The Asia University America Program(AUAP)is an innovative study abroad program for freshmen and sophomores from Asia University in Tokyo, Japan. A group of International Relations majors of around 65-100 students comes from September to February, and a second group of Business, Economics, and Law majors of roughly 30-40 students comes from February to July. Students take 18 semester hours of both content-based and ESL-focused classes as well as physical education classes at CWU, and credits earned are automatically recognized by Asia University. Over 2,872 students have participated in this program at CWU alone since it began in March of 1989.
The AUAP, presently ongoing at three Northwestern universities: Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University and CWU; was created by Asia University President Shinkichi Eto in order to give the future middle management of Japan an opportunity to live with and get to know their American counterparts. All freshmen at Asia University majoring in International Relations are required to participate in the AUAP, and Participation is optional for those students majoring in Economics, Law, and Business. International Relations majors participate in the fall/winter cycle, and Business, Economics and Law majors participate in the spring/summer cycle.
During the first term, students take classes taught by AUAP instructors in Functions of English, focusing on practicing English they will need for everyday life in U.S.; Integrated English Skills, which helps students develop the interdependent skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening; a TOEIC class, designed to activate interest and confidence in grammar and provide hints and test-taking strategies; and American Studies, consisting of a weeky lecture and follow-up discussion classes that cover the pre-European period all the way to current events. During the second term, students continue taking Integrated English Skills, TOEIC, and American Studies, as well as a major-related content course. International Relations majors study Intercultural Communication, while Business, Economics, and Law majors take Global Issues, which has each student think and do projects on global issues as they pertain instructors with the approval of the faculty at Asia University.
In addition to studying English, an important feature of this program is to help the AUAP students learn about and experience American culture. The AUAP students live in CWU residence halls, usually ten students per hall. The majority of AUAP students have American roommates. An International Peer Advisor (IPA), a CWU student hired to work for AUAP, is assigned to serve as a resource person to each group of 10 AUAP students. The IPAs provide ongoing support to the students throughout their stay, organize activities to help them meet Americans, help with personal or medical problems, and help them better integrate into campus and community life.
The AUAP offers students the option of signing up for the Community Friends program in which they are matched with families in Ellensburg so that they have the opportunity to get to know and to interact with American families throughout their stay. The families usually include the students in two or three family activities per month and this has proven to be a very culturally enriching experience for both students and families.
Students that want more contact with university aged students can opt to join the Campus Friends program. In the Campus Friends program, AUAP students are matched with CWU volunteers and they usually get together one or two times a week for conversation or an activity.
A third option for students is the Home Visit program which was designed for students too busy to commit to an on-going relationship with a Community Friend family or a Campus Friend. Students can sign up for a Home Visit and spend an afternoon or an evening with a family to experience American culture outside of a university setting.