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Programs : Brochure

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Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Affiliated Department: Honors Foreign Language Required: None
Primary Language(s) of Instruction: English Estimated Program Fee: 4150
UW Program Director: Julie Villegas, Kristi Govella UW Study Abroad Program Manager: Ruby Machado Shields
UW Program Staff Email:,
Program Information:

Location Tokyo, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Hiroshima, Japan
Academic Term Summer A-Term
06/23/2019 - 07/19/2019
Estimated Program Fee $4,600
Credits 12 credits on-site and 3 credits-required spring prep seminar
Prerequisites There are no prereqs or language requirements, although the program directors will encourage students to learn basic words and phrases in Japanese.
Program Directors Julie Villegas |
Kristi Govella |
Program Manager Ruby Machado Shields |
Priority Application Deadline January 31, 2018
Information Sessions Friday, November 30, 10:30 & 2:30 (repeat sessions in Honors MGH 211) Friday, January 11, 2019, 12:30 & 3:30 (Honors MGH 211)
General This interdisciplinary study abroad program in Japan explores the complex and evolving web of narratives surrounding Japanese national identity.
Visas Please see Application tab.

Program Description

This interdisciplinary study abroad program in Japan explores the complex and evolving web of narratives surrounding Japanese national identity. Japan is often considered a puzzle for observers. It experienced unexpectedly phenomenal growth during the post-World War II era, yet it has now spent over two “lost decades” mired in economic doldrums. Japan has a vibrant and mature democracy, yet it has been dominated by a single political party for over 60 years. It is considered a powerhouse of cultural appeal and goodwill by some countries, yet it has heated historical disputes with its Asian neighbors over its imperial past. Japan formally renounced war in its “peace constitution,” but its Self-Defense Forces are considered by many to be one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world. This program explores these puzzles and more from a variety of perspectives, including history, politics, economics, society, race, gender, culture, literature and the arts. In addition to attending lectures by faculty, students will have the opportunity to experience Japan through visits to important historical and cultural sites in Tokyo and other parts of Japan, including a one-week excursion to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Miyajima. Participants will also have opportunities to meet current students studying at Waseda University. Other course components include: readings, writing assignments, research, blog posts, reflection, individual check-ins with instructors, and free time for exploration. Students are expected to maintain a research and reflective portfolio and present their final paper and reflection at the end of the program.




Tokyo, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Hiroshima, Japan


Students are housed in dorms at the Olympic Complex in Tokyo (NYC). Students will have their own room and bathroom in Tokyo and shared hotel or hostel rooms in Hiroshima and Kyoto. The housing selected is clean, safe, and secure with regulation safety features and strong security at all gates and within the buildings.



Prerequisites and Language Requirements

There are no prereqs or language requirements, although the program directors will encourage students to learn basic words and phrases in Japanese. No requirements beyond the ability to travel through the city by foot, train, tram, and bus. There will be many days where students will be on their feet, walking through the city, for much of the day.


12 credits on-site and 3 credits-required spring prep seminar UW Quarter Credits


HONORS 384: Introduction to Japanese Politics and Society (3 credits Spring Quarter Seminar credits) VLPA/I&S, W

This seminar will prepare students to engage in in-depth study and travel in Japan through lectures, films, and discussions. The course will begin with a brief overview of Japanese history to provide a foundation for our discussions of contemporary issues. In order to better understand the transformation that Japan is experiencing today, we examine key domestic institutions and actors in Japan, including the major political parties, the bureaucracy, business, civil society, and the media. We will also consider important issues in Japan’s relations with its Asian neighbors and the United States. Throughout these discussions, students will be introduced to major theories from history, political science, economics, sociology, and anthropology in order to put Japan into comparative context. The course will also provide a practical guide to Japanese culture and customs. At the end of the quarter, each student will propose an independent project to pursue during their summer study abroad experience.

