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Japan 
Approx. Time Difference
Mar – Oct: + 16 hrs
Nov – Feb: + 17 hrs
 
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Global & International Studies, Meiji Gakuin University

- Fall
- Spring

 
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, health and safety, finances and much more.
 
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.

Disclaimer
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.


Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network
 
 
 

UCEAP Contact Information

Program Advisor
Michelle Hertig
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail:mhertig@eap.ucop.edu
 
Program Specialist
Amy Frohlich
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail: afrohlich@eap.ucop.edu
 
Academic Specialist
Eva Bilandzia
Phone: (805) 893-2598; E-mail: ebilandzia@eap.ucop.edu
 
Student Finance Accountant
Antonette Escarsega
Phone: (805) 893-4023; E-mail: stufinance@eap.ucop.edu
 
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
 
Phone: (805) 893-4762
Fax: (805) 893-2583
 

Study Center Abroad

Do not contact the International Studies Office before departure.
 
Once you are abroad, the on-site UC Visiting Professor and the International Center (IC) will be your contacts for all matters. Among other things, the UC Visiting Professor provides support with academic matters, program logistics, and personal issues. The Study Center is located in the Faculty of International Studies Office.
 

Office of the Faculty of International Studies

 
The Office of the Faculty of International Studies (OFIS) is the main office for UC students. OFIS is responsible for curricular and related academic matters. Notices and messages from professors are posted on the bulletin board in this office. You can borrow textbooks and travel literature.
 
Location: Building 8 (Hachi-go-kan), second floor (Yokohama campus)
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m.–noon
 
Chikako Takeshita, UC Visiting Professor, UC Visiting Professor
Ms. Yuko Akasaki, UC Program Officer
Office of the Faculty of International Studies
Meiji Gakuin University
1518 Kamikurata-cho, Totsuka-ku
Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 244-8539, Japan
 
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-81-45) 863-2200
Phone (calling from Japan): 045-863-2190/2200
 

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code: 011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Japan country code: 81
Yokohama city code: 45
 

Approximate Time Difference

Add 16 hours March–October
Add 17 hours November–February
 
 

International Center (IC) Office of the Faculty of International Studies

 
IC assists with non-academic matters related to international students. They work directly with students and act as liaisons with other offices of the university. 
 
Location: Building 1, first floor
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–noon
Phone (in Japan): 045-863-2190
 

Academic Affairs Office

You must formally register for classes both with the UC Visiting Professor and at the Academic Affairs Office. OFIS will help with the required forms. Student ID cards are also issued at this office.
 
Location: Building 1, first floor
Phone (in Japan): 045-863-2026
 

Student Affairs Office

This office provides advice on student activities, clubs, and how to join them. It has a lost-and-found department. In addition, you can apply for a student discount for train tickets at this office.
 
Location: Building 1, first floor
Phone (in Japan): 045-863-2029
 
Academic Information
Program Overview
The program at Meiji Gakuin University (MGU) is designed for social science students and focuses on global and international studies. The program is offered by the Faculty of International Studies where you will take the majority of your courses.

 

Requirements

  • 21 quarter/14 semester UC units minimum; most UCEAP students take 24 to 27 UC quarter units; 4 to 7 courses is average depending on the units of each course 
  • Maximum of 1/3rd (33%) of units on the pass/no pass grading option; typically one or two courses. This is done in MyEAP only.
  • Weekly participation in the Integrative Program Seminar taught by UC Visiting Professor 
  • Attendance on study trips 
Regular class attendance is expected and considered in the final grade along with papers, class participation, and exams. Check with each of your professors about specific requirements, paper deadlines, and exam dates.

 

Sample MyEAP Study Lists

Sample Course List   

 

Units

UC quarter units are calculated by multiplying MGU units by 1.5. (2 MGU units equal 3 UC quarter units equal 2 UC semster units). Most courses that meet once per week are 2 MGU units and most courses that meet twice per week are 4 MGU units. 
 
The UC unit value of courses offered in Japanese universities varies widely. Many courses carry low units (2 or 3 UC quarter units). In some cases, courses on a similar theme may be combined to fulfill a UC campus or major requirement. Discuss this possibility with your UC campus academic advisor.
 
Meiji Gakuin University does not enforce a maximum number of courses or units. Past UCEAP participants have successfully completed 27 quarter/18 semester UC units in a semester in this program. Typically UCEAP doesn't recommend more than 27 UC quarter units per semester for Japan programs.

Academic Culture
Japan is a country in which behavioral propriety and formal courtesy are extremely important. Learn about behavior that might be considered offensive, Japanese standards of behavior, and follow the Japanese students’ examples. Japanese people may not correct you for unacceptable behavior, but any actions out of the ordinary will be noticed and could negatively impact UCEAP at Meiji Gakuin.
 
Japanese students do not eat, drink, chew gum, text, or answer cell phones during class time. Student dress is casual and neat. Faculty are treated with respect at all times. Treat guest speakers and faculty with the dignity and respect appropriate to their position in Japanese society. Your behavior reflects on both UC and the U.S. Make a good impression and continue to make this program possible for future UC students.
 
Japanese higher education is not designed to be as structured as higher education in the U.S. Japanese university courses do not have the same kind of organization and requirements as courses at UC. You cannot rely solely on your professors and the classroom setting for your educational achievement. For a successful academic experience, be willing to adapt to Japanese educational traditions and methods of communicating with Japanese instructors.
 
Meiji Gakuin professors expect you to be self-motivated and actively engage in related readings, research projects, and other out-of-class educational endeavors to complement classroom activities. If you rely entirely on the professors’ explicit requirements and the classroom for your intellectual stimulation, you may feel under-challenged and perhaps disappointed. UC students have commented that this is a program in which student satisfaction can be very high, but it depends on the effort of each student.
 
