Tokyo - Language & Culture

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.

tokyo

Why Tokyo?

Tokyo is a city uniquely its own. It can appear straight from the future with its ultramodern skyscrapers, bright lights, and technology. Mix that with well-maintained and cherished traditions, like the tea ceremony, festivals, and kimonos still worn in the streets, and you have a glimpse of Tokyo. Explore all of this and more in this one-of-a-kind city.

What You'll Study

Expand your understanding of Japan by immersing yourself in the language. At Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), you take a 6-credit language course specially designed for IES Abroad students (with the option of taking up to 10 credits of Japanese). You'll also take English-language area studies courses focusing on popular culture, economics, history, political science, and contemporary society. KUIS is a modern and vibrant university with international faculty and state-of-the-art facilities.

KUIS is located within walking distance of the IES Abroad Center in Makuhari, a modern city in Chiba prefecture, which is in the greater Tokyo area (just 30 minutes from downtown Tokyo). The area around the Center has easy access to public transportation and offers many public amenities, like shopping and dining, a movie complex, a game arcade, parks, the beach, and open spaces to relax and hang out.

A good way to practice your language skills while getting to know Japanese culture is through your housing option. Live in a homestay with a host family or live in a residence hall or apartment with Japanese university students and young professionals. Both options allow you to get to know the Japanese way of life and make local friends. You can also enroll in the Social Organization in Japan with a Field Placement course, which provides you with first-hand experience in a Japanese organization. Spend one day per week as a participant-observer at a local business or not-for-profit organization, and then share your experience in a seminar course to learn more about Japanese culture. With sufficient language ability, you can audit a Japanese-taught digital communications course at Digital Hollywood University. Possible course disciplines include Film, Animation, and Video Game Design.

Daily Life

We want you to feel at home in Tokyo, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. Our E-pal program introduces you to a local student before you even arrive. Through your E-pal, you will have the chance to practice speaking Japanese and meet up for events as you get settled in. We also take you to places in and around Tokyo that you might not experience on your own.

Academics

Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.

We offer unique courses that explore Japanese language, history, and culture through an in-depth and hands-on approach. World-class professors and course options enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.

You must take 15-18 credits per semester. Courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified.

Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:

  • Japanese language course at KUIS (required, 6 credits)
  • Japanese language elective courses at IES Abroad Center (must be placed in 300-level Japanese or higher, optional, 2 credits each)
  • English-taught IES Abroad area studies courses or KUIS area studies courses (optional, credits vary)
  • Field placement and required seminar (optional, 3 credits)
  • Japanese-taught Digital Hollywood University area studies course (optional, no credit)

Field Placement Program

The IES Abroad Tokyo Centers offers a unique opportunity for students to do a Field Placement at Japanese organizations throughout the semester as part of the SO/AN 391 - Social Organization of Japan with Field Placement course. This is NOT an internship. You will be observing a Japanese organization for 8-10 hours every week in addition to the SO/AN 391 seminar course which will meet every other week. Students with higher-level Japanese abilities may also be able to participate in certain office-placed tasks. This Field Placement requires a serious commitment on the part of all participants in terms of attendance which may require a commute, compliance with professional dress codes, and workplace guidance from supervisors.

Courses

This is a list of potential course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.

Japanese Language Courses

  • Japanese Language in Context: Novice Abroad I
  • Japanese Language in Context: Novice Abroad III
  • Japanese Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad Ⅰ
  • Japanese Language in Context: Independent Abroad I

NOTE: IES Abroad reserves the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment or circumstances beyond our control.

Anthropology

  • Gender and Family in Japan
  • Japanese Manga and Animation
  • Japanese Popular Culture
  • Social Organization of Japan with Field Placement

Art

  • The Arts and Society in Japan
  • Understanding Tokyo Through Photography
  • Architecture, Urban Planning, and Development in Modern Tokyo

Asian Studies

  • Japan Through Film
  • Contemporary Japan on Screen
  • War & Memory in Modern Japan

Cinema

  • Contemporary Japan on Screen
  • The Contemporary Economy of Japan
  • Environmental History of Japan

Film Studies

  • Contemporary Japan on Screen

Gender Studies

  • War & Memory in Modern Japan
  • Environmental History of Japan
  • History of Tokyo
  • War & Memory in Modern Japan
  • History of Japanese International Relations

International Relations

  • History of Japanese International Relations

Japanese

  • Listening Comprehension

Marketing

  • Key Features of Japanese Marketing Strategy

Sociology

  • Contemporary Urban Society in Japan
  • Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture
  • Social Organization of Japan with Field Placement

Urban Studies

  • Understanding Tokyo Through Photography
  • Architecture, Urban Planning, and Development in Modern Tokyo

Kuis Area Studies Courses

Depending on your schedule, you may enroll in English-taught area studies courses at KUIS that are 1.5 credits per course.