HONORS 233: Japanese Politics, Economics, and Security in Transition (5 credits) I&S, W

This interdisciplinary course explores some of the most controversial political, economic, and security issues in Japan today and their links to Japan’s evolving sense of national identity. We focus primarily on the period from the 1990s to the present, examining important shifts precipitated by the end of the Cold War and the bursting of the Japanese economic bubble. We examine Japan's changing politics, using the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster as a lens through which to examine state-society relations. We then turn to Japan's changing foreign policy, addressing basing issues, constitutional revision, historical disputes, and soft power. The final section of the course explores changing economics and society during Japan’s “lost decades” in terms of changing employment trends, demographic change, gender, race, and mental health. We also problematize how these issues have been reported in the media.


HONORS 213: Narratives of Migrant and Mixed ‘Race’ Identities in Japan (5 credits) VLPA, DIV, W

This course investigates individual, cultural, and national identity formation, what determines identity labels and who defines social capital. We will use a comparative interdisciplinary model with a foundation in cultural studies/literary studies to learn about topics including: identity and environment; global migration; borders and frontiers (territory issues and global ramifications related to national and individual identity formation; border policy); refugee/migration movements in Japan, Korea, and China and comparatively US border history and policy related to identity politics and the view of the “refugee and “immigrant” as cultural tokens and foils.

HONORS 384: Independent Research on Japan (2 credits) VLPA/I&S, W

Building on the proposal developed in the spring, each student will conduct an independent research project related to the larger theme of the program. In consultation with instructors, they will develop a plan for developing this project while in Japan. Students will regularly discuss and write about their research as it progresses and they will also work together collaboratively with other students in small groups both in Seattle and Japan. At the end of the program, students will present their research and submit a paper discussing their work.



Julie Villegas
Acting Director, Honors & Affiliate Professor, English, Honors Program

Julie Villegas is currently Acting Director of the University Honors Program and the Lead for International Programs in Honors and affiliate assistant professor of English. Dr. Villegas is the UW coordinator and lead for Waseda University’s Global Leadership Program Consortium. As lead, she develops and teaches the curriculum for the GLFP Waseda and UW students as well as recruiting and retaining students going to Japan and students arriving from Japan. In 2015, she was the recipient of the International Educators Fulbright Fellowship to Japan. She has extensive experience directing programs abroad (Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Turkey). Her research focus is in the area of American and Global Ethnic Literature, specifically border studies and writings in critical mixed race identity.

Kristi Govella
International Studies, International Studies

Kristi Govella is an Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. As a political scientist, her work is located at the nexus of comparative politics and international relations in the Asia-Pacific region, with a particular focus on Japan. She is engaged in a number of projects looking at the relationship between security and economics, regional institutional architecture, and various issues related to contemporary Japanese politics. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Hawaiʻi, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University and an Associate Professor of Security Studies at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and has spent over six years studying, working, and conducting research in Japan. For more information, see

Miki Mizuno
Site Coordinator in Japan

Miki Mizuno worked at Morgan Stanley in both Tokyo and Sydney for over 20 years. After retiring from the financial world, she was engaged with Waseda University in Tokyo as a study abroad administrator till 2015. She collaborated with University of Washington on the GLFP (Global Leadership Fellows Program) of Waseda University. In 2016 summer, she served as site coordinator for the UW’s C21 Tokyo Challenge Program. In 2017 Ms. Mizuno served as site coordinator for the Honors Japan Program and again in 2018. Miki studied at UWC Pearson College in Victoria (Canada) and graduated from Sophia University in Tokyo. She has a B.A. in Hispanic Studies. She is a wife, a mother of two children and a grandma of a baby boy. Miki completed the pilgrimage walk in Shikoku (1200km in 47 days) in Japan.



Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $4,600

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $1,200)
  • Food (about $30)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.74/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Due Date: July 12, 2019

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans.  To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • For UW Study Abroad Scholarships fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application to be considered.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Here are some ways to find additional support:

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.



Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You must register for the UW Study Abroad orientation. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current schedule and to register for an orientation session.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once a contract has been submitted. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal form is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.

Additional Info

Non-Refundable UW Study Abroad Fee: $450 Program Fee Balance: $4,150 TOTAL FEES CHARGED: $4,600 Payment Due Date: July 12th, 2019