Japanese university instructors do not provide detailed feedback on papers. Final papers and final exams are usually not returned to students. When they are returned, they may not have comments.
 
Course Information

Registration

Course registration is very different at Meiji Gakuin University. You will attend classes for the first week before doing course registration the second week. This gives you the opportunity to sit in on the classes to see what you like first. Instructions will be provided during your on-site orientation.

Courses

You will participate in International Studies courses and a required Integrative Program Seminar course led by the UC Visiting Professor. Japanese language study and courses from the Shirokane campus are optional.
 
The UC Visiting Faculty also teaches a course each semester on his or her area of expertise.  This elective course meets twice per week and is 6 UC quarter units. Classes typically focus on an area of contemporary Japanese studies.
 

International Studies Courses

Each semester approximately 10 to 17 courses are offered through the Faculty of International Studies for international students; however, local Meiji Gakuin University students are also invited to participate. These courses are all taught in English and are usually assigned upper-division UC credit. The course list is updated on the Meiji Gakuin website approximately one m​onth before the semester begins.
 

Integrative Program Seminar

This required weekly seminar integrates the varied subject matter of the program courses and the topics of the guest lecturers. Each student is required to complete a research project, either individually or within a small group.
 
The seminar is led by the UC Visiting Professor and is enhanced by guest speakers who address various issues. It is designed for UCEAP students; however, it includes Meiji Gakuin students, faculty, and visitors.
 
The course is 3 UC quarter units and is listed as an upper-division course in MyEAP under various subject areas.
 

Japanese Language Study

Language study is recommended for those with little or no Japanese language background. Courses are offered at beginning, intermediate, and advanced (third year) levels. Beginning and intermediate language courses are assigned lower-division UC credit. Advanced courses are assigned upper-division credit. Lecture courses are 6 quarter units and additional tutorial courses are 1.5 to 3 quarter units. The tutorial courses are taken in conjunction with the lecture courses only. Japanese lecture courses meet for four hours per week in the morning. The tutorials are usually just one or two hours per week.

 

Study Trips

A study trip to Hiroshima complements classroom instruction and is an integral part of the program. In Hiroshima, you have the opportunity to explore Hiroshima’s total destruction by a single U.S. nuclear bomb as well as its rebirth as a modern Japanese industrial city.
 
The academic program may include other required course-related study trips led by individual faculty members. These trips enrich the program’s overall educational experience. 
 

Elective Courses  

Courses may be available at Meiji Gakuin’s Shirokane campus in Tokyo. Courses that have not previously been taken by UCEAP students require the permission of the UC Visiting Professor. UCEAP students are limited to a maximum of two courses from the Shirokane campus.
 
See the section below on Special Study Projects and Internships for more elective course opportunities.
  
Grades
You must complete all coursework by the end of the program before you leave Japan.
 
You may discuss your progress in a course with the Meiji Gakuin instructor but should not discuss your grades unless invited to do so. Never appear to negotiate for a grade. Questions relating to final grades, program matters, and appropriate plans for handling them should be discussed with the UC Visiting Professor.
 
 
The host university grade is converted to the UC grade by the UC Visiting Faculty. All requests to be graded on a P/NP basis must be noted on the MyEAP Study List and all changes to your Study List must be petitioned through the Study Center. You will be informed of the deadline to submit academic petitions. You need to be aware of these deadlines as late petitions will not be accepted. 
 
Fall grades are usually available late January; spring grades are usually available early to mid-August.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
 
Internships

Special Study Project

It may be possible to do a Special Study Project (independent study project) in an area of special interest. For projects that include fieldwork, you will need Japanese language skills. After arrival in Japan, discuss the project with the UC Visiting Professor, who may approve the project based on the feasibility of the topic and the availability of a Meiji Gakuin faculty member to supervise. Special Study Projects are normally 1 to 4 UC quarter units.
 
There is no way to increase the units of the 3-unit MGU courses; however, there are two mechanisms to add extra-unit courses to take in conjunction with the existing courses. Either option is pursued after you have arrived in Japan, enrolled in the 3-unit course, and discussed the project with the instructor of a given course. The options are as follows:
 

Meiji Gakuin Independent Study

Meiji Gakuin offers an Independent Study option worth 2 UC quarter units to promote study and research beyond what is offered in the regularly offered coursework. These projects take time to organize.
 
Procedure: Submit to the Vice Dean of the International Studies Faculty a proposal including the reason for wishing to take independent study units, the proposed supervisor (only regular departmental faculty are eligible to offer MGU’s Independent Study), the research theme, the research methods, and overall plan; and written agreement from the proposed supervisor.
 
Evaluation: Student submits a 6- to 10-page report to the supervisor; supervisor reviews and comments; report and comments are reviewed by the Vice-Dean (or gakka shunin), and a grade is assigned.
 
UCEAP Special Study
This is a UCEAP-only option, thus, a matter between individual instructors and UC Visiting Professor, as the UC representative at Meiji Gakuin University. Forms are available from the Visiting Professor on site.

Meiji Gakuin independent study and the UCEAP special study courses are listed as separate courses your MyEAP Study List and on your official UC transcript.
 

Internships

Meiji Gakuin University offers teaching internships for academic credit in certain terms. The internship can be taken as one of your elective courses. The course is listed in the MyEAP Course Catalog as Education 187 A.  Additional information is provided after arrival.
 
Extending UCEAP Participation
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites, such as Lonely Planet, are excellent resources.
 
The bookstore Kinokuniya is a good source of Japanese literature; it has branches in San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles.
 
Some programs in Japan do not require previous Japanese language study; expose yourself to learning the language now so that you have an idea of what learning Japanese is like. Students with learning disabilities may find learning another language challenging. If this is the case, provide a letter from your campus Disabled Students Office to document your learning disability.
 
