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APU Graduates Draw Japanese Companies Keen To Employ Them

A Special Report From Caroline Jackson

BEPPU (Japan), March 5 (Bernama) -- At the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), where the undergraduates come from 80 countries including Japan and ASEAN, 90 per cent of the students clinch a job before graduation.

At the campus, located 400 metres above sea level with a spectacular view of Beppu City, the mountains and the ocean, 989 out of the current enrolment of 5,796 students are from the ASEAN countries, mainly Vietnam.

APU College of Asia Pacific Studies Dean of Admissions Prof Dr Kondo Yuichi said that typically the students landed a job between six months to one year before graduation with job offers from Japanese companies such as Nissan and Toshiba.

"The business sector always comes here and wants to hire our students regardless of their nationality, and we are doing very well in training," he told a group of ASEAN journalists on an invitation programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan, here, recently.

At present, he said, about half of the international students from the 80 countries stayed back in Japan after graduation as it was not difficult for companies that hired them to get them a work permit within a year.

The other 50 per cent would return to their home country or a third country, he said, adding that Singapore was the most popular country for APU graduates.

"We receive about 80 students from ASEAN countries every year," he said, adding that the predominantly social science university's focus on the dynamic world of international business, Japanese style and complex issues facing the Asia Pacific region was the main draw for potential Japanese employers.

Opened in April 2000, APU is Japan's first as well as the top international university that is privately run and fully accredited by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

Kondo said that currently there were only 10 Malaysian students, partly due to the different education syllabus, but plans were underway to forge partnerships with Malaysian universities in April.

He said the presence of international students had also revitalised the local community in this Oita prefecture as they participated in the local festivals, visited elementary schools and learned the local customs and language.



Kondo said the students had to take up the Japanese language in the final year, which he described as "a very tough feat".

Edy Susanto, 26, an Indonesian fourth-year International Management student from Surakarta, Java, said he would prefer to work with a Japanese company here for a few years upon graduation to gain experience before returning home.

As an APU scholarship holder from the Japan International Education Scholarship Foundation, he had enrolled as a Japan-based student and had studied the Japanese language before coming here.

"My experience of studying with many students from many cultures gives me a different point of view, besides exposing Indonesian culture, songs and dances to the Oita people," he said, adding that they also understood the concept of 'halal' food for Muslims like himself.

Another APU scholarship holder, Nghiem Quoc Hoai Minh, 22, a third-year Asia Pacific Studies student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is one of the 423 Vietnamese students at the campus.



Initially, she said, the Japanese public bath came as a cultural shock for her but now, every day, she enjoyed the facility which was available at her dormitory.

Hiroko Maibe, 20, a second-year management student from Nagoya City, who went to high school in the United States, said she cherished the opportunity to study and make friends with ASEAN students, especially from Indonesia.

-- BERNAMA