Students majoring in Japanese or Asian Studies are encouraged to consider study in Japan at some point in their Williams career–during one or both semesters of junior year, during the summer, or over winter study. Williams students have participated in a range of semester- and year-long programs in Japan. Students can participate in one of these pre-approved programs, or they can research and locate another program that fits their needs and apply to the Dean’s office to have it approved for study abroad credit.
Some students spend all or part of Winter study in Japan by submitting a proposal for a Winter independent study (WSP 99) that involves travel.
Students have received language credit for summer language courses in Japan or at intensive programs in the U.S.
These pages provides some basic information and a starting point. It is important that students interested in any of these options consult carefully with the department and the Dean’s Office starting at an early date, so that they can select a program tailored to their individual needs.
Grants and Fellowships to support Study Abroad in Japan
The AATJ database on study in Japan includes listings of North American colleges and universities with study-abroad programs, universities in Japan with programs for foreign students, and independent study options. It also has information on scholarships, safety issues, and credit transferability.
Boren Scholarships and Fellowships provide funding for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students studying in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Awards require rigorous language study and the majority of awardees spend a full academic year overseas. The Award stipend/benefit is up to $20,000 for the Boren Scholarship and $30,000 for the Boren Fellowship. In exchange for funding, Boren Award recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.
The Bridging Project offers scholarships to American undergraduate students participating in study-abroad programs in Japan. Bridging Scholarship recipients receive a stipend of $2,500 (for students on semester-long programs) or $4,000 (for students on academic year programs). Students studying in Japan on summer programs are not eligible to apply.
The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. Over the course of an eight to ten week program, CLS covers approximately one academic year of university-level language coursework. CLS offers instruction in fourteen critical languages: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Swahili, Azerbaijani, Hindi, Bangla, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, and Urdu.
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. Freeman-ASIA accepts applications from U.S. citizens or permanent residents studying at the undergraduate level at a two-year or four-year college or university who demonstrate financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.
College Women’s Association of Japan – Undergraduate Scholarships for Non-Japanese Women — For non-Japanese women studying Japanese language, humanities and liberal arts.
CWAJ Scholarship NJW
Lion’s Garden Ikedayama #312
5-22-2 Higashi Gotanda
Tokyo 141 JAPAN
✻ Linen Summer Grants for Study in Asia
Supported by an endowment for Asian Studies established by family and friends in memory of James A. Linen III, Class of 1934, the Department of Asian Studies offers a limited number of grants to assist Williams College undergraduates in traveling to Asia during the summer for educational purposes. For the purposes of these grants, “Asia” refers to South, Southeast, and East Asia, defined as those parts of the continent east of the Khyber Pass and south and east of the Tian Shan Mountains and the Gobi Desert.
The Linen Grant Selection Committee will give highest priority to funding proposals that contribute to developing a student’s scholarship in a serious and well-focused way. Proposals might include conducting research for an honor’s thesis; pursuing other kinds of independent research projects under the direction of a member of the Asian Studies faculty; or participating in an intensive language training program at the advanced or intermediate level. The application details will be posted in early February.
Summer and Winter Study Abroad
Summer programs can also be a good option for study abroad in Japan, or for study of Japanese language and culture in the U.S. In addition to language programs, there are culture programs, for example some that feature training in no or puppet theater. And there are also excellent summer language programs in the United States.
- Culture and Performing Arts in Japan. Sponsored by the University of Massachusetts and Prof. Martin Holman, offers training in Japanese puppet theater near Kyoto.
- Noh Theater Training Project in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
The following is the list of summer intensive language programs that students from the Japanese program participate every summer.
- Hokkaido International Foundation. HIF is a non-profit organization that runs eight-week intensive Japanese language study programs with cross-cultural activities in Hakodate, Hokkaido.
- Japan Center for Michigan University. The program is located on the shore of Lake Biwa in the City of Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan.
- Middlebury College Language Schools
- Princeton in Ishikawa. PII is an eight-week intensive Japanese language program in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Japan.
