Also known as Kokusai Kiristokyo Daigaku. Located in area of Mitaka in Tokyo prefecture on the island of Japan.

International Christian University (a.k.a. ICU) was funded by the guilty consciences of Christians in the United States after the atomic bombings at the end of World War II. It has since become a respected Liberal Arts college in Japan, and one of the best places to recieve a Western education without having to leave Japan itself. Many of the students at ICU wind up going on foreign exchange programs (more than whatever is considered average at most Japanese institutions) and ICU also accepts a large number of exchange students from other countries.

Practical information for those who want to study there:

I am currently at ICU for their year long study abroad program. Currently though, I am in their Summer Courses in Japanese program and will be attending the upcoming year. I node this so that future study abroad enthusiasts will not make the same mistakes I made.

Location: ICU's location is pretty damned good, if you want to explore the night life of Tokyo. It's around 40 minutes from the hotspots of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and the ever infamous Roppongi. Bus and train fare will probably run you somewhere around 500 yen one way.

While it is easy to get away from school for nights on the town, the area itself is a bit inconvenient for everyday living. The only sources for food around here are convenience stores and small markets. The closest ones are approximately a 20 minute walk, but most people advise you to get a bike, which will cut down the trip to about seven or eight minutes.

Classes: Remember all that stuff you hear about Japanese Universities being hard to get into but easy to get out of? Forget it. The Summer Courses here are intense. They plan on drilling a whole semester's worth of Japanese into you in six weeks. After calculating how many hours in total I would be in the class, it came up to 12 units by University of California standards.

I haven't taken any of the normal year-long classes here yet, but many of the native students tell me that they're not too difficult. More info as it comes along.

Living on Campus: Most likely you'll either want to apply for a host family or the dormitories around here. Unless of course you're already rather fluent with your Japanese and want to find your own apartment. If you're coming here for the summer, APPLY FOR THE GLOBAL HOUSE DORMITORIES IF YOU CAN POSSIBLY AFFORD IT. I'm not kidding. The summers here get incredibly hot. If you wind up getting stuck in one of the old dormitories on the third floor where there is absolutely positively no air conditioning of any sort at all when it's around 33 degrees Celsius at midnight and the humidity is hovering around 80%, don't say you weren't warned.

Might I also add that the old dorms have curfews of 11:30 PM on weekdays and 12:30 AM on Friday nights and weekends, while Global House does not.

The whole Christian thing: At first I was a bit apprehensive about coming to this school, not being a Christian myself. Let me just say that it's not a university filled with crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth Bible-thumping evangelists. There's a chapel down the main road leading into the University with a giant cross that looks incredibly eerie when they light it up at night. So if you're incredibly sensitive about your religious beliefs and you're not a Christian, you might want to reconsider.

So far, most of the faculty that I've met are not Christians, and most of the students aren't either. The percentage of Christians in this school is higher than it is in the outside population, hovering at somewhere around 20-30%.

Computers and 'Net Access: All dormitories have an ethernet connection in the rooms. For us, the room connections were suspended during the summer, but supposedly you can use them during the regular school year.

The Global House dorms have sockets in the study rooms you can plug a laptop into. And the libraries have a room filled with some nice computers you have access to on weekdays from 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM.

Scary Rumors: So far I've heard three.

1) If you take a picture of the cross on the chapel at night, you'll see something on it. A roommate and I tried this with a digital camera and we saw nothing.
2) They sealed off the bell tower in the chapel because a student hung himself from it. Supposedly his spirit still haunts the area around the chapel. We checked this on the same night that we checked the cross and found nothing.
3) Around the biology lab you'll find the ghost of a girl and the spirits of animals that have been killed in the biology building. Once again, we found nothing, but this one sounded a bit silly to begin with.

And now what you've all been waiting for...

Cute Asian Girl factor: I'd say it's pretty damned high. If you like cute asian girls you'll have more eye candy than you thought was ever possible. The Japanese Tea Ceremony club members are especially cute. But right now, it's still only summer, and most of the students around here are international students. So my figures may not be true when applied to the regular school year.

That about wraps it up. If you're interested in applying to International Christian University and this node didn't have enough practical information for you, feel free to contact me with any questions.

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