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Last updated April, 2023

Academic Information

Language of Instruction


YOUC Program

The YOUC Program is designed for international students who wish to study in Japan using English. This program offers an opportunity to study economics, marketing and a range of business topics with a special emphasis on Japan and Asia-Pacific and Japanese language as well as other liberal arts subjects. Most classes in the YOUC Program are small, with no more than 30 students at most, providing opportunities for classroom interaction.

Course Descriptions

Japanese Language Course

Otaru University of Commerce offers three levels of Japanese language study: Elementary Japanese, Intermediate Japanese I and Intermediate Japanese II. These courses are free to exchange students.

Semester Dates

  • Academic Year: September - August
  • Fall Semester: September - February
  • Spring Semester: April - August

Semester Dates at Otaru

Course Load and Minimum Unit Requirements

Completion of the YOUC program is based on successfully completing 30 credits, including 10 credits from core subjects.

Accommodation and the Cost of Living


Estimated Cost of Living

Scholarships available for students going to Japan

Student Visa and Insurance

Information on Student Visas and Insurance for students going on exchange can be found elsewhere on this website.

Exchange Experiences

The University, City and Region

The University

Otaru University of Commerce was established in 1910. Originally known as the Otaru School of Higher Learning, it became a university in 1949. Since its formation it has played an historic and important role in the development of commercial studies in Hokkaido. Otaru teaches mainly commerce related subjects, with special emphasis on applied methods. It is highly regarded as an institution that provides quality education for those seeking entry to professional fields.

The City of Otaru and Region

Otaru is a port town of 143,000 people located on Ishikari Bay on the northern tip of Hokkaido's Shiribeshi district. It is surrounded on three sides by mountains. Otaru Canal is the symbol of the city. Gaslights and stone warehouses along the canal produce an impressive cityscape. The city was an Ainu habitation, and the name "Otaru" is recognised as being of Ainu origin, possibly meaning "River running through the sandy beach".

The Dunedin-Otaru Sister City Society was formed in 1986 and has a membership comprised of Dunedinites interested in Japanese culture, students and teachers of Japanese and Japanese nationals living in Dunedin. The Committee also has a representative from the DCC to provide liaison between the two bodies. As well as the formal delegations, there are yearly youth exchanges. There are strong links between the Otago Museum and Otaru Museum, with regular exhibitions sent between the two institutions.

Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido and only 30 minutes away by train from Otaru, is a major centre for entertainment and shopping. Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan. It is famous for the Yuki Matsuri , internationally referred to as the Sapporo Snow Festival. This festival draws more than 2 million tourists from around the world. The city is also home to Sapporo Brewery and the famous white chocolate biscuits "White Lovers" sold exclusively in Hokkaido.

Further Information

For further information about Otago Global Student Exchange please email

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