Old and new. Traditional and ultra-modern. Japan is a country of amazing and exciting contrasts.
Tokyo, the economic, technical, and political hub of the country, is truly one of the world’s most vibrant and fascinating capitals—and a fashionista’s or gastronome’s delight! With homestay options, cultural activities and exceptional cross-cultural and language training, you can pursue your academic interests while immersing yourself in a challenging, enriching international experience.
Study abroad in Japan and you will:
Study Japanese in language classes at all levels; choose from a wide range of other courses taught in English to mixed groups of Japanese and international students
Live with a Japanese family or in a dorm with young professionals and Japanese and international students
Participate in a contemporary and traditional cultural activity program, including regional site visits, historical tours, hands-on workshops, and a weekend excursion to Hiroshima; benefit from an extra cultural activity reimbursement program
The CIEE Difference
Enroll directly in classes at the prestigious Sophia University, alongside Japanese and other international students. In addition to a Japanese language learning class, take advantage of the university’s full curriculum, with subjects ranging from an Art History and Anthropology, to International Business, Literature, Religion and Political Science.
Enjoy a series of guest lectures by local academic and professional speakers, as well as visits to local elementary schools and areas of cultural and historical interest. You may also select from smaller group activities that correspond to your interests and give you greater interaction with CIEE Staff and Japanese facilitators. Students are also strongly encouraged to join Sophia University clubs and circles.
Get vivid and memorable glimpse into the tragedy of Hiroshima with a weekend trip to the city devastated by the world’s first atomic bomb in 1945. This is followed by a day trip to the interesting island of Miyajima with the famous red torii of Itsukushima Shrine standing in the water and its delicious oysters and other seafood. Other trips may include the city of Kyoto, rich in cultural treasures, including temples, Zen gardens, and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Total recommended credit per semester is 16 semester/24 quarter hours, and total recommended credit for an academic or calendar year is 32 semester/48 quarter hours.
Course contact hours per course total at least 60 hours, and recommended credit is 4 semester/6 quarter hours per course.
The faculty of Liberal Arts offers Japanese language courses at many levels, including courses for students with near-native fluency. The recommended credit for these courses is 2, 4, or 8 semester credits, but many language courses require more contact hours per week than regular content courses. Participants are placed in appropriate language classes based on a placement test given during the orientation session.
Study abroad students take one required Japanese language course and two or three area studies courses, one of which must focus on Japan. Most students enroll in the regular Japanese Language program (4 credits) and three elective courses. Students who enroll in the Japanese Language Intensive Program (8 credits) take Japanese Language and two elective courses. From Fall, 2012 on, students may select the CIEE course, Seminar on Living and Learning in Tokyo for 2 credits.
Tokyo is absolutely unique—you have to experience it to believe it. It’s unbelievably crowded and congested (with a population of roughly 13 million), yet extremely clean and safe. Trains run on time, space is used in creative and ingenious ways, and the variety of shopping and entertainment available is astounding. Japan might be considered the vending machine capital of the world (There are even vending machines on Mt. Fuji!), yet customers in stores are treated royally, and clerks try to be as helpful as possible. Despite the crowds in Tokyo, it is possible to find quiet oases, pockets of nature to enjoy, and vestiges of the past, if you know where to look.
Where You’ll Study
Sophia University, a private institution founded by Jesuits nearly 100 years ago, is one of the leading universities in Japan with over 10,000 students, including internationals students from over 40 countries. CIEE students take courses through the Faculty of Liberal Arts, in which approximately two-thirds of the students are Japanese, including those who have returned from living abroad. The CIEE Study Center at Sophia’s Yotsuya campus in central Tokyo includes a library, computer labs, faculty and administrative offices, classrooms, and sports grounds. The CIEE Study Center is right near the North Entrance to the campus.
Housing & Meals
Study abroad students can live in either a homestay or a managed housing facility (dorm). Students may not opt to live in their own housing during the program.
Housing is arranged per semester, Academic year students are able to change their housing each semester, and a student selecting the homestay option for both semesters would live with two different families.The housing during the interim break is not included in the program fee. Therefore, academic year students are required to arrange their own accommodation between semesters.
Homestay - The homestay is considered a vital component of the Arts and Sciences program in Tokyo. Homestays provide study abroad students an unparalleled opportunity for language and cultural immersion and allow them to become more involved in local communities. Japanese homestay families typically live within a 60- to 90-minute commute of Sophia University. Students have their own room with a desk, chair, and bed/futonmay have use of the kitchen, and share bathroom facilities. Laundry facilities are available. Families provide two meals per day, usually breakfast and dinner. Lunch is not included in the program fee. Utilities are included except for telephone fees, which are the responsibility of the student. Not all households can provide Internet access for students.
Dormitories - The private, managed housing facilities (dorms) are located within a 60- to 90-minute commute to Sophia University. The dorms are co-ed, but the floors may be separated by gender, and members of the opposite sex may not enter these areas of the dorm. The dorms are managed by in-house Japanese staff, who communicate with residents, plan social activities, and enforce dorm regulations. There are no on-campus dormitories at Sophia University. The dormitories give students the opportunity to live independently, while developing social and linguistic skills among Japanese and international peers. This enables them to understand the deeper levels of Japanese culture and society through friendships with students from Sophia and other institutions and young professionals.
Rooms are single accommodation. There are shared bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and lounge areas in the dormitories. Students prepare meals on their own in the spacious kitchen area in the dorms. The kitchens have sinks, stoves, and microwaves. There is no meal service in the dorms. Meals are not included and are the responsibility of the student.
The CIEE Arts and Sciences study abroad program, which began in 1982 and moved to Sophia University in 1998, provides a supportive environment in which participants can study at one of Japan’s top-ranked universities while experiencing life in Tokyo. CIEE students enroll in Sophia University courses alongside Japanese and other international students. All CIEE students study Japanese language each semester and take at least one Japan-focused course in English, though many students elect to take more.
Sophia University has a reputation as being very international. The Faculty of Liberal Arts (FLA) is unusual, as it allows international and Japanese students to study together in content classes taught in English. The ratio of students to faculty is approximately 20-to-1. Content courses meet twice a week for 90-minute sessions, but most language courses meet daily. The faculty compromises top educators from around the world, and thus, course structure varies. Some courses are more discussion-based, while others are lecture-style, with the latter being predominant at lower levels. Because CIEE participants are surrounded by classmates with an array of viewpoints and backgrounds, the academic culture is enriched, and many perspective-expanding experiences await.
CIEE offers semester and year-long program options. The fall semester is from September to February, and the spring semester runs from March to August. The yearlong option can be either from September to August or from March to February. Students enrolling in the fall semester only are required to stay until the end of the program in early February. Note that early exams are not given under any circumstances.
Nature of Classes
Participants enroll directly in Sophia University courses through the Faculty of Liberal Arts and take classes with CIEE, Japanese, and other international students. Japanese language courses are credit-bearing courses for CIEE and other international students.
CIEE Community Language Commitment
As students gain competency in Japanese, resident staff encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings. The more students participate, the more a community that contributes to Japanese language proficiency and understanding of Japanese society develops.
In Sophia University courses, assessment is based on exams, quizzes, presentations, and papers, and letter grades of A-F are given. Grades for the North American spring semester should arrive on campus by late October and for the fall semester, in early April. Students concerned about the timing of receiving grades should take this under consideration when choosing this program.
Language of Instruction
All courses at Sophia University are taught by Sophia University faculty.