Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) - Semester or Year Abroad



GlobaLinks Learning Abroad offers programs at the Asia Pacific University through our partner International Studies Abroad.

Please click here to apply or learn more about the Asia Pacific University and all other study abroad program options.

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad has designed the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) program with your individual student goals in mind. It is built around a unique Discovery Model which is delivered by some of the best staff in study abroad, both in the U.S. and overseas, in order to provide you with an individualized experience through discovery in 5 key areas: personal, academic, cultural, social, and career. Learn more about the Discovery Model.

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad offers semester/year abroad programs at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU). APU opened in April 2000 based on a vision of freedom, peace and humanity, mutual international understanding, and the future shape of the Asia Pacific region. Currently, there are nearly 6,000 students, half of whom are from approximately 80 nations and regions outside of Japan.  A large majority of international students studying at APU are from other East Asian countries, providing you with the opportunity to have a dynamic multi-cultural experience while making friends.

APU offers a dual language education in Japanese and English, with most academic subjects given in both languages. This bilingual education system means no prior Japanese language experience is required for admission. 

APU’s international student body and teaching faculty are dedicated to fostering greater understanding of the Asia Pacific region among the peoples of the world, continuing to attract attention as the standard bearer of international education in Japan. APU buddies organize a welcome party for new students each semester. 


Want to learn more about study abroad in Japan?



Japan is an island country separated from the east coast of Asia bythe Sea of Japan. It is approximately the size of Montana. Japan’s four main islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano.

Japan has the world’s tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

Much of Japan’s history has contributed to its homogeneous society. The Japanese highly value group identity and social harmony, even above individual expression. Confucian and Buddhist influences also contribute to this cultural trend. The people are also said to be remarkably conscientious, meticulous, industrious, honest, and technically-skilled. Since WWII, the population has become increasingly urban, with only 25% of the population still living in the rural mountains and rugged coastlines.

While modern Japan has been heavily influenced by other countries, many traditional elements of the culture can still be experienced in Japan. While studying abroad in Japan, you’ll enjoy the exciting blend of ancient culture and modern society.  For more information on Japan, visit the Destinations section.

APU’s campus is located on a hill with stunning views over the township of Beppu and its picturesque bay. Beppu, famous as Japan’s leading hot spring resort, is proud of its small-town atmosphere and tradition of hospitality to visitors and new residents from around the world.

Studying abroad in Beppu rather than a larger city will allow you to more fully immerse yourself in the local culture.

Academic Highlights

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad participants are required to enroll in a minimum of 14 credit hours (5 – 7 classes) per semester.  Participants may elect to take up to 18 credits, but additional fees will apply.  There is no reduction of fees for students dropping below our required 14 credits per semester. 

The Japanese language class is taught over the 15 week semester with classes meeting 4 days per week for 95 minutes each session and awarded 4 credits on the APU academic system. Other subjects are taught in a shorter format with classes meeting the 1st or 2nd half of the semester (quarters as they are called at APU). These classes are held 15 times over 7 weeks meeting for 95 minutes each session and awarded 2 credits on the APU academic system.

A 2 credit subject at APU may transfer as 2 to 3 credits at your home university and the language classes (at 4 credits) will likely transfer as 4-6 credits. Be sure to clarify the conversion of credit with your home university academic advisor during the course pre-approval process. AsiaLearn participants are encouraged to enroll for 16 credits and drop a class, if necessary, once they understand the demands of each course and the academic differences at APU. 

The two colleges at APU are Asia Pacific Studies (APS) and International Management (APM).

Studies in Asia Pacific Studies are founded on the following themes:

  • Environment and Development
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • International Relations and Peace Studies
  • Culture, Society and Media

Specialized fields in International Management include:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Marketing
  • Strategic Management and Organization
  • Innovation and Economics

Japanese Language Classes:

  • Students are NOT required to take a Japanese language class while at APU, but are strongly encouraged to do so in order to further integrate into the Japanese society.
  • Upon arrival students will take a placement test to figure out which level of Japanese they will be placed in. APU offers beginner to advanced levels of language. Students may only register one level per semester and must pass that course in order to register the next level. 

To see specific subjects available, click on "Course Catalog" to the left. Most courses are offered in both English and Japanese. Japanese Language classes (fundamental to advanced) are also available for study abroad students.



All study abroad students are guaranteed a place in AP House, the on-campus halls of residence. Modern single and shared rooms are well equipped with a refrigerator, air conditioning, bedding, and telephone. Japanese-style rooms and a communal Japanese-style bath are located on the ground floor (showers are available on each floor). Students have the option of cooking in the hall’s communal kitchens or eating at the cafeteria on campus.

Bridging Cultures Program

The GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program is our signature orientation program for all semester and year abroad students. The cost for this multi-day program is included in your program fees and covers several nights accommodation, most meals, local transportation, and excursions.
Typically 4-6 days in length, each orientation program includes:

  • Exciting excursions and activities
  • A chance to meet other students
  • Orientation sessions to help you adapt to your new country

Orientation sites vary based on the location of your program. Each site is selected based on the proximity to your host university as well as for the unique activities available within the area. Read more about the Bridging Cultures Program>

Students pose with their host families during the fall 2009 GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program held on Kyushu Island.