Learning hiragana
Learning kanji

Recommended Newspapers and Magazines

Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals:
Social Conduct

Respect

Become familiar with Japanese culture before arriving in Japan. You may experience behaviors that would be considered discriminatory in the U.S. but are considered acceptable in Japanese society. 
 
The Japanese are a group-oriented society. Whereas the West emphasizes individualism, Japanese activities are often outgrowths of some group, family, profession, school, or community.​​

Japan is a country with a high population density. To function well in this society, Japanese people show great respect for the personal space of others. Shouting or speaking loudly is considered rude; communicate subtly. 
 
Punctuality is essential in Japan; it is rude to be late.

  

Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking

Drugs and Alcohol

Refer to the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy for details.
 
Drug use in Japan is serious and laws are stricter than in the US.  Drugs like marijuana are not legal in Japan and you can be jailed.
 
Japanese authorities aggressively pursue drug smugglers with sophisticated detection equipment, "sniffing" dogs, and other methods. When entering Japan, you and your luggage will be screened at ports of entry. Incoming and outgoing mail, as well as international packages sent via DHL or FedEx, are also checked carefully. The Japanese police make arrests for even the smallest amounts of illegal drugs. Several U.S. citizens have been arrested, tried, and convicted after having mailed illegal drugs to themselves from other countries.
 
​Alcohol use is common in Japan.  Vending machines sell beer and sake. The Japanese are a group-oriented society. Whereas the West emphasizes individualism, Japanese activities are often outgrowths of some group, family, profession, school, or community.​​
 
Japanese law prohibits minors (under 20 years of age) from drinking alcohol. If you are of legal age, use your own judgment and do not display any intoxicated behavior in public places. Practice low-risk drinking, don’t leave your drink unattended, and use the buddy system to watch out for one another. Many students' risky behaviors are related to drunkenness and an associated lapse in judgment.
 
Students who abuse/misuse alcohol, behave in a disorderly manner, or cause problems for their housing or host university will face disciplinary action by UCEAP, which can include dismissal.
 

Smoking

Anti-smoking campaigns are slowly spreading but smoking in Japan is common.  You will see many smokers inside and outside buildings, although many restaurants have nonsmoking sections.  
 
The law prohibits purchase and smoking of cigarettes to minors (under 20 years of age).
Improve your Language Ability
​The more Japanese you know before departure, the more rewarding your time abroad will be. Prior to departure, work to improve your written and spoken Japanese.
 
Following are some good ways to prepare:
·     Read aloud (anything in Japanese) for 20 minutes at a time; read progressively faster, maintaining correct pronunciation.
·     Try a Japanese language computer or video game.
·     Keep up-to-date on Japanese current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals.
·     Practice Japanese phrases picked up from conversations and reading.
·     Listen to Japanese language videos.
·     Seek out people fluent in Japanese for conversations and vocabulary practice.
·     Keep a journal of Japanese phrases, expressions, whole sentences, and structures to add to your vocabulary.
·     Watch Japanese movies. Watch once with the subtitles, then turn the subtitles off and watch again.
 
Advanced Students
·     Read Japanese newspapers and magazines, using a dictionary as necessary.
·     Read two books in Japanese, one fiction and one non-fiction in your major.
·     Practice writing about your major field and other interests in Japanese.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation

Orientation

You are required to attend all orientation activities, which cover such topics as:
  • banking, transportation, health and safety, and housing;
  • academic advising including academic requirements, which vary by program; and
  • the specifics of your MyEAP course registration, which varies by program. You will register for courses after orientation based on the Study Center instructions.

Official UCEAP Start Date

You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to and from Japan (even if you will be receiving financial aid) and for arriving on the Official UCEAP Start Date. This includes reserving and purchasing airline tickets (purchase a changeable ticket). Standby tickets are not acceptable.
 
Program dates and arrival information are posted on the UCEAP website. Failure to appear on the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Student Conduct section). When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
 
The Official Arrival and Start Date can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications to your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for unrecoverable transportation charges you may incur for travel arrangements. To stay informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes to your contact information (mailing address, e-mail, and phone number).

 

Meigaku Orientation

The fall program begins with two weeks of introductory instruction and a field study trip, directed by the UC Visiting Professor, which serve as an introduction to the program courses. Thereafter, regular Meiji Gakuin classes begin. The spring program does not include the two weeks of introductory instruction; however, it does include the field study trip.

 
The Study Center orientation introduces you to Meiji Gakuin University and covers such topics as:
  • Contact and safety information
  • Course information and registration procedures, including MyEAP Study List registration
  • Cultural do’s and don’ts for a better experience in Japan

 

The orientation by MGU IC includes: 
  • Assistance with local registration
  • Establishing bank accounts
  • Tours of the campus and library
  • Overview of cultural activities

Your attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory (UCEAP Student Agreement). If you miss the on-site orientation, you may be dismissed from the program.

 

Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 
 
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
 
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
 
Travel Documents
It is easier to replace lost or stolen documents if you have scanned copies. Scan all important documents, including passport, visa, student ID, credit cards (front and back), etc. ​

More information on visas is available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist​.​

Japanese Citizenship


Students with Japanese citizenship do not need a visa to enter Japan. If you have Japanese citizenship you must enter Japan with your Japanese passport, even if you have dual nationality with another country. 
Summer-only program participants: U.S. citizens in possession of a valid U.S. passport can visit Japan without a visa for a duration of up to 90 days or less for study.​

For the fall, year, and spring programs, you will obtain a student visa prior to entering Japan. A student visa is an endorsement placed in your passport by the Consulate General of Japan. The visa grants you permission to enter and reside in Japan for the purpose of study.  In order to obtain the visa, you will first apply through your host university for a Certificate of Eligibility.​

About two to four weeks prior to departure, you will receive the Certificate of Eligibility from the UCEAP Systemwide Office. With this document, apply for a student visa at the Japan consulate as directed in the online UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.

