At ICU's green, suburban campus about 45 minutes from Shinjuku station, students take Japanese Studies, Japanese Language and Liberal Arts courses. ICU is a small, private liberal arts type college which attracts internationally-minded Japanese students who are expected to achieve fluency in English by graduation. Enrollment for the academic year only. Priority goes to UMass students, but 5 college students may apply on a space available basis, by February 1 each year.
In a peaceful, green residential section of the Tokyo suburb called Mitaka, ICU is an oasis of trees and lawns. Downtown Tokyo is about 45 minutes to 1 hour away by bus and train, and Mitaka City provides department stores and conveniences for every need.
Founded in 1949 as a non-denominational Christian college, ICU is dedicated to the ideals of peace, democracy and internationalism. Current undergraduate enrollment is 2,600 with about 175 graduate students. There are six divisions: Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Languages, Education and International Studies. Regular Japanese students are strongly encouraged to study abroad.
Structured in a trimester calendar, ICU is well-known for its strong Japanese language program, offering both intensive and non-intensive tracks. Prior Japanese study is not required. Each student must take a Japanese language placement test upon arrival. Introductory and Intermediate Japanese is offered in an Intensive format, carrying 10 credits per term, meeting 4 days per week. Students in the Intensive program also select one elective course. Students may instead elect to study Japanese in the "regular" program, (5 credits per term, 3 days per week), at the introductory through the advance levels, and choose 2-3 elective courses. ICU offers a Japanese Studies Certificate to students who complete 15 credits in the Japanese Language Program and an additional 18 credits of elective courses.
For elective courses, ICU offers 25-30 Japanese Studies courses taught in English each year - see a recent list here: http://subsite.icu.ac.jp/ieeo/exchange_invitee/download/japan-studies.pdf. Exchange students can enroll in an course offered in the College of LIberal Arts. For access to courses by academic department and course syllabi, see http://www.icu.ac.jp/en/liberalarts/list_syllabi/index.html?
Throughout the rest of the curriculum, courses are taught in Japanese, or in English, or both, and students are allowed to enroll in any provided they get the approval of the instructor. Exchange students can also earn credit for Service Learning courses and activities, similar to the Community Service Learning activities at UMass.
UMass student typically earn 27 - 36 credits for the year and can usually satisfy some General Education Requirements. Japanese majors can earn 12 - 24 credits towards the major requirements. Students are graded on class participation, homework, exams, papers and oral presentations, similar to standards in the United States. Your grades will not be calculated into your UMass GPA.
ICU offers several choices: on-campus dormitories, off-campus dormitory style housing, or host families in the surrounding suburban community. The cost varies with the type of accommodation. Dormitory rooms are usually doubles, with shared bathrooms, kitchenettes and common living spaces in 5 single sex dormitories and 4 co-ed dormitories, each with it's own unique identity and traditions. Students must budget and pay for meals out-of-pocket. Students can shop and prepare meals in shared kitchenettes, or buy meals at the cafeteria or other eateries near campus. Off-campus dorms and host family arrangements are made by third-party agencies.
University Clubs & Circles
Students are strongly encouraged to join student clubs or circles as a means to forming social connections with Japanese students. Clubs and Circles are the main social vehicle on Japanese university campuses, and they range from active sports clubs and martial arts, to jazz groups, hiking and tea ceremony study groups. Students are urged to consider carefully the time commitment required as some of the clubs meet daily for 2-4 hours.
UMass students can apply for JASSO Scholarships through ICU. Recipients receive a monthly stipend of 80,000 per month. Applications are available in March from the Asia Programs Advisor, and are due in May.
Financial Documentation Requirement
Students applying to study at a Japanese university through the UMass exchanges must provide evidence of adequate financial resources to cover living expenses and a notarized letter from parents or a guardian pledging to provide financial support for their son/daughter while studying in Japan. The specific amount is $6,000 per semester. The student or his or her parents/guardian will need to obtain a signed letter from their bank stating the balance of their checking/savings accounts, money market accounts, mutual fund accounts or retirement accounts. The letter must be on letterhead of the financial institution and must be signed by a real person.
This is a reciprocal requirement between the U.S. and Japan; Japanese students seeking to enter the U.S. must also show evidence of ability to support themselves in the form of a signed letter from their bank.
If you are a financial aid recipient, do not panic or give up hope because of this requirement. Note that you or your parents are only being asked to show evidence of funds available; these funds don’t necessarily need to be earmarked for your educational expenses. Talk with your family to see if there is any way to satisfy this requirement yourselves. You should also apply for as many scholarships as possible (see Scholarship section). If you receive a scholarship, you will be able to use the award letter to satisfy part of this requirement.
Students applying to any of the UMass-sponsored Japanese exchange sites must first complete the UMass Japan Exchange Program application and screening process which includes an interview. The deadline is early October for the spring semester, or early January for the following fall semester & year. After your interview, during which your preferred host university will be confirmed, your "UMass Japan Exchange Program" application in the UMass Abroad system will be changed to an application for your preferred university. There will be some additional documents that you must complete, and information about the actual university application.
Application to ICU
The Asia Programs Advisor must nominate students interested in studying at ICY no later than February 28 each year. Complete application documents must be emailed by IPO's Exchange Coordinator to ICU by March 15, so must be received by the Exchange Coordinator well in advance of that date. Applications include a faculty reference letter and application form. Shortly thereafter (March 22), Certificate of Eligibility applications and supporting bank documentation, are due by mail.