                         C. Taylor - Metro Univ. Denver        J. Omeilian - U of M - Twin Cities



                          M. Jones - Eastern CT State Univ.      T. Ennemoser - Texas Tech Univ.

Scholarships Available

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad strives to offer the most reasonable abroad fees to Asia.  To further enhance the affordability of the semester/year study abroad programs, we encourage you to apply for scholarships through all available scholarship sources.  Learn more about our scholarship opportunities.

Special Programs/Excursions

Planned Excursions & Events

Our in-country resident staff arranges scheduled activities with students throughout the year. Activities are optional and designed to explore the five key areas of discovery: academic, social, personal, cultural, and professional. These are not just visits to tourist attractions. For example, these are activities such as networking opportunities, local festivals, gallery openings, and other similar events that you can’t find in a travel book. These activities will truly enhance your experience.

On-Going Activities

Your exploration of the culture, the academics, the people, and yourself is what will truly enhance your experience. Through the Discovery Model, our in-country staff will provide you with advice and recommendations for other types of activities you can undertake in order achieve your individual goals.

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University Program Specific Activities

Beppu is an amazing city just waiting to be discovered by you! As a student with GlobaLinks Learning Abroad you will be able to live the traditional Japanese student life and work on your Japanese language skills at APU while taking time to discover the larger cities such as Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kyoto, and Osaka over the breaks and weekends. 

Excursions Each semester students are invited to participate in a variety of optional affordable excursions organized by the Resident Coordinator. Each activity is designed to be fun and educational so that students gain a deeper appreciation for the arts, culture, and history.

Examples include:

  • Experience a traditional theatre or dance performance
  • Hike through the volcanic Kirishima-Yaku National Park
  • Visit the peace memorial in Nagasaki
  • Enjoy the pristine scenery of Kyushu’s northwest islands

Other Tours and Travel Available

Beyond our included orientation and excursions, you will be able to pre-book a wide variety of day, weekend, and week-long tours at a discounted price through our travel partner, STA Travel. These trips provide the ultimate flexibility for you to travel where you want to go, when you want to go, and with whom you want to go. Most trips have open dates, so you can pre-book the trip(s) that interest you, yet choose your dates later on in your semester. This flexibility also means friends that you make from other countries/programs or even your friends and family who are visiting you abroad can also participate. Learn more>

Get Involved Abroad

Community Involvement

While abroad, we recommend getting involved in your local community. It's an awesome way to meet locals, experience the true Japanese culture, and create long lasting memories. From volunteering to festival-going, we challenge you to make the most of your international experience... See a how to live like a local and become involved with community activities available in Japan or discover your own upon arrival!

You'll get a taste of how enriching community involvement can be during your first few days in Japan  on the Bridging Cultures Program. The program includes one day of pre-arranged volunteering with the local community. You'll interact directly with locals while giving back to and sharing your own culture with the community that first welcomes you to Japan.  Plus, you can continue your volunteer efforts throughout the semester making a profound impact on the local community.


Extracurricular Activities

APU has highly encourages students to become involved on campus. They have clubs, activities, and organizations that will suit every student's interests. At the beginning of the semester you will be welcomed with a “Hanami” (cherry blossom viewing) picnic or barbeque at the beach. Some sample organizations include:

  • Photography

  • Calligraphy Club

  • Tropic Salsa

  • Comic Story Telling Club

  • Model UN

  • World Cooking Club

  • Sports (Swimming, Baseball, Martial Arts, Lacrosse, Volleyball, ect.)

  • Double Dutch (yes, you read that right, they have a double dutch club!)


Course Catalog

To determine if the classes you need are available at this university, please read the instructions which you can download HERE.  Please read the document carefully, as this will answer many of your questions. You may also view the suggested grade and credit transfer information at the bottom of the document for information on how classes may transfer back.
If you have any questions about course availability, please contact studyabroad@globalinksabroad.org.




Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU)
All fees listed are for first term onlyYear Abroad Advice
Program FeesTBD
Housing without MealsApproximately $2,600 - $3,100
What's includedSee below

Fee Includes

Your Personalized Semester/Year Program Includes

  • Tuition and instruction
  • Host university activity and insurance fees
  • 24/7 support for students and parents at home and abroad
  • Pre-departure materials and travel gear
  • Comprehensive assistance
  • Personal program manager
  • Scholarship and financial aid assistance
  • Facilitation of course selection / credit transfer

Activity and Excursion Package

  • Multi-day on-site Bridging Cultures Program
  • Local Discovery Activities hosted by on-site Resident Coordinator
  • Welcome and farewell events
  • HTH Worldwide health insurance protection
  • Alumni opportunities, including professional ambassador program
  • International Student Identity Card
  • Exclusive Career-Building Alumni Institute (add-on option)

Additional Housing Fee

Housing amenities are generally:

  • Single room
  • Technology package available
  • Linen package available

An additional refundable housing deposit may be required for your housing selection. This housing is self-catered, therefore you will have access to a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals.

*All fees are subject to change.


Should you receive an offer, your offer letter will provide you with the most up to date university start dates. GlobaLinks Learning Abroad will attempt to provide you with the most up-to-date information as we receive it. Be sure to confirm dates before finalizing any travel plans. 

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have the required GPA of 2.5 prior to the application deadline and must have completed at least the equivalent of one year of full-time study at the university/college level (the grades for both semesters must also be on the transcript prior to the application deadline).

Required GPA: 2.50

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Program Team

Program Manager
Program Manager