Contemporary Japan is exemplary of how a country can uphold its ancient traditions and coexist fluidly with a new economic grace. Where else is it possible to participate in a traditional tea ceremony against a backdrop of suburban sprawl, which contains some of the largest corporations in the world? Tokyo, Japan's capital and economic hub, is a shining example of how old traditions and new high-tech culture meld to create one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Japan's industrialized, free market economy is the second-largest in the world. The public transportation system is efficient, well run and inexpensive. Taxis, buses, and bikes are alternate means of transportation. Japan, a country of islands, extends along the eastern or Pacific coast of Asia. Japan's highest mountain is the world famous Mt. Fuji (12,385 feet).
Bentley students will be joining other US and international students as a part of the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE)'s program. This unique opportunity allows students to take Japanese language classes at Sophia University while also studying business and liberal arts, taught in English.
The Resident Director is available to assist students with a variety of needs, and is the primary resource for all students on the program. The Resident Director is a staff member familiar with both Japanese and American cultures, and is trained to assist students while studying on the CIEE program. This unique feature allows students to feel comfortable while learning about how to integrate into Japanese culture.
Sophia University is a private, Jesuit institution well known for its international environment. It is one of the preeminent universities in Japan with over 10,000 students. Sophia's campus is located in central Tokyo near Shinjuku, the Meiji Shrine, and the Imperial Palace. CIEE has an office on campus that provides support to students while studying at Sophia University.
CIEE students take courses at the Faculty of Liberal Arts. Approximately 80% of the students studying in this faculty are Japanese. The Faculty of Liberal Arts is unique as it allows international and Japanese students to study together in seminar classes taught in English. The Sophia faculty is very international and thus, course structure varies. Some courses are more discussion-based, while others are lecture-style.
All students are required to take a Japanese language course (minimum 4 credits) and complete their course load with electives in Japanese culture and business courses. Class size may vary a great deal, from smaller seminars to large lecture halls. Professors may put more emphasis on memorization of class materials and may put more of the responsibility for succeeding in the hands of the students.
One of the distinctive features of this program is the chance to live in a Japanese host family (required for all students with less than 2 semesters of Japanese language background). The homestay is considered a vital component of the CIEE Study Center in Tokyo. Homestays provide students with an unparalleled opportunity for language and cultural immersion and allow students to get more involved in local communities. Japanese homestay families are typically within a 60-80 minute commute of Sophia University. Families provide breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday and there are sufficient meals on the weekends. Lunch is not included in the program fee.
For students with advanced Japanese language skills, the option of living in an off-campus international student dormitory is available. The private, modern dormitories are located throughout the Tokyo area and are typically within a 60-80 minute commute to Sophia University. Approximately 70-80% of the other residents are local Japanese university students and/or Japanese young professionals. The dormitories provide students with the opportunity to live independently and responsibly, while developing social and linguistic skills among peers. Rooms are single accommodation. Meals included in the program fee are provided in the cafeteria, Monday-Saturday (breakfast and dinner). Lunch is not included in the program fee. Shared kitchen facilities are also available for students to cook their own food.
A two-week orientation in Tokyo takes place prior to the beginning of courses. The CIEE orientation introduces students to the country and the culture, provides practical information about living in Tokyo, and prepares students for their homestay or dormitory experience. Students receive ongoing orientation on aspects of Japanese culture through the core course, CIEE activities, and individual appointments with CIEE Study Center staff.
Throughout the semester, students are invited to take part in a full schedule of excursions, events and lectures-all designed to enhance their understanding of Japan and the historical and modern influences that impact its culture and people.
As a means of encouraging students to enrich their study abroad experience in Tokyo, CIEE offers a Cultural Reimbursement Program, reimbursing students for their participation in local cultural activities. This may include Japanese movies, traditional Japanese music concerts and theater, and visits to local museums and historic places of interest.
Volunteer opportunities in Tokyo may be available. Students should consult with the CIEE Study Center staff early on to determine options. They are also encouraged to seek out volunteer opportunities independently. In the past, CIEE students have volunteered at local elementary schools, helped organize a food drive for homeless people in Tokyo, and assisted with an organization that leads activities for developmentally and physically challenged youth.
PLEASE NOTE: Fall semester is only possible if this will be your LAST semester at Bentley (the program runs until February preventing a return to Bentley for the spring semester).
The spring semester runs from March - August, and the fall semester runs from October - February.