Back to Back Participants


If you will attend a summer program followed by a fall/year program, you must leave Japan between the two programs in order to apply for the student visa.  You will not be able to obtain a student visa before departure for a summer program.  This will affect your ability to obtain a local cell phone and sign up for National Health Insurance.  

Japanese Resident Card

A Resident Card will be issued to foreigners who possess a Student Visa at the port of entry. Within two weeks of arrival, you will need to carry out residency registration procedures at the local municipal office where you reside, and most partner universities provide assistance (e.g. volunteer local students escorting international students to the municipal office, and/or arranging a group tour).
Carry your Resident Card (Zairyu Kado) with you at all times so that if questioned by local officials, you can prove your identity, citizenship, and immigration status. Under Japanese law, the police may stop any person on the street at any time and demand to see identification.
​​ ​​​​

 

 

Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students

Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Berkeley, contact the Undocumented Student Program http://undocu.berkeley.edu.

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/.
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
 
You can find almost everything you need in Japan.

Essential

  • Dressy outfits (sport coat, tie, dress, etc.) for academic or formal events
  • Small gifts (see below)
  • Warm clothing for winter
  • Shoes that slip on and off easily
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Prescription medications (see the Health chapter of this guide for information on transporting prescriptions abroad)
  • Travel guide with a detailed map of your destination
  • Laptop

Optional

  • Plug adapter (outlets in Japan have 2 prongs, not 3)
  • Multivitamins, headache medicine, aspirin, and other analgesics

Climate and Dress

The climate in Japan is hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter. During the early summer you will experience tsuyu, a rainy season characterized by overcast skies and frequent drizzle. The tsuyu ends in mid-July when the humid summer heat sets in and the number of mosquitoes increase.
 
Winter temperatures can fall below freezing with the chill factor from strong winter winds making it seem much colder. The best defense is to layer clothes and wear warm underwear, sweaters, scarves, socks, and slippers. If you are going to Sendai, be prepared for snow and cold conditions. Buildings are often cold, with the exception of major department stores or subways, where it is usually a little too warm for comfort.
 
Japanese people are generally well dressed, and stylish and formal trends are found particularly in downtown university areas. Women wear skirts and dresses more often than at UC. The typical UC wardrobe is fine for everyday wear on the suburban campuses. Clothing in Japan is often expensive and difficult to find in large and tall sizes. Women taller than 5'7" and men taller than 5'10" may have difficulty finding clothing in stores.
 
Shoes are very important in Japan. Japanese people take off their shoes every time they enter a home; therefore, it is best to have shoes that slip on and off easily. Take clean socks without holes.

Gifts

It is customary to take small gifts when visiting people in Japan. In Japanese culture, the quality of a gift’s wrapping is as important as the gift itself. Inexpensive gifts may be balanced out by the special care you take with wrapping and presentation with nice paper, bows, special boxes, or gift bags.
 

Gift ideas:

  • U.S. and hometown items (state, campus, team/sports)
  • Pictures of UC or your hometown
  • T-shirts with city, state, campus, or team logos
  • Baseball caps with sports logos
  • Something edible from California like See’s Candies, almonds, pistachios or dried fruits
  • Postcards of California 

Electrical Items

Voltage in Japan​ is different than the US. Three-pin plugs are not used in Japan; two flat-pin plugs are used instead. Purchase a plug adaptor beforehand (if needed). ​
 
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
 
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage.  Review the policy carefully before departure to determine if it is adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss. 
 
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
 
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
 
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
 
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
 
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
​​​
 
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget. Program fees are subject to change.
 
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
 
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
 

Instructions

  • Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
  • Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.
​​​
 
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Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:

 
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions.
 
​​​​​
Handling Money Abroad
 
The official currency unit in Japan is the yen (abbreviated ¥ or JPY). You will carry more cash in Japan than you would in the U.S. Checks are not used, and credit cards are not as frequently accepted as in the U.S.

Refer to the Tokyo Study Center information on Money in Japan​. Although an increasing number of shops and restaurants take credit cards, Japan is still a cash-based society. Consider ahead of time how to get cash while you are in Japan. Many students use their US bank ATM card or credit card to withdraw money. You should also refer to the estimated personal expense posted in the Participants page, under Money Matters tab.

​Depending on your length of stay and funding type, there are several options available.  We encourage you to contact returnees to find out more about their experiences.  Some families opt for the Travelex Money Card​, a type of prepaid currency card.  Summer students will have a temporary visitor visa status in Japan, and thus will not be able to open a bank account in Japan. Since Citibank has offices in the U.S. and Japan, you can access your account in both countries.​

ATM Cards from the U.S.

Prior to departure, ask your bank or card company if you can access funds in your U.S. account in Japan using your ATM card and personal identification number (PIN). In addition, find out if ATMs are accessible in the area where you will reside in Japan. The cash amount you will be able to withdraw from an ATM in Japan is limited to the amount you can withdraw in America rounded down to the closest ¥10,000.
 
ATMs at 7-Eleven convenience stores across Japan accept many international debit or credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, JCB, and UnionPay cards. The service charge differs depending on the card.
 
Another option would be a Charles Schwab account because they will reimburse you for any ATM fees incurred.

Japanese Bank Account

Most banks have branches throughout the country and issue account holders an ATM card for use at the branches. In addition, you can use another bank’s ATM for a fee.

Most banks are open weekdays and closed on weekends and national holidays. ATM hours vary from bank to bank and branch to branch, but usually from 8:45 a.m. to 6 pm on weekdays, and there is an extra fee outside of those hours and on weekends. Convenience stores have ATMs connected to major banks. Verify this information with your bank when you open an account.

Post Office Accounts

Most campuses have a post office that also serve as a bank with ATMs. including currency exchange.  Year students with a local scholarship tend to open an account at a post office so that they can receive money easily.    
 