As with semester- and year-abroad programs, students wishing to receive language study or course credit, or who are hoping to place in a higher language class as a result of their summer work should consult carefully with the Dean’s office and program faculty before applying.
Currently the Asian Studies Department offers some financial assistance to students traveling to Asia during the summer, through the Linen Summer Grants for Study in Asia. See the Awards Page on this site for details.
Winter Study in Japan
Students may apply to spend winter study in Japan by submitting a proposals for an independent winter study project (WSP 99) that involves travel to Japan.
A faculty member must sponsor the proposal, which is then reviewed and approved or rejected by the college’s winter study committee. The winter study committee judges proposals very rigorously, so it is important that the proposal describe an intellectually compelling project and make clear why it requires travel abroad.
Students considering this should carefully read the college’s guidelines for WSP 99s, on the Registrar’s Website
Different departments and faculty have different requirements of their own for screening 99 proposals. Students who want to be sponsored for by core faculty in the Japanese program should prepare a draft version of the proposal that meets the registrar’s requirements and submit it to the sponsor well in advance of the college’s deadline, to give time to revise and refine the proposal. Since the college deadline comes early in the fall, the student should ideally discuss the outlines of the project with the sponsor in the spring the previous year.
Japanese Study Abroad
Williams students have participated in a range of semester- and year-long programs in Japan, some of which are described below. Students can participate in one of these pre-approved programs, or they can research and locate another program that fits their needs and apply to the Dean’s office to have it approved for study abroad credit.
The Deans’ Office’s Online Williams Guide to Study Abroad contains concrete information about spending a semester or year abroad, including detailed information about each stage of the approval process. Interested students should consult it carefully. It also contains a current list of preapproved programs in Japan, and instructions for seeking approval of new programs.
Majors and language students in the department should pay careful attention to the additional procedures listed under Department Requirements below.
Students in the Japanese Program have received transfer credit for the following programs in the past:
- Associated Kyoto Program (AKP). AKP is a two-semester study abroad program hosted at Dôshisha University in Kyoto. Williams and fifteen other liberal arts colleges administer the program, and one department faculty member serves on the board. Kyoto is located in the Kansai region, and with its many cultural, historical, artistic, and architectural offerings, is considered to be the cultural capital of Japan. Many innovative courses are taught by American faculty visiting from colleges like Williams.
- CIEE/Sophia University. This is a program that allows U.S. students to sit alongside Japanese students in over 150 curses taught in English in addition to attending intensive Japanese language training at Sophia University, one of the very prestigious universities in downtown Tokyo.
- Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies (Stanford Center). KCJS is a program in Kyoto administrated by Columbia University on behalf of a consortium of large research universities, though the program accepts applicants from all schools. Most students participate for two semesters.
- IES Programs in Nagoya. The Institute for International Education of Students sponsors several programs in Japan, including one at Nanzan University in Nagoya.
Reviews of these programs are also available from former students. The college collects feedback on these programs from all students who participate, and students may view this file in the Dean’s Office. Students are also encouraged to consult the Alumni pages of this site for the names of former Williams students who participated in these programs, or who are studying abroad currently.
The online guide at the Dean’s office contains information about additional programs which have been pre-approved by the college for credit toward graduation, including some programs with no language prerequsite. However, at this point not all of these programs have been approved by the Japanese program for transfer credit toward the major or for placement in the Williams Japanese language track.
Important Department Requirements
Department majors and prospective majors, as well as those intending to continue in Japanese language classes after their return from abroad must discuss their study abroad plans with Japanese faculty in the department as well as with the Coordinator of International Education Programs, Dean Laura McKeon, before applying to specific programs, in order to ensure that major and language course credit will transfer from the foreign institution on their return. The college specifies that up to eight courses taken overseas can count toward graduation, and with department approval up to four courses may be counted toward the major.
For Japanese majors, the department normally requires the completion of four semesters of Japanese language before semester-long study abroad. For Asian Studies majors, four semesters are recommended, but two semesters may be acceptable with consent.