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Fields of Study: Japanese, Humanities

Advanced Japanese language skills are required for this program, where you will deepen your experience with Japanese language and culture by engaging with local and international students. An academic hallmark of International Christian University (ICU) is its emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, small class size, and rigorous Japanese language instruction. ICU offers intensive Japanese language study for advanced students.

Unique study opportunities

  • Build your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in advanced Japanese language courses.
  • The Japan Studies course with local students explores a range of topics in humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and environmental sciences through lectures, field trips and cultural visits.
  • Focus on kanji, newspaper reading, presentations, debates, novels, and films in advanced Japanese language courses
  • Engage with local and international students on cultural topics important to the people of Japan.


Language of Instruction: Japanese, English

Japanese Language Study: Required

Japanese Language Course will be taught in Japanese. Japan Studies course will be taught in English.


Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take two courses course for a total of 11 quarter/7.3 semester UC units.
  • Take both courses for a letter grade; pass/no pass grading isn't available on this program

Current Program Courses

Students are required to enroll in the following two courses: 

  • Japanese Language course (Advanced level)  (5.5 UC quarter units) - You will take a language placement exam upon arrival. Students must place into ICU level J4 (equivalent to third-year Japanese language at the UC) on the language placement exam to be successful on this program.  Language of instruction: Japanese.
  • Japan Studies course (5.5 UC quarter units) - Engage in Japanese cultural topics with local and international students, through lectures, field trips, and excursions. Language of instruction: English. 

Please note that results of the Japanese language placement exam at the host institution are non-negotiable. There is a possibility students may test into a lower level Japanese language class than they had completed at their UC campuses.

Catalogs and resources

  • ICU summer program: the ICU ISPJ website includes a program overview, sample schedules, and course syllabi
  • Campus Credit Abroad: Learn the types of credit (major, minor, general education, elective) students from your campus received at this location.

Academic culture

Japan is a country where courtesy and behavioral propriety are extremely important in all social interactions. Be respectful toward teachers at all times and sensitive to the cultural styles and ethics of Japanese society.

If you have questions about what is considered acceptable behavior in Japan, talk to the Study Center Director and staff. You cannot assume that Japanese people will correct you for unacceptable or offensive behavior. Japanese professors and acquaintances may not point out inappropriate behavior; however, any actions out of the ordinary will be noticed and can negatively impact you and the program.

In order to be successful academically, take initiative. Take personal responsibility for your education, formulate clear academic goals, and then pursue those goals with determination rather than depending solely on UC or host university requirements for direction. Japanese university courses typically have less structure than UC courses. Professors rarely provide syllabi and, even if they do, may change the content of the course during the term. Check with each professor about specific course requirements, paper deadlines, exam dates, and any other matters related to your academic responsibilities.

Instruction is intensive. Classes meet for about 15 hours per week over the 6-week summer program. Class size averages between 10 and 20 students. Some classes may be even smaller. Japanese tutors are available to provide individual tutoring to supplement classroom instruction.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades for this program are usually available by late September.

It is not the Japanese custom for instructors to give detailed comments on written work and final papers, and exams are not usually returned. the grade itself is generally considered appropriate and adequate feedback.

Beware of rumors about lenient grading at Japanese institutions. ​Language courses in particular can be more demanding than at UC and the grading is often rigorous. Grading is typically conducted by detracting points for errors, rather than rewarding points for correct work. If you experience difficulties with your language courses, ask the study center staff about tutoring assistance.

In many cases, poor grades are the result of excessive absences, tardiness, missing assignments, and lack of communication between UC students and instructors. Class attendance is required unless you are explicitly excused for a valid reason. Many faculty members monitor and consider attendance in class, on field trips, and at academic events when determining the course grade.