Transferring Money Ove​rseas

Most Japanese banks and Post Offices do not allow receipt of foreign transfers within the first six months of the account being opened. After this, funds can be cabled from an American bank to your Japanese account in about a week. The basic charge for the procedure is set by the American bank, and an additional handling fee will be charged by the Japanese bank as well. Determine the charges before departure and verify that your American bank can transfer funds in this manner.

Credit Cards

Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Japan at larger stores. The American Express card is seldom accepted by merchants.
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Initial Expenses

Meiji Gakuin University recommends you bring at least ¥20,000 and $500 to get through the first few weeks. It is best to purchase yen at the airport because you will not have time to go to a bank in Japan to exchange money during the orientation period.
 
Scholarships
The Japanese government and Japanese private foundations offer scholarship support to North American students studying in Japan. Special scholarships and fellowships are available to students nominated by their host university and approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbukagakusho) and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). These awards typically consist of a generous monthly stipend in yen. UCEAP recommends you apply for a scholarship where applicable. These scholarships are not available to students who hold Japanese passports.
 
JASSO scholarships replace, not supplement, financial aid funding. If you are a financial aid recipient, you must report all outside agency awards to your UC Financial Aid Office. The UC Financial Aid Office will include the outside agency award in your financial aid package and will adjust the original aid accordingly. It is important to understand that aid eligibility does not change, only the source of your aid. For further explanation of your financial aid packaging, contact your UC Financial Aid Office.​
 
Communications Abroad
Internet Access

Computer Access and Use

Individual e-mail accounts are available through the IC Office.
 
If you take a laptop, you will be able to access the Internet from your dorm room Using a LAN line. In the dining hall, there are two computers with free Internet service, four connectors for free Internet service from your laptop, and one printer. You cannot install any software or save any personal documents on the two computers in the dining hall. You cannot print from your laptop in the dorm room; however, you can print from your laptop in the dining hall.
 

Computers on Campus

You can use the computers and Internet for free in the PC rooms in Building 4 on campus from 9:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. every weekday, and from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The PC rooms are closed on Sunday and national holidays. With your own laptop, you can access free Internet service at some points on campus, and you will need your own cable.
 
Internet access and computer facilities are available at all Japanese host institutions. Take your own laptop if possible.
  

Cell Phones
Some U.S. cell phones work in Japan, but at a cost. Check details with your service provider before departure.  A fall 2015 UCEAP student wrote this cell phone information for use by future students. 
 
If you would like to purchase a cell phone, you are required to show your passport, resident card with the address registered with the local government, and student ID card. You can pay monthly charges with a credit card. You can purchase a prepaid phone or get a contract. There will be an explanation about cell phones during the on-site orientation. If you are under 20 years old, you will need a copy of a parent’s or guardian’s identification (a passport or state-issued driver’s license), along with a parental consent form.
 
If you enter Japan on a tourist visa, you may rent a cell phone from the airport. Below are some resources.

Cell phones in Japan 
Internet Access in Japan
Free Wi-Fi in Eastern Japan for Tourists (for 14 days)
Mobile Phone Rentals at Haneda Airport

Calling Home
EAP alumni report getting in touch with friends and family in the US using a variety of resources:

  • SKYPE
  • International calling cards
  • magicJack
  • MSN or online messenger
  • Facebook
  • Line
​​
 
 
Phones

International Phone Calls

Vending machines next to phone booths and convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Lawson sell prepaid international calling cards.
 
You can make international calls from green or gray public telephones that are covered with a gold-colored plate. Gray phones are located in Hachi-go-kan (Building 8) on the first floor and at the telephone booth near the bridge on the Yokohama campus. Dial 0051 to contact an international operator.
 
Mail & Shipments
Housing & Meals
Housing

All UC students are housed in the MISH dormitory in downtown Totsuka. It is a 25- to 30-minute walk to campus (or a ten-minute walk plus a ten-minute bus or taxi ride). Since the dorm is downhill from the campus, a walk home may be preferable.

  • The dorm has 150 rooms and is located near JR Totsuka train station. Workers, Japanese students, and UC students live at the dorm.
  • Rooms are furnished, air-conditioned, and single-occupancy. Shower, toilet, and small kitchen with electric heater are available in your room. Each room has a bed, desk, desk light, chair, LAN access port, pillow, sheets, blanket, futon, and futon cover. Gas, electricity, water, internet and linen are included.
  • There is a large shared dining hall on the first floor; breakfast and dinner are included, except Sunday and holidays.
  • You are expected to treat all residents at the dorm with courtesy and respect, living in harmony with one another. You are responsible for the care, cleaning, and upkeep of your room and the shared space.
  • Full rent and the deposit fee are due in August for fall and in March for spring. You must make your own housing payment by wire transfer before the program begins, even if you are on financial aid.
  • The deposit fee will be returned if student’s room and the shared space are left clean.
MISH does not stock and provide any appliances or utensils for cooking, except for a microwave and toaster on the first floor. There are several places to buy household utensils, including 100yen shops near the dorm.

 

There is also an optional home visit with a Japanese family either overnight or a day visit. You will apply for the home visit in the Pre-Departure Checklist.

Meals
Japanese universities have cafeteria-style dining halls on campus that are open to all students. Overall, the price of eating out in Japan can be as much as twice the cost of eating out in California. Major cities have numerous restaurants and fast-food establishments, including many American fast-food restaurants. Tipping is not expected.
 
The price of groceries tends to be high in Japan, especially for imported foods, meats, and fruits.
 
See the UCEAP Student Budget for estimated costs.

 

Many restaurants and markets are located near the Totsuka Station (25‑minute walk from campus). 

Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 

Travel within Japan

You are required to inform MGU staff, dormitory personnel, and host families about your general travel plans, especially when leaving for more than a weekend. Use the Travel Sign-out form in MyEAP. An emergency may arise at the Study Center or at home that may make it necessary to reach you promptly. This is also important due to tight immigration control.
 
