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Field of Study: Any major

An ICU academic hallmark is its emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, small class size, and rigorous Japanese language instruction. ICU offers intensive Japanese language study from the upper beginning through advanced levels.

Unique study opportunities

  • Upper beginning and intermediate Japanese language courses focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
  • Advanced Japanese language courses focus on kanji, newspaper reading, presentation and debates, novels and films, and projects.


Language of Instruction: Japanese

Language Study: Japanese

You will be placed in a language course based on a placement exam taken upon arrival.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: One course for a total of 12 quarter/8 semester UC units
  • A letter grade is required

Current Program Courses

ICU offers Japanese language courses on eight levels.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

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.

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.

Student Behavior

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.


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.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework.

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.

In many cases, poor grades are the result of excessive absences, tardiness, missing assignments, and lack of communication between UC students and instructors. 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.

Grades for this program are usually available by late September.