Japanese craftsmen demonstrate their skills for a UAB student studying abroad. Image courtesy of George Northen. UAB Education Abroad lists several opportunities to study Japanese in Japan. The programs are from UAB and from other trusted programs. You can see the opportunities on the Education Abroad website and read about other study and work opportunities below. For advice on how to work an education abroad experience into your time at UAB, consult your academic advisor.

Important Note: Ibaraki University and most other Japanese universities (except Nihon University) are not well-suited to students interested in only one semester in Japan because of the Japanese academic calendar. For example, Ibaraki University's 2013-2014 semester schedule was:
  • First-semester: April 5-August 9
  • Second-semester: October 1-February 21
  • Winter Vacation: December 25-January 5
  • Spring Vacation: February 22-March 31
Because of this, a UAB student who attends Ibaraki University only in the first semester would have to wait until April to begin classes. Attending only in the second semester, a UAB student would forfeit both the fall and spring semesters at UAB.

Exchange and Internship Programs

Students in the Nihon University exchange program. Location: Tokyo
Students: Program is limited to one UAB student in summer semester (mid-May to late July) and one student (may be the same student) in fall semester (mid-September to early December).
Details: 10-12 UAB credit hours per semester. Tuition paid to UAB, subsidized housing fee paid to Nihon University. The program can be applied toward Japanese minor or individually designed major in Japanese Language or Japanese Studies.
Ibakari University students. Location: Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Students: Program is limited to two UAB students for one academic year (2 semesters), from early October to early August.
Details: 10-12 UAB credit hours per semester. Tuition paid to UAB, subsidized housing fee paid to Ibaraki University. The program can be applied toward Japanese minor or individually designed major in Japanese Language or Japanese Studies.
Donovan WhiteLocation: Tokyo.
Students: Private Japanese language school highly regarded by current and past UAB students. Read review by UAB's Donovan White on the KCP Student Views blog. While most students are from other parts of Asia and all instruction is in Japanese, English-speaking staff provide extensive language support.
Details: For 10-12 UAB credit hours per semester. Can be applied toward Japanese minor or individually designed major in Japanese Language or Japanese Studies. Semesters differ from regular Japanese universities and more smoothly correspond to American university semesters.
AATJ's Bridging Project for Study Abroad has answers to your questions about exchange programs and other types of study in Japan, information on college and university programs on both sides of the Pacific, and links to other sources of help and information.
The program aims to introduce young Americans to different regions of Japan while they pursue research projects and language study at local universities. The main purpose for the research project is to serve as a vehicle for cultural immersion into Japanese society. Through the project, students are expected to engage directly with the assigned university and local community. While quality and feasibility of the research project is an important factor to be selected, it is not the end result of the research that is mostly anticipated, but rather through the research how the student deepens his/her understanding of society and people of Japan and promotes mutual understanding between Japan and the US as a cultural ambassador. Successful applicants will be chosen who demonstrate maturity, flexibility, and leadership potential to be a Fulbright representative.
Location: Lake Biwa in the City of Hikone, Shiga Prefecture.
Details: This program is a product of the strong sister-state relationship between the State of Michigan and Shiga Prefecture. JCMU has been welcoming students of all majors since 1989. Students do not need to attend a member university to participate. They offer language and culture programs as well as:
  • health and culture
  • environment and sustainability
  • teaching English
  • internships
This scholarship is funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). It enables students from around the world to earn undergraduate degrees, study Japanese language and culture at the undergraduate level, train in Japanese specialized training colleges, and research a broad range of topics at the graduate level in Japanese universities.
Summer Japanese program of the Concordia Language Villages in northern Minnesota. At Mori no Ike, live the language and culture of the Japanese-speaking world with others who share your interest in Japanese language, music, fashion, martial arts, anime, traditional arts, history, and more. They offer one-, two-, and four-week programs.

Work in Japan

An intern at Ibaraki Christian University. Location: Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture.
Students: Limited to students of UAB and other select universities. Internship period varies from three months to an academic year.
Details: Serve as English teaching assistant under guidance of English teaching staff, and as sister city representative from Birmingham to Hitachi. Japanese instruction available upon request. Course credit is negotiated between Ibaraki Christian University and the UAB Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Select courses in English are also available.
Schoolchildren learning from JET Program teachers. Details: Many people go to Japan to teach English, and the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program is widely regarded as the best opportunity to do that. Sponsored by the Japanese government, it brings college graduates from mostly English-speaking countries to Japan as assistant language teachers (ALTs) in Japanese schools, or as coordinators for international relations (CIRs) in local government offices. CIR positions are limited to applicants with a functional command of Japanese. Over 90% of JETs are employed as ALTs, who typically team-teach English with Japanese teachers of English in mostly junior and senior high schools, but increasingly in elementary schools as well.
Length of term: One year, renewable up to five years upon mutual agreement of employee and employer.
Salary: After income and resident taxes are deducted, approximately 3.36 million yen (~$33,600) the first year with increases in subsequent years. Most JETs live in subsidized government employee housing or receive partial rent subsidies.
Application Deadline: Usually in late November.
Participants in the WWOOF Japan program harvesting. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a network of organizations that connect organic farmers with volunteers who are willing to do farm work in exchange for room and board. WWOOFers are typically people interested in learning organic farming practices and lifestyles, as well as in living in an immersive language environment. WWOOF Japan is particularly active.

The nature of the support you give varies, depending on the your host. You may help with weeding, seeding, harvesting, watering, chopping wood, feeding animals, shipping vegetables, processing food, cleaning, washing the dishes, helping children study, building houses, painting, providing computer support, taking dogs for a walk, shovelling snow, helping at events, making handicrafts, etc. A review of WWOOF Japan can be read at tofugu.com.