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 
Extracurricular Activities

Get Involved

Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the university. Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad.
 
Extra efforts to socialize will greatly enhance your time in Japan. This is a one-time opportunity, so make the most of it.

Campus Club Activities

Club activity is an important part of student life in Japan. Club participation is taken seriously and regular attendance is expected. Each university offers a rich variety of student club activities. UCEAP participants have joined martial arts clubs (karate, judo, aikido, and kendo), sports clubs, sport teams, and clubs for tea ceremony, drama, music, dance, flower arranging, and international relations. While each club varies, most students find clubs to be friendly and feel that membership provides an excellent way to meet Japanese students and practice Japanese.​

Whatever club you join, remember to respect the sempai/kohai relationship. You can learn more about this in online resources about Japanese culture.

Operating Motor Vehicles

You are strongly discouraged from driving cars, scooters, or motorcycles due to serious legal and insurance issues. Trains provide exceptional transit in and between most cities. UCEAP assumes no financial or legal aid responsibilities should you be involved in an accident while operating a motor vehicle. Some UCEAP partners in Japan do not allow you to operate motor vehicles; it is discussed in the on-site orientation for each partner.​

Homestay

You will complete a homestay application with your application for MGU admission. It will be for a day or overnight at no additional cost. Do not worry about your Japanese language ability; just be friendly and a good family member. The host family will welcome you as a volunteer. Prepare a gift for your host family—something for the entire family, not for each member (usually food such as fruit or candy). Also, bring some photos to explain your home country, family, or friends.

Buddy Program

The International Center arranges a Meigaku “buddy” volunteer to support UCEAP students. UC students greatly appreciate this support and the resulting friendships.

Religious Activities

Meiji Gakuin has a chapel open to all students and staff. A 20-minute chapel period is also held on class days at 12:40 p.m.  
Students with Disabilities
Japan’s accessibility laws mandate that new construction projects for public use include provisions for persons with disabilities. However, not all older buildings may be retrofitted for accessibility.
 
Accommodations and services cannot be guaranteed. Accommodations are individualized, based upon the student's documentation provided through the UC campus Disability Services Office (DSO). The letter must be on UC DSO letterhead and issued for the specific term and UCEAP program/country. Accommodations and services can be revisited as needed, but they are not retroactive and cannot be facilitated if procedures are not followed with reasonable, advanced notice. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that any funding required for special services abroad is arranged in advance.
 
For more information:
 
Travel Sign-out Form

Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?

You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account. 
 
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the US), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you. 
 
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
 
Working Abroad
Employment
Working while on the program is not recommended. Follow each host institution's instructions. For example, Tsuru University and the lab research programs do not allow international students to work.  ICU does not allow students to work during the first term of your program.

In other locations, you may work up to 28 hours per week, provided you receive the proper employment permits from the Japanese Immigration Office. It is illegal for foreign students on a student visa to work without this permit, even tutoring English. It is not permissible to miss a class, field trip, or other academic activity because of a job. Any student who does take a job must inform the employer that there will be times when he or she will miss work due to classes, field trips, etc. Remember that Japanese language courses, club activities, and dormitory activities are time-consuming and demanding.
​​
LGBTIQ Students
No law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and there are no penalties associated with such discrimination. Acceptance can vary from place to place, but overall, the country tends to be tolerant.
 
Traditional Japanese society may still discourage an open expression of identity. Despite some occasional social discomfort, the LGBT community enjoys a high degree of freedom and increasing levels of support from communities and the government.
 
​For more information,
Insurance
UCEAP Insurance

Know Before You Go

 
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
 
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations. Read details in Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
 
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance. You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process or about non-medical claims.
 
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
 
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.
 

For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status

Contact ACI at intlassist@acitpa.com.

Mandatory Japanese National Health Insurance
After arrival in Japan, all students (except summer only program participants) are required to apply for mandatory Japanese National Health Insurance (Kokumin Kenko Hoken).  This insurance will give you access to the best medical treatment available in Japan and cover 70% of your medical costs on site. You can submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance for reimbursement consideration of the remaining 30%.​ 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.  A few weeks after you apply, you will receive a bill in the mail and you will need to pay for this insurance out of pocket in yen. You may pay for this insurance in either a lump sum or monthly payments. The National Health Insurance is administered by each local prefecture.
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
There is an on-campus clinic at Meiji Gakuin that is equipped to handle minor ailments. For anything serious, however, visit an outside doctor. The Meiji Gakuin clinic can provide a referral to an appropriate specialist. In general, medical practices and facilities in Japan are the same as those in the US and costs are comparable.
 
During university hours the Meiji Gakuin University Health Clinic Center can be reached at 045-863-2020. In Totsuka, the Yokohama Emergency Medical Care Information Center can provide information about the nearest hospital or clinic depending on the ailment. This contact can be reached 24 hours a day at 045- 201-1199 (limited English). For non-emergency medical problems, the program office has a list of English-speaking doctors in the Yokohama area.
Physical Health

Know Before You Go

Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
 
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
 
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
 
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. Study Center staff can recommend a clinic to visit, guide you through the UCEAP claims process, and assist if arrangements need to be made with your professors due to extended absence from class.
 
The Tokyo Study Center recommends the Sanno Hospital for students in the Tokyo Area. This hospital is located relatively close to the Keio University campus, and professional English interpreters are available at no additional cost.

Radiation

Infectious Diseases

UCEAP continually reviews information from the CDC and World Health Organization, works closely with medical experts on the UC campuses, and monitors local host university and country health resources to provide timely and current information, as needed. In the event of a pandemic, UCEAP’s ability to assist students abroad may be severely limited by restrictions on local and international movement imposed by foreign governments or the United States for public health reasons.
 
For more information, refer to the Health and Safety: Our Partnership chapters of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page.
 
