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Program Description:
JCMU - Summer Intensive Lang



Immerse yourself in Japanese culture and earn 10 credits of Japanese language over the summer!



Length: You may apply for a single semester (fall or spring) or for a full academic year

Credits: 10

Location: Shiga Prefecture, Japan

Housing: JCMU Residence Hall or Japanese host family

Eligibility: Minimum 2.5 GPA, open to college students of all majors

Language of instruction: English, Japanese

Program fees: Summer Intensive Language & Culture budget sheet

Tuition discounts: Students attending a JCMU Consortium school pay a discounted rate 


Summary: Make Japan a part of your academic plan and discover the historic city of Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, right in the heart of Honshu (the main island of Japan). There, you will learn an entire year's worth of college-level Japanese over the condensed summer semester.

While at JCMU, you will immerse yourself completely in Japanese language and culture. There are no language prerequisites, though: we offer beginner level courses all the way through advanced. You will get the chance to participate in a wide range of classroom activities, including practice with a Japanese student and sitting in on a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Through this, you will find that your ability to utilize Japanese on a day-to-day basis in Hikone will increase exponentially. 

Location: Built as a castle town during the early 1600s, Hikone retains much of its original charm. Spend your time visiting sites such as Hikone Castle, one of only twelve Japanese castles to remain in its original construction. After a day of sightseeing, head back to our campus directly on the shores of Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan and the third oldest lake in the entire world. 

Looking for modern conveniences? In Hikone's vibrant downtown area, you can chill out in large malls, eat at a wide variety of restaurants, and even sing your heart out at one of many karaoke shops. Want to explore other parts of Japan? The city is only a short train ride away from the cities of Kyoto and Osaka, and on the bullet train line to Tokyo.

Cultural demonstrations: Practice Japanese with conversation partners, participate in club activities and events at local universities, and engage in weekly cultural activities right on JCMU's campus.

Housing: Students may live in the JCMU Residence Hall or with a homestay. The JCMU student apartments are designed for double occupancy with two private bedrooms and a shared kitchen, dining area and bathroom. The residential building has wireless internet and features a laundry room, TV room, lounge and other amenities. JCMU arranges short- and long-term homestays with local families based on family availability and student preferences. Homestays, regardless of duration, offer students the best opportunity to meet and interact with Japanese people.

Field trips & other benefits: You will be provided with your own bike to use while on the program. In addition, you will have the chance to go on a field excursion with your classmates! The location & date of the excursion are subject to change on a yearly basis, but past students have been taken to Kyoto, Nara, Uji, and more.



You will take the following class while you are on the program: 

  • (10 credits) Intensive Japanese language: Daily instruction will address listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Beginner through advanced levels are all offered. Placement is based on exams at the beginning of the program. No prior language study is required!


Want to learn what past students have said about their time in Hikone?  Or do you want to read about what our recent students have been up to? Then visit the Alumni Testimonials and Events sections of the JCMU Official Blog! Are you interested in learning more about the opportunities available to you on the Summer Intensive Language program? Then check out this video created by a 2016 alum of the program! Summer Intensive Language & Culture Program (JCMU) - YouTube

Arriving in HikoneSummer classmates!Temple visitsCultural activities ahoy!

Hikone CastleProgram Overview

The Summer Intensive Japanese Language Program is designed for students who want to concentrate on Japanese language study while experiencing life in Japan. Since it began in 1992, JCMU's summer program has welcomed many students to Japan of various majors, ages, and backgrounds. No prior Japanese language study is required. The summer program runs from the beginning of June through the first week in August.

Intensive study of a language in its country of origin is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences one can have in a short period of time. Unlike foreign language study in the U.S., students have an immediate context to apply and develop their skills. The JCMU program involves several hours of daily instruction, supplemented by time in the language lab and with Japanese conversation partners. The instruction emphasizes all four basic skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Students are placed into one of four levels based on placement exams given at the beginning of the program. (A curriculum guide is available upon request). Unless arrangements have been made with their home universities, JCMU summer students will be registered at Michigan State University (MSU) and receive MSU credit, which is widely recognized as eligible for transfer.

Beyond classroom training, JCMU students are able to apply their increasing language skills in the local community and throughout Japan. Field trips, demonstrations, and other activities, whether organized by the JCMU staff or initiated by students, complement language study. Optional homestays with local families [see below] offer the ultimate opportunity to meet and interact with Japanese people. From within the Japanese family structure, students will gain a deeper appreciation of Japanese values, behavior, and sense of balance between personal and group responsibilities.

Check the JCMU website for multimedia tours of their site on the shores of Lake Biwa:


The small town of Hikone (pop. 110,000), located between Tokyo and Kyoto, is famous for its medieval castle, one of the few surviving original castles in Japan.

The first castle of Hikone was destroyed in 1600. The new lord assigned by the Tokugawa government rebuilt a new castle, completed in 1622, and Hikone thrived on rice trade, strategically situated between Kyoto and Nagoya. Nowadays, the castle is a major touristical attraction in spring when thousands of surrounding cherry trees make it the perfect spot for the typical picture of Japan. The Genkyu-en Garden down the castle adds to this traditional image with its colourful ornemental carps.


The Japanese language program at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU) located in Hikone, Japan, offers four levels of instruction: Elementary, lower intermediate, intermediate, and advanced. Each level at the Center is designed to advance the language students' proficiency through the combination of in-class instruction and outside activities. The language program as a whole aims to produce students who can communicate effectively in a variety of sociocultural contexts both in spoken and written Japanese.


  • Elementary Japanese (Level 1)
  • Lower Intermediate Japanese (Level 2)
  • Intermediate Japanese (Level 3)
  • Advanced Japanese (Level 4)

The Center gives a placement test to students at the beginning of each term so that they may be placed in the proper level according to their language proficiency, to maximize their learning experience at JCMU.

Language courses for the summer (approximately 18 sessions a week in each level ) are supplemented by cultural activities, homestay visits, excursions to important cultural and historic sites in Shiga and in its vicinities, and participation in a wide variety of community-based activities and events.


Students may either live with community families ("homestays") or in the JCMU apartments. Homestays are an important part of the Japan experience. JCMU arranges homestays of various durations, based on family availability and student preferences. Students may, for example, live for one month in the Center apartments and stay one month with a family, or live for the whole summer in the Center and spend an occasional weekend with a family.

Student apartments are designed for double occupancy, each with a private bedroom/study and shared kitchen and bathroom. Each apartment is separately metered for utilities, including telephones. The residential building also contains a new computer lab, laundry, television room, weight room, and lounge. It is part of a larger JCMU complex including an academic building and a traditional Japanese garden overlooking Lake Biwa. The spacious academic building houses classrooms, a library, language labs, a traditional tatami room, a public restaurant, and offices.

Steps to Apply to this Program:

  1. Come into the advising center to meet with a peer counselor and set up an appointment with a program advisor. The advising center is located in 455 Hills South and is open from 10-4 Monday through Friday.
  2. Please note that since this is a partner program, you are required to complete two applications - the program specific application found on their website, and the UMass online application which can be started here .  Don't forget to check on the specific deadlines for this program as they will differ from the deadlines for your UMass application. 
  3. Remember, only UMass Amherst applicants can apply to this program.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year UMass/IPO Application Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 05/01/2019 ** Varies 06/03/2019 08/05/2019

** Indicates rolling admissions.

If you are applying to a partner program, you must check their website for ACTUAL APPLICATION DEADLINES. The posted deadline above indicates when your UMass Abroad application materials are due and the program’s deadline may be sooner.