Offerings vary each semester, and the course schedule is determined by KUIS shortly before the start of each semester. For this reason, it is not possible to preregister for these courses before you arrive in Tokyo. Recent courses have been offered in the following disciplines:

  • Anthropology
  • Culture Studies
  • History
  • Religion

KUIS reserves the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment or circumstances beyond its control.

Digital Hollywood University

IES Abroad students with sufficient Japanese language ability can opt to audit a Digital Hollywood University (DHU) course for no credit. Courses are taught in Japanese. Established in 1994, DHU is a private university in central Tokyo that specializes in digital communications including film, animation, and video game design.

Possible courses may include the following:

  • 3D Modeling I
  • Basic Design I
  • Graphic Design I
  • Original Character Design Practicum
  • Practical 3DCG
  • Practical Animation
  • Practical Game Development I
  • Practical Photography I
  • Practical VFX I
  • Practical Video Production Basics A
  • Practical Web Programming I
  • Practical Website Markup
  • Practical Website Styling
  • Programming in CI
  • Video Camera Techniques I

DHU reserves the right to cancel a course due to insufficient enrollment or circumstances beyond its control. Courses at max enrollment capacity may not be available for IES Abroad students to audit.

Partner Institution(s)

Kanda University 神田外語大学

Founded in 1987, KUIS is a private university dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in International Studies, Foreign Languages, Intercultural Communication, Japanese Culture, and Linguistics. It is a modern and vibrant university with international faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. The University enrolls approximately 3,100 graduate and undergraduate students; all students study a second language. It features modern computer facilities, library, sports, and recreation center, and cafeteria.

Location and Commute Time

KUIS is located in Makuhari, a short train ride from Tokyo and near the IES Abroad Tokyo Center. Commute times will vary based on the location of your housing option. Expect commute times to range between 30-90 minutes. KUIS is a five-minute walk from the IES Abroad Tokyo Center.

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Tokyo, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country. These trips are partially subsidized by IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations:

Hokkaido

4 Days | Fall

One of the top popular vacation spots for Japanese and international tourists alike, Hokkaido is the second-largest island making up the Japanese archipelago. Hokkaido is known for its beautiful nature and greenery as well as the indigenous Ainu culture. It is also a destination for foodies with fresh ingredients from both land and sea. The 4-day trip will include activities in Otaru and Sapporo before returning back to Tokyo.

Okinawa

4 Days| Spring

Visit this southern island known for its unique cultural traditions, historic fortresses, and tropical weather beaches. Participate in a music workshop and performance, and visit a local university.

Nikko

2 Days | Fall

Visit the spectacular Shinto Shrine, Nikko Tosho-gu, experience a Japanese ryokan with hot springs, and view some of the country’s beautiful mountain scenery.

Kamakura

1 Day | Spring

Visit the site of the first shogunate (warrior government), the home of the Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha statue), and some of the most famous gardens and temples in Japan.

Tokyo City Tour

1 Day | Fall & Spring

From exploring Sensoji, one of the city’s most popular temples, to encountering the contemporary areas such as Odaiba and the Tokyo Tower, there is much to experience in this metropolis. Come discover the traditional and modern parts of Tokyo.

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Makuhari and the greater Tokyo area is doing our best to make you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you places to enrich your cultural and academic learning—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.

Orientation

The program begins with a specially designed, three-day orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad staff, your fellow students, KUIS, and the city of Makuhari in Chiba, as well as exploring parts of Tokyo.

Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience (CORE™) begins right when you arrive and continues through the semester with activities focusing on academic and cultural adjustment. Detailed information about housing, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.

Housing

Residence Halls - Live with Japanese university students and young professionals—each hall is configured differently. All are single-sex, privately managed, and offer single rooms with shared common spaces and bathrooms. This option includes an additional cost to cover the cost of meals. The residence halls offer a meal plan that provides breakfast and dinner from Monday through Saturday (no meals are provided on Sundays or public holidays). The cuisine features typical Japanese set menus. There is also a common kitchen for student use, and rental refrigerators are available for student rooms for an additional cost.

