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.
The Center for Japanese Language offers beginning to advanced Japanese language study at nine levels. It also provides a limited number of courses in Japanese culture and society and intercultural communication taught in English. You will primarily take language instruction along with a few Japanese area studies elective courses that are taught in Japanese or English. If you have the requisite language skills to pass the rigorous placement exam at Doshisha, you may be able to take some regular courses taught in Japanese.
- Minimum of 21 UC quarter/14 UC semester units
- Language placement exam
UC quarter units are calculated by multiplying Doshisha units by 1.5. (2.0 Doshisha units equal 3.0 UC quarter units). Many courses have low unit values so you will need to take several courses to meet the minimum unit requirement. You may take a maximum of 20.0 Doshisha units (30.0 UC quarter units).
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.
Your behavior is a reflection on both UC and the U.S. and may be taken as representative of all Americans. You are expected to make a good impression, enabling UCEAP to provide the program for future UC students.
Follow the example set by the Japanese students. Japanese students do not eat, drink, chew gum, or use cell phones in class. They are seated and quiet when the professor enters the room, and they remain seated until class is over. Student attire is casual but neat.
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.
Japanese Language Study
The primary focus of this program is Japanese language acquisition. You will take approximately ten (10) sections of Japanese language that focus on different areas of language acquisition for a total of 10.0 Doshisha units (15.0 UC quarter units). Each section meets for one hour 90 minutes per week over the 15 week semester. Most UC students advance one semester or two quarters in this program. Some students have advanced a full year in this program. Class size is small averaging less than 15 students.
In addition to Japanese language courses, you will take two or three courses that examine various facets of Japanese culture and society from historical, political, economic, and other perspectives. Many of these courses include field trips around Kyoto. These courses are 2.0 Doshisha units (3.0 UC quarter units) and meet for two hours per week.
Courses taught in Japanese
If the language placement exam shows you have the necessary language, you may be able to take regular Doshisha University courses taught in Japanese.
Host University and MyEAP registration procedures will be covered during your onsite orientation.
Internships & Volunteer Opportunities
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.
Grades for this program are usually available in late September or early October.
For more information on 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
Doshisha University opened a student center and learning commons in April 2013 that is very popular with students. There is academic support, a print center, computer lab, and a multimedia lounge. There is also a global village area where you can meet local students and speak Japanese. There are also group work areas and private rooms for study.
Doshisha University Housing
You will select your housing in the Doshisha University application. Doshisha University housing
is close to campus. If you do not wish to stay in the Doshisha University housing, you will need to make your own housing arrangements and payments. All options are single occupancy.
• Payment is directly to university and is prorated for 4.5 months.
• All rooms are equipped with Internet access.
• There is no phone in the rooms. UC students use cell phones.
• Linens are not included and are available for rent.
• Meals are not provided.
• No overnight guests are allowed.
• All the housing options are exclusively for international students. The only local students who live in these housings are RAs.
Students with Disabilities
Mandatory Japanese National Health Insurance
After arrival in Japan, you are required to purchase the mandatory Japanese national health insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken), which will give you access to the best medical treatment available in Japan. During orientation, the UCEAP Study Center will provide more information about national health insurance and assist you in this process. The cost of the Japanese national health insurance is included in the “incidentals” line of the UCEAP Student Budget Worksheet. You will need to pay for this insurance out of pocket in yen soon after arrival. You may pay for this insurance in either a lump sum or monthly payments. If you are an ILP student, it is recommended you make monthly payments rather than a lump sum payment; upon moving to your host university you will need to renew your national health insurance plan at your new city hall, and reimbursement of previous overpayments may take considerable time.
Japan is highly regarded for its advanced level in medicine and medical technology. Hospitals and clinics use only the latest medical equipment. You have the option, depending on the seriousness and urgency of your illness, to choose the appropriate hospital (university hospital, general hospital or clinic).
When you visit a clinic or a hospital for the first time, you will need to fill out a registration form, present your health insurance card and sometimes pay a fee for the initial visit. Ask the Study Center staff for help.
Risk of travelers’ diarrhea is minimal throughout the country. Community sanitation is generally good, and health concerns related to food and beverages are minimal. Hand, foot, and mouth disease occurs May to December, but peaks between June and August. Frequent hand washing is recommended.Drink only bottled water from a reputable source.
Occasionally, women (and sometimes men) are inappropriately touched by men (called chikan or “perverts”) on crowded trains. This is a crime. The best way to avoid this is to avoid riding on crowded trains or seek out the “women only” train cars. If you encounter these criminals on the trains, firmly say yamete kudasai (stop it!) to the suspected person, or chikan loud enough that other passengers may hear. Men are advised to hold on to the handles of crowded trains with both hands and keep them in plain view to avoid accusations of being a chikan.
Follow Study Center advice on safety and security and take precautions as if you were in the U.S.
Demonstrations are not common in Japan. Those that occur are generally small, well-organized and non-violent. Even when large protests have occurred, they have been peaceful and orderly. Although protesters typically do not target Westerners or foreign interests, avoid demonstrations as a precaution.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
All roads in Japan are paved and marked. There are many reliable transport options available in Japan. Mass transit is most accessible in urban areas, but rail lines reach many more remote areas of the country and most roads are passable. Transit is generally safe even though the risk of petty theft exists.
Subway networks and privately run commuter trains serve Tokyo and Osaka. Subways, with the rail system, are the most convenient and inexpensive means for traveling throughout Japan. Subways are often very crowded, especially during rush hour, and jostling is considered normal. The Tokyo subway system has color-coded lines clearly marked with signs in English. Exits are numbered and maps are available in each station.
Rail travel in Japan is extremely efficient but it can be very crowded during rush hours on the most popular lines. Numerous regional passenger companies comprise the Japanese National Rail (JR) system. There is adequate police presence at the stations and on the trains to ensure passenger security.
To maximize the number of riders, white-gloved attendants physically push passengers into rail cars. Crowded trains provide opportunities for pickpockets and other thieves. Safeguard valuables and remain aware of your surroundings and personal belongings to avoid becoming a victim of petty crime.
Women may encounter chikans (perverts/molesters), who tend to be most active on public transit during the evening commute. To mitigate the problem, some trains now have female-only cars.
Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S., are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know how to to call the local fire department.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the Fire Safety section of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for more information..
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