Prescription Medications
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
Japan does not honor US prescriptions, and some over-the-counter medications routinely used in the US are illegal in Japan.
 
First, find out if your prescription or over-the-counter medicine is legal to bring with you. The Japanese government decides which medications and medical devices are allowed into the country. Read the US Embassy's information on Bringing Medication into Japan.
 
Up to one month's supply of allowable prescription medicine can be brought into Japan. You must bring a letter on letterhead stating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regime, as well as a copy of your doctor's prescription. If you need more than one month’s supply, you are required to obtain in advance a "Yakkan Shoumei" (an import certificate), and show the "Yakkan Shoumei" certificate with your prescription medicines to Customs. For more information, and a link to the application form to obtain a Yakkan Shoumei, please see Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare’s page on Bringing Medicines for Personal Use into Japan.
 
Note that certain medications in the US, including some commonly prescribed for depression and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), are not widely available in Japan.
 
Refer to the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
 

PLAN AHEAD

  • While on UCEAP you are covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.  Inform yourself, UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
  • If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. You must travel with a letter from your prescribing physician explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name. 

    Note:​ If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it. 
  •  
  • If you need to find out if an appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at intlassist@acitpa.com. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
  •  
  • Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.

BEFORE DEPARTURE

  • If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
  •  
  • Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
  •  
  • If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal or unlicensed in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
  •  
  • Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
        
  • Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.

TRAVELING WITH PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS

  • Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is a liquid, consult the US Transportation Security Administration, Traveling with Medications.
  •  
  • Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
     
  • Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.

Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary? 

If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor.  If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage.  The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.

Consult with ACI about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage for prescriptions, intlassist@acitpa.com. Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.​​​​

Mental Health

Plan for Your Well-being

Culture shock is a normal developmental phase of adjustment to a new cultural environment. Culture shock reactions are usually transitory, lasting a couple of weeks, and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Eat balanced meals, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, build strong relationships, share concerns with the Study Center, and be open and accepting of the differences you encounter.

Mild or pre-existing health conditions can become serious as you transition into an unfamiliar culture and environment. US-style and standard psychiatric care can be difficult to locate in major urban centers in Japan and generally is not available outside of Japan's major cities. Schools that offer english-speaking counseling on campus include:
  • International Christian University
  • Osaka University
  • Tohoku University
  • Waseda University

Get in touch with the Study Center staff if you need assistance.

The UCEAP travel insurance policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit receipts to the UCEAP insurance company for reimbursement. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at intlassist@acitpa.com​. For information about the claims process, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.​
 

PLAN AHEAD

If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen, so a local physician can assess your needs.

Consider the country where you will be living and studying. Many countries do not have adequate resources. How will you manage your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition? 

If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. Traveling through customs with medications for personal use can be problematic in countries where those medications are prohibited. Stimulants frequently used for attention deficit disorders, such as amphetamine or methylphenidate, may be problematic, along with narcotics. What substances are prohibited in any given country varies. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.​

Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.

WHILE ABROAD

  • Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
  • The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration.  Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at intlassist@acitpa.com.
 

Meiji Gakuin Student Counseling Center

Yokohama campus:  +81-45-863-2061
 
At this center, students can consult with clinical psychologists about anything that is worrying them, including their relationships, personality, studies, academic direction, and psychological health.  There is an English-speaking counselor on campus on Mondays and Thursdays.
Health Risks
Food Allergies
​​Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
  • Research the local cuisine.
     
  • Learn the words for foods to which you are allergic in the local language. Write your allergy on an index card in both English and Japanese. Make several copies in case you lose one. Have a native speaker verify that you have written everything correctly.
     
  • Talk with your doctor six to eight weeks before departure to discuss risks and your treatment plan while abroad.
     
  • Carry symptom-reducing medications at all times, including epinephrine. Pack it in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. Your medication must be in its original packaging, with your name.
     
  • Have a letter from your physician to present to airport security that states your need to have the epinephrine auto injector with you at all times.
     
  • Wear at all times a medical alert bracelet or tag with instructions for assistance in both English and the local language.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section.
Air Quality
​Air pollution routinely exceeds recommended thresholds in urban areas. Individuals with asthma or chronic cardiorespiratory conditions should consult with a healthcare provider and carry necessary medications. On days when air quality is particularly poor, affected individuals should take personal precautions to reduce respiratory stress​.
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk

Safety is our concern but it is your responsibility. Be proactive in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Have an action plan.

With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Observe and assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
 

Terrorism

Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
 
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.

Report anything suspicious to local authorities.  Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff.  Schedule direct flights, if possible.  Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area.  Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency.  If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible.  Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
 

Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety

  • Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.
  •  
  • Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel.
     
  • Assess your surroundings. Observe and learn to recognize danger.
  •  
  • Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Assess reasonable and safe options. Trust your feelings; if you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
  •  
  • Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
  •  
  • When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.
  •  
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking. Know your limits. In many countries beer, wine and liquor in some countries contains a higher alcohol content than similar products in the US. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
  •  
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety. This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other. Choose your buddy wisely. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  •  
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call locally if you are in an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
 

Registration with the local US Embassy or Consulate

Register online with the US embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service for US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
 

Registration with the UCEAP Security Provider

You will be automatically registered with iJET International, the University of California security provider. You will receive important security and informational messages about local conditions for your program country.
 
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, for more information. Access the US Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Crime & Prevention
Be aware of your surroundings, understand how your conduct and actions may be perceived, and be sensitive to the impact that your behavior could have on your personal safety. Lock your apartment and keep valuable items secured. Use the buddy system when out late at night. 

While the crime rate in Japan is considered low, crime is on the rise.  Refer to the OSAC Crime & Safety report for Tokyo.  Common forms of crime are credit card fraud/extortion, drink spiking, and illegal drugs. Petty theft can occur in crowded areas such as train stations, nightclubs, and tourist attractions. 