Homestays - Live with a host family and forge life-long friendships while you learn about Japanese customs, manners, and cuisine. Accommodations vary by placement. Hosts provide breakfast and dinner seven days a week. Homestay opportunities may be limited and have an additional cost to cover the cost of meals.

Apartments - Live with Japanese university students, other IES Abroad students, and young Japanese professionals in a privately managed coed building. Each apartment suite of 3-4 residents is single-sex and offers single rooms. You will share a kitchen, bathroom, and washing machine with your roommates. There is also a large communal kitchen, communal bath, and student lounge for all residents to use. Meals are not included.

Commuting

Whether staying with a host family, a residence hall, or an apartment, you will likely commute 40 to 90 minutes, as do most Japanese residents in the greater Tokyo area. From the apartments, your commute will likely be 50 to 60 minutes. If you have particularly high commuting costs, you will receive a monthly subsidy from IES Abroad.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Tokyo through our cultural events, such as:

Art & Culture Series - Special classes and demonstrations are held throughout the semester for you to experience the traditional arts of Japan. These may include ikebana (flower arranging), shodō (calligraphy), fūrin (glass bell making), origami (paper folding), sadō (tea ceremony), and chōchin (paper lantern making).

Guest Speaker Series - Distinguished speakers are invited each semester to address IES Abroad students. Past presentations have included “A Brief History of Gender and Sexual Minorities in Japan” and "Japan in the Asia-Pacific: The Politics of Identity"

University Clubs & Events

IES Abroad students have access to all KUIS facilities and receive a KUIS student ID that entitles them to student discounts on museum entrance fees, the cinema, theatrical performances, and rail travel.

While you’re in Tokyo, joining a club or program is a great way to meet local students and practice the Japanese language. Here are a few recommended ways to get involved:

E-pal Program – Partner with a Japanese student to help you meet local students. You are introduced to your E-pal via email one month before the program begins. Your Japanese E-pal then meets you after arrival and serves as your cultural resource throughout the term. We strongly encourage you to sign up for an E-pal and start your cultural and linguistic preparation before departure.

Student Council – Students at the Tokyo Center elect an IES Abroad Tokyo Student Council, which receives funds to be used for student events. Past councils have held photo contests, sponsored softball games with Japanese students, headed fundraising drives to benefit local charities, and hosted holiday parties.

Cost

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Spring 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2020 $16,310 $5,350 $240 $21,900

Academic year

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Academic year $29,340 $10,700 $480 $40,520

Scholarships & Aid

Program-Specific Scholarships

Robert McNeill Need-Based International Business Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 2 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Robert McNeill, a member of the IES Abroad Board of Directors for 25 years (6 years as Chairman). Open to students who have an interest in international business. Majors might include management, marketing, economics, finance, international relations, and social and behavioral sciences.

Dr. William Louis Gaines Need-Based History or International Relations Scholarship

Up to $1,875; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Dr. William Louis Gaines, President of IES Abroad from 1974-1992. Dr. Gaines was dedicated to strengthening IES Abroad's academic framework, broadening the scope of IES Abroad locations, and securing the financial foundation of the organization.

Open to students majoring in History or International Relations.

Adelyn Dougherty Leander Need-Based Urban Issues Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

Open to students who have an interest in urban studies (a major in urban studies is not required).

Our Center

The Fall and Spring Tokyo programs are based at the IES Abroad Tokyo Center and supported by IES Abroad staff. Our Center is located in Makuhari, a modern city in Chiba prefecture, which is in the Greater Tokyo Area.

Features of the IES Abroad Tokyo Center include:

  • High-speed Internet and printer access
  • Library and reading resources
  • Student lounge
  • Staff offices
  • Small classroom with projector and screen

Kanda University of International Studies is within walking distance of the IES Abroad Center. The area around the Center has easy access to public transportation, plus offers many public amenities, like shopping and dining, a movie complex, a game arcade, parks, the beach, and open spaces to relax and hang out. Makuhari is home to the following: Makuhari Messe, one of Japan's premier events and exhibition venues; AEON Makuhari Shintoshin Mall, Chiba's first large-scale lifestyle mall Chiba Lotte Marines Baseball Team; movie theaters; Mihama-en Japanese Garden; and many restaurants and bars.

The IES Abroad Tokyo Center is just 30 minutes from Tokyo Station (Keiyo Line), 35 minutes from the Narita International Airport by bus, and a 20-minute train ride from Tokyo Disneyland.

The IES Abroad Tokyo Summer program is based at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center, near Yoyogi Park in downtown Tokyo.

Last updated May 2020

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About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
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