Study abroad in Japan! – the PROSPECTUS


In the summer of 2023, students at Parkland College will study abroad in Japan. The 16-day program will be dedicated to exploring various parts of Japan, starting with the bustling city of Tokyo, followed by Kyoto, Hiroshima and finally Osaka. The excursion will give you the opportunity to experience Japanese culture at first hand through architecture, environment, cuisine, language, etc.

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The program includes accommodation which will consist of hostels and hotels. One night, however, students will stay in a ryokan, traditional Japanese-style accommodation. A Zen meditation and Japanese calligraphy workshop will also be covered by the program, in addition to transportation costs. Additional charges will be required for certain meals, insurance and other miscellaneous charges.

Students who choose to participate in this study abroad program will be enrolled in Humanities Field Experience (HUM 124), a four-week course focusing on Japanese history and culture. Part of this course will include keeping a journal for the duration of the trip, which will involve responding to various prompts and reflecting on what the students are going through. At the end of the program and upon the student’s return, a final self-reflection project will be required. The humanities course, in turn, will earn students the Global Studies Emphasis designation on their transcript.

Relationships, favorable working qualities and fun are what Professor Sola thinks students will gain from this program. Travis Sola, professor of psychology and educational consultant for the Japanese Culture Club (JCC) will lead the trip. He says he “hopes they {students} will bond with people while we’re there and also with each other. Studying abroad is kind of a bonding experience and people bond very good friendships, lasting friendships thanks to that. Sola admits that the experience of a new country is not without obstacles: “You have the opportunity to challenge yourself to see how you would function in an environment where the rules are a bit different. You have to kind of figure things out. You also work as a team – working together to try to figure things out. You have to be up to it”

Participants will gain a range of cultural knowledge and awareness. To develop this, those interested in Japanese culture or visiting Japan are encouraged to join the Japanese Cultural Club (JCC), a student organization that meets approximately once a week to learn about various aspects of Japanese culture, including but not limited to food, language, history, geography, and contemporary social issues. The club will also host a guest speaker on September 29 who will focus on the Japanese-American experience during World War II.

Prior knowledge of Japanese language and culture is not required to participate in the club or study abroad program; however, a few requirements are mandatory for the latter. First, you must be at least 18 years old, a registered student at Parkland, and have proof of your COVID vaccination. Completion of 12 credits of coursework, along with a college composition course such as ENG 101, is also an essential academic component required before departure.

Funding is an important factor in the program; fortunately, there are different options. The Gilman International Fellowship is available for Pell Fellowship recipients. The Honors Program offers scholarships under the Study Abroad Project, which can potentially offer up to $500, as well as other Honors Projects. Financial aid is another resource that may be able to provide coverage; this information can be obtained through a financial aid officer. Two information sessions took place this month in room D105, but it is not too late to participate. Applications are due later this fall, November 11, including a college transcript, faculty recommendations, and an essay. Pre-departure meetings will take place later this semester and during the spring semester. The trip should start on May 13 or 15! For those interested, Parkland Study Abroad Coordinator Jody Littleton or Travel Manager Travis Sola are on hand!


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