Nightclubs and Concerts
Be cautious when attending bars or nightclubs, especially in the Roppongi and Kabuki-cho entertainments districts of Tokyo.  The US Embassy reports that crimes such as robberies, credit card fraud and drink spiking targeting foreigners are increasing in bars and nightclubs.  The Embassy recommends to be cautious in all entertainment and nightlife districts throughout Japan. For safety precautions in Japan, refer to the US Embassy in Tokyo crime and safety page.

Personal attacks, including sexual assault and rape, are rare, but do happen. Japanese law places a high burden of proof on the victim to demonstrate that the assault was not consensual and committed through assault, intimidation or force. Past UC students were physically assaulted and inappropriately touched at concerts and night clubs in the Tokyo area of Shin-Kiba. 
 

Drink and Food Spiking

 
Drink spiking has routinely led to robbery and physical/sexual assaults. Do not accept food or drinks from strangers or new acquaintances. Do not leave food or drinks unattended.​

Knives

 
Possession of a knife with a locking blade, or a folding blade that is longer than 5.5 cm (a little more than two inches), is illegal in Japan. US citizens have been arrested and detained for carrying pocket knives that are legal in the US but illegal in Japan.
 

Criminal Penalties

 
You are subject to Japan’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States. American citizens are not protected by US laws while in Japan. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those enforced in the US for similar offenses. Persons violating the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect severe jail sentences and fines. If you are charged with such offenses, UCEAP would not be able to intervene on your behalf.
Civil Unrest
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Japan is a left-hand traffic country. All roads are paved and marked. There are many reliable transport options available in Japan. Mass transit is most accessible in urban areas, and rail lines reach remote areas of the country.
 
Operating Motor Vehicles
Do not drive cars, scooters, or motorcycles due to serious legal and insurance issues. Trains provide exceptional transit in and between most cities. UCEAP assumes no financial or legal aid responsibilities should you be involved in an accident while operating a motor vehicle. Some UCEAP partners in Japan do not allow you to operate motor vehicles.
 
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. The Tokyo subway system has color-coded lines clearly marked with signs in English.
 
To maximize the number of riders, white-gloved attendants physically push passengers into rail cars. While there is adequate police presence at the stations and on the trains to ensure passenger security, crowded trains can provide opportunities for thieves.
 

Pedestrian Safety

  • Cross streets at a corner using traffic signals and crosswalks.
     
  • Take overhead and underground pedestrian walkways.
     
  • When going out at night, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing.
     
  • Do not cross where there is a “Pedestrian Crossing Forbidden” sign.
Earthquakes

Japan is subject to earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons. Minor tremors occur regularly throughout the islands. Familiarize yourself with earthquake and disaster preparedness.

Have a Plan

 
Develop a personal emergency plan. Know the location of evacuation sites.

 

Early Warnings

 
Telephone services will be severely overloaded and the Japanese Government will restrict phone use to priority users. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) provides residents with earthquake early warnings. These are new rapid earthquake alerts issued immediately after the occurrence of early tremors, in order to secure time to protect yourself before strong tremors arrive. When accurate, these warnings may just give you a couple of seconds advance notice. Preparation is of critical importance. The JMA provides earthquake early warnings through several means such as TV and radio.
In the event of a major earthquake, the government will issue a declaration of warning (state of emergency). Everyone within range of the warning is advised to refrain from the use of cars and telephones.
 
Emergency actions include:
  • Turn off the stove and other heat sources.
  • Open doors to ensure an exit. This is particularly important in a multi-level building.
  • DROP to the ground. Take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture. HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there are no tables or desks near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay indoors during the initial tremor until it is safe to go outside. Injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Once outside, protect your head.
If trapped under debris:
  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available.
  • Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
More details on self-preparedness are available through the Japan Meteorological Agency, the US Embassy in Tokyo Emergency Preparedness for Americans in Japan, and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.
 
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment

Sexual Assault

Sexual assaults are not frequent but do occur, and females may be randomly targeted. Some US citizens report that Japanese police procedures appear to be less sensitive and responsive to a survivor's concerns compared to the procedures in the United States, particularly in cases of sexual assault or when both the survivor and the perpetrator are foreigners. Few assistance resources exist in major urban areas, and they are generally unavailable in rural areas. Investigations of sexual assault crimes are often conducted without female police officers present, and police typically ask about the victim’s sexual history and previous relationships. If you are sexually assaulted, go to a safe place immediately. This is not the time to be alone. Call the 24/7 UCEAP Study Center staff who will help and support you.

Sexual Assault Resources at Meiji Gakuin University

Harassment Counseling and Support Center at Meiji Gakuin University
TEL 045-863-2218
(Building 1, 1F)
Email address for making consultation appointments:
jinkeny@mguad.meijigakuin.ac.jp
Opening days: Monday,Tuesday and Friday Opening hours: 10:00 to 17:00
 
Students can also call the following number and will be provided support from the Policy Bureau of Yokohama City.
English TEL: 050-1501-2803
Monday‐Saturday 10:00 to 17:00

Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
Fire Safety
Most college-related fires in the US 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 where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
     
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
     
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
     
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
     
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
     
  • 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 UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
 

If you are in the US

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
     
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
 

If you are abroad

 
Local Emergency Numbers Police are reliable and widely respected. Police boxes (koban) exist throughout the country at transport hubs and in residential and commercial areas.
 
The police may be reached by telephone at 110 (hyaku touban).
 
Emergency medical care, the fire department, the life squad, and ambulance services can be reached by dialing 119.
 

US Embassy Tokyo

1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Tokyo 107-8420 JAPAN
 
Phone (general switchboard): (03) 3224-5000
Phone (visa information): (03) 5354-4033
Fax: (03) 3505-1862
 

US General Consulate Osaka

2-11-5, Nishitenma,
Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543
 
Phone (06) 6315-5900
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 office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.