Choosing to enhance your college experience by studying abroad in Japan may be a great idea. If you plan on studying the language, advancing a degree in technology, or just on broadening your horizons, then becoming a student at one of the elite colleges in Japan might be a great idea for you. Studying abroad may provide all kinds of experiences, opportunities, and benefits to a college education and careers. The good news is that you may not necessarily need many years of education in Japan to reap these benefits. A semester or a summer may be enough. Of course, you could stay longer if you’re allowed and you desire to do so.

Choosing the Right Program

There are many different programs that may be perfect for someone who wants to spend a semester in Japanese studies. What you may want to consider is how long you plan on staying in Japan and what your academic goals are. Attending a Japanese college may be a great way to quickly enhance your language skills if you plan on becoming fluent. Japanese is a category IV[i] language according to the Defensive Language Aptitude Battery test, which means it may take longer to become fluent than many other languages. So it may be important to consider your language proficiency and whether or not classes are offered in your native tongue. Some programs allow you to teach English while abroad in Japan, which may be a great experience that might not necessarily require high language fluency.

Cost is another factor to give great consideration. Factors affecting cost include the type of program, college, length of stay, housing, and transportation. It may be a great idea to start budgeting and saving early on.

Benefits to Participating in Study Abroad

There may be many benefits to choosing to study in Japan. The country is one of the top global leaders in technology innovation[ii] on top of a very rich history. Studying abroad in general may provide many different opportunities to make friends, hone language skills, and enhance life experience. It may be a great addition to a resume, which might be beneficial when applying to graduate school or for a career. Attending University of Tokyo or Kyoto University is also something brag about, as both are in the top 100 global universities[iii].

What to Know Before Traveling Abroad in Japan

As with any study abroad program, it may be wise to research the country and guidelines for the program before departing. Japan has many unique customs[iv] that might take some getting used to. For example, many people walk to their destinations or take a bus or train. The train system is one of the best in the world[v], but it can get crowded in larger areas such as Tokyo.

Japan is known for its overt cuteness, anime, and interesting fashion choices. The people are friendly, but part of the culture is also to not say exactly what they think or feel. It is also considered rude to eat while walking, and many public restrooms do not have hand dryers or towels—which is why it is important to carry your own. Clothing can sometimes get expensive, and it may be true that anyone who does not look Japanese might stand out a bit in a crowd. Japan may be very friendly and welcoming to foreigners, but it’s wise to research their customs and expectations of public behavior long before you leave on study abroad.

Get Started Soon

It takes time to prepare for a quality study abroad experience in Japan, so make sure to get started right away. If you do not yet know any of the language, start learning. Research our extensive listing of programs below or refer to our Resources section for additional information.

Sources: [i] | [ii] | [iii] | [iv] | [v]

  • Middlebury College

  • Lakeland College

  • Marist College

  • University At Albany (S.U.N.Y.)

  • CISabroad

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign