MBA to teach only in English in Japan. It has two schools: the Graduate School of International Management (GSIM) and the Graduate School of International Relations (GSIR). At present, it has more than 300 students from various countries such as India, Mozambique, Myanmar, Norway, South Korea and more. The GSIR, which is the first school to be established is to be admired with its excellent professors specializing in the fields of democracy, government and politics, foreign policy and more. Recently, IUJ has become more well-known with its business curriculum as evident in this year’s list of Top 100 MBA Programs released by The Economist where IUJ is once again included.
Photo: etjih tasriah on FlickrAside from IUJ’s prestige as a university, it also takes pride in its very diverse community – with more than 50 nationalities living and studying in its campus. Personally, my first year in IUJ was so wonderful to the point that it felt magical, as if I rode Aladdin’s carpet and saw how dazzling the world is. I certainly encountered “unbelievable sights” and experienced “indescribable feelings”. It is definitely a place where the world gathers.
Social Gatherings and Relationships
Winter can very harsh in Niigata and there were times when we could not go outside to explore town and be entertained so we would usually organize dinner gatherings – potluck style and just share stories and learn more about each other’s cultures. I learned how to cook and appreciate national dishes back home. More importantly, I learned how to appreciate different kinds of cuisine. Just imagine a place (in Japan!) where you can eat any cuisine to your heart’s content. The best thing about this place is that you have people who are so kind and generous enough to cook for you!
This is my “Transnational” Dinner Squad. Myanmar, Turkey, India (not in photo), Philippines and Japan – now that is really transnational!
IUJ is a very intimate campus which makes it encouraging for the students to socialize. In a short amount of time, you can find a best friend, a future lifetime partner, a family from a different country, a life guru, and many more!
Leadership and Cross-cultural Communication
This is the primary representative of the IUJ student body, GSO-EC Graduate of Student Organization Executive Council where I was a Secretary (Photo courtesy of IUJ Office of the President).
The GSIM offers a course titled “Cross-cultural Communication” and the school itself is providing an environment for the students to apply and practice it. As a member of the student organization, I have learned to adapt to other people’s cultures and realize that my beliefs are not necessarily the only absolute belief. It is also a good playground to test one’s capability in the modern corporate world. Today, more companies are becoming globalized and it is not a rare occurrence to have employees from different cultures/countries. Most likely, communication is one of the biggest factors in the success of a company and here in IUJ, students are trained to be prepared for that. Most importantly, it teaches the students to be more open to the new and different.
For me, IUJ is one of the best places to be. It is in Japan and I can experience Japanese culture while studying in the university. But I also met people from different countries and learned about different cultures as if I have personally travelled the globe. I could use Japanese and English and even learn how to say “Hi” in another 10 languages.
Visit the place and see the magic for yourself!
Address: 〒949-7248, 777 Kokusaicho, Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture