Approx. Time Difference
Apr - Nov: + 16 hrs
Dec – Mar: + 17 hrs
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Intensive Language Program (ILP)
The fall and year programs at International Christian University (ICU) begin with an optional six-week summer intensive language program (ILP) that offers language study at eight levels.
If you choose to participate in the ILP, you will take a placement test after arrival.
Language instruction at ICU is very rigorous and is taught differently than what you may be used to at UC. All classes are taught in Japanese, even the beginning courses. If you have no prior exposure to Japanese language, you may want to learn some hiragana and katagana
Classes are in the morning Monday through Friday for 20 hours per week. Afternoons are devoted to fieldwork, personal study, and consultation with instructors.
During the ILP, you will participate in field trips and cultural events that present various facets of Japan including demonstrations of traditional Japanese arts; visits to financial institutions, temples, and parks; and a series of Japanese films and lectures by ICU professors and other specialists in the Tokyo area.
12 UC quarter units
UC semester students (Berkeley and Merced) students may reduce to a minimum of 6.0 UC quarter/4.0 UC semester units using the variable unit option. UC quarter students may reduce to 3.0 quarter units using the variable unit option.
If you are a financial aid recipient, you may be required to take a certain unit requirement.
16 UC quarter units per quarter if you do not participate in the ILP
12 UC quarter units per quarter if you do participate in the ILP
Most UCEAP students in the year program take a Japanese language course each quarter and one or two additional courses to meet the unit requirement. If you are in the fall program and choose not to take a language course, you will take four to five courses to meet the unit requirement.
See the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for information on the variable unit option.
If you are in the fall program, language study is optional, but strongly recommended. If you extend to the year program, you will be held to the requirements of the year program.
If you are in the year program, Japanese language study is required in the fall and winter quarters unless you are fluent and are taking a course taught in Japanese. Language study is optional for the spring quarter.
You will take a language placement exam at the beginning of the program to determine your placement. Japanese language study is available from beginning to advanced levels.
There are two tracks in the Japanese language program. The regular track meets four (4) hours, three (3) days per week for a total of 11 hours per week. The intensive track meets four days a week for 21 hours. Both tracks offer an intensive and thorough foundation in spoken and written Japanese and include field trips and joint activities with Japanese students, as well as audiovisual work in the language laboratory and computer-assisted instruction.
To succeed in the language classes, you must attend class regularly and submit all assignments on time. Grading standards are very strict.
Regular class attendance is mandatory and considered in the final grade along with papers, class participation, presentations, and exams. Check with each of your professors about specific requirements, paper deadlines, and exam dates.
Course registration procedures for both International Christian University (ICU) and MyEAP will be covered during your orientation in Japan.
International Christian University (ICU) offers coursework through the College of Liberal Arts
taught in English or Japanese. A minimum of three years of Japanese language study is needed to successfully take courses taught in Japanese. It is your responsibility to determine if your language level suffices to take courses taught in Japanese.
Course descriptions and in some cases syllabi are on the ICU website
. The ICU course listing includes course numbers that indicate department, course type, and language of instruction; course titles; brief descriptions; ICU units; and the term in which the course is offered.
ICU Course Numbers
001-099 Language (English and Japanese), Health and PE and General Ed (lower division)
101-199 Foundation level of Major and Introductory level of College-Wide (usually lower division)
201-299 Intermediate level of Major and College-Wide courses (upper division, except language)
301-379 Advanced Major and College-Wide courses (upper division)
381-389 Advanced Seminars and Studies courses (upper division)
391 Senior Thesis (upper division)
Language of Instruction
J - Japanese only
E - English only
J, E - Japanese or English
J/E or E/J - Japanese and English. The first initial is the dominant language of instruction, for example, the course may have lectures given in Japanese with texts in English.
UC quarter units are determined using contact time and are not based strictly on the ICU units; however, 3.0 ICU units usually equal 4.0 UC quarter units and 2.0 ICU units usually equal 2.5 UC quarter units. The intensive Japanese language courses are changing and are expected to be 10.0 UC quarter units.
See the Academic Culture section below for additional course information.
Internships & Volunteer Opportunities
If you are in the year program, you may be able to participate in an ICU service-learning opportunity
for academic credit. If you're interested, contact the Study Center after arrival.
Discuss questions related to grades or other classroom matters and appropriate plans for handling them with the UCEAP Study Center. 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. You may inquire about your progress in a class, but do not discuss grades with your professors unless invited to do so; otherwise, it may appear that you are trying to negotiate your grade, which is frowned upon.
Beware of rumors about lenient grading at Japanese institutions. Some universities are similar to UC in their standards and grading system. Language courses in particular can be more demanding than at UC and the grading is often rigorous. 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, inquire with the Study Center for tutoring assistance. Also beware of being influenced by the rigor—or lack thereof—with which Japanese students appear to be engaged in their studies. In contrast to UC students, Japanese students often place less emphasis on letter grades and more on merely passing their courses.
To avoid a failing grade for a dropped course:
- Keep the Study Center informed of any changes in course selection at the host university.
- Follow UCEAP procedures for dropping a course.
Fall grades are usually available early to mid-December; final grades for the year program are usually available in late July.
For more information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Travel to Your Host Country
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Scholarships and Fellowships
International Christian University (ICU) ILP Housing
During the ILP at ICU, you will be housed with other international students in Zelkova House on campus.
Japanese roommates are not available during the ICU ILP since they are on summer vacation.
At a Glance
- You will apply for housing before departure when you complete the Predeparture Checklist.
- The fees will be applied to your UCEAP student account. Utility fees are included in the rent.
- Zelkova House has Internet hookups. You can also use the computers and Internet in the ICU library or in the computer lab during business hours.
- There are no phones in the rooms in Zelkova House. You can use a public pay phone to make off-campus and international calls. Most UC students use cell phones.
- Most students eat at the ICU cafeteria or nearby restaurants. In Zelkova House, you can cook in a shared kitchen.
- Basic linens are provided in Zelkova House. This includes a pillow, pillowcase, sheets, comforter, and duvet cover. The fee is included in the ICU summer housing costs. Linens are changed two to three times per month.
You will not have housing for two weeks at the end of the ICU summer ILP and before housing opens for the academic year. The ICU ILP + year Student Budget accounts for this. The Study Center will assist you in finding temporary accommodations, most likely in Dialogue House on campus. Most students travel together during this time.
International Christian University Housing
ICU fall students will be assigned housing in a new complex called Dialogue House, which is located on campus. This seven-story building includes a new cafeteria, lodging facility for students and visiting scholars, and various student offices. Payment is made in yen about two weeks after arrival. Credit cards are not accepted. Travelers checks need to be cashed to be accepted- this can be done at the post office on campus where the payment is made as well.
Dialogue House is only for short term students, so students will not live with Japanese students. However, housing does try to pair students from different universities (from around the world) who have similar interests. Student rooms are on the 3rd and 4th floor. There are 10 shared rooms and one single room on each of these floors. Each room has a private bathroom and shower, as well as a fridge and AC. The laundry room is on the 3rd floor and is free to use. There is a study room on the 4th floor. Both floors have a small common area and a cleaning crew comes once a week to clean rooms. There is a midnight curfew.
Roughly 40 percent of the UCEAP year participants can be accommodated on campus in ICU dorms; the remainder find housing on their own. You will find out if you have been allocated dorm space for the academic year during the ILP, so be prepared for one of the more expensive options. Dorm housing for men is especially difficult to obtain.
In addition to the Men’s and Women’s dorms, ICU has four coed dorms—Global House, Ginkgo House, Oak House, and Zelkova House—located on campus and available to students for the academic year. Zelkova House was opened in April 2010, and Oak and Ginkgo House were both opened in 2011. Each accommodates 126 Japanese and international students. Most dorm rooms are double-occupancy, except Global House. ICU dorms are conveniently located on campus and are close to classroom buildings as well as soccer fields, the library, other dorms, etc.
In Global House, each unit has four private, air-conditioned rooms with a bed, desk, chair, and closet; a common living area, shower, and toilet; and a small kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave oven, and washing machine. Two people in each unit are foreign and two are Japanese nationals. Global House does not have a curfew. The dorm has one graduate student advisor on each floor that serves a role similar to an RA. One is Japanese and two are international students. Students are allowed to go on floors of the opposite gender. There is a study room on each floor. The dorm has many activities such as BBQs in the backyard, celebrating everyone’s birthday at midnight, and a dorm initiation where students dress up and go to classes the first week. They also hold events so residents can meet members of other dorms. Each month there is a mandatory dorm meeting.
Gingko House is one of the newer dorms on campus and has a very modern feel to it. Students are required to remove their shoes when they enter the building. There is one main common area for males and females in the entrance. However, the living area of each floor is gender specific and one gender is not allowed to be in the other gender’s living area. Each floor has its own common area for the students living on that floor and residents will often leave things in the common area for all to use, such as video games, comics, and books. There is a large kitchen with cooking utensils that students can use at their leisure, as well as free laundry machines. Within the floor, rooms are split into pods, and there are 3 pods on a floor with 7 rooms in each pod. There are 2 students per room. There is also AC in each room. Restrooms and showers are shared in the pod. Only residents are allowed in the dorm (no guests). Dorm has Community Assistants similar to an RA. Curfew is 11:30pm.
If you are assigned a room in a dorm, you must remain there for the entire term. If you leave before the end of the term, you are responsible for paying rent for the remainder of the term. It is difficult to find students to move into the dorm for the winter term, and if a new renter is not found, you may also be responsible for the cost of the room during the winter term. Finding a new renter for the spring term is easier, since that is when new students enroll at ICU. If you feel you must move, first discuss your situation with the Study Center.
The residence hall is not only a place to live, but a place to socialize. The dorms often have their own athletic teams that regularly compete against other dorms, and they see themselves as important units of campus life. The campus is buzzing with activity every evening and on weekends that is, in part, driven by residence hall relationships. There is little privacy in the dorms, and you will most likely share a room. The sempai (one’s senior) and kohai (one’s junior) relationships must be carefully observed in all dormitories. As a new addition to the dormitory, you will be a kohai and required to show appropriate respect to others.
At a Glance
- You apply during the winter when you complete the ICU application. You will be informed about your academic year housing during the summer ILP. ICU dorms vote on which students to admit, and some students are not accepted.
- At the beginning of each quarter, you will pay the rent for an entire term. See the UCEAP Student Budget for estimated housing costs.
- Rooms are equipped with Internet access. There is wifi on campus, but in the dorms it is best to use a cable.
- There are no private phone lines in individual rooms. You can make local and international calls from public phone booths on the ICU campus. Most students use cell phones.
- Most ICU dorms have a shared kitchen. Women’s dorms and newly-built dorms are well equipped with appliances for cooking. Limited cooking facilities are available in the men’s dorms. In Global House, you can cook in a kitchen shared with three other people in your unit. Most students eat at the ICU cafeteria or nearby restaurants.
- Linens are available for rent (sheets, pillows, and blankets).
ICU has about 2,800 undergrads and has a small private liberal arts college vibe. It is in the suburbs of Tokyo and does not have the lights and crowds that one would expect from being in Tokyo. However, from the train station it is only 25 minutes to Shinjuku Station, a major hub in Tokyo. The train station is also on the same line as the rapid train to Tokyo station located on the other side of the city. From the train station, you can bike, bus or walk to campus. It is a 10 minute bike ride to ICU from the train station. Many students rent or purchase bikes while at ICU.
The campus itself feels as if it was built in a forest and is park-like. The buildings and rooms have many windows to enjoy this setting and let in natural light. The main entrance and main drive (MacLean Avenue) onto campus is lined with cherry trees and is very beautiful. Near the main gate you will find the UCEAP cherry tree that was planted to commemorate the ICU-UCEAP 50th anniversary.
Optional trips are planned during summer Intensive Language Program (ILP) by ICU for weekends (participation is not required). These trips usually include a visit to Mt. Fuji, a day of Zen meditation, and a night of Kabuki. Costs range from about $20 to $50 per trip. These optional trips are not included in the UCEAP Student Budget. You would be responsible for paying these costs.
Students with Disabilities
Mandatory Japanese National Health Insurance
Traffic & Transportation Safety
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.