Pitt in Japan

This program is on pause for 2022 but it is expected to return in summer 2023. 

This Panther program is designed for students with little to no Japanese language training but who are fascinated by Japanese culture and who want to earn 6 credits in a packed 5-week summer program. Your experience will be guided by faculty from Pitt’s East Asian Languages and Literatures department and by faculty and staff from our host, Konan University CUBE campus. Learn how to navigate the local commuter trains and make friends with Konan CUBE students by participating in the buddy program. Discover the ancient cities of Kyoto (former imperial capital) and Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage site a short train ride from the port city of Kobe.

What You'll Accomplish: 
  • You will develop a deeper understanding of modern and historical Japan beyond manga and anime
  • You will acquire survival Japanese language skills or build upon your existing skills
  • You will get to know Kansai and interact with local students 

Kobe is a safe, friendly, and manageable city with a history of openness to foreign visitors. Its location by the mountains and the sea give it unique beauty and charm. Kansai International Airport is an hour away and train connections to Osaka and Kyoto are easy to manage.You will study at Konan University's CUBE campus beside the Nishinomiya Gardens shopping mall.

Where You'll Live: 
  • ​You will live in clean, modern single-sex dormitories with fellow Pitt students and local students
  • All rooms are singles; toilet and shower areas are shared
  • You will commute from the dormitories to campus on safe and reliable local trains (transportation pass included)
  • Your commute can be an hour--this is a normal commute for students in Japan
What You'll Study: 
  • ​You will enroll in the mandatory core course JPNSE 0006: Japan: its People and Culture
  • You will enroll in an elective course JPNSE 0007: Special Topics: Contemporary Japan and its Environment
  • Your courses may count toward a UCIS Area Studies Certificate
Japan: Its People and Culture (JPNSE0006)
Contemporary Japan and its Environment (JPNSE0007)

This course seeks to understand contemporary Japan through the lens of its environment. The syllabus brings broad political, social, and cultural questions to bear on selected aspects of Japan’s environment. Some of the issues discussed (e.g. Minamata) have been confronted and largely resolved while others (e.g. Fukushima) remain major challenges. The first half of the course focuses on the politics, socioeconomics, and culture that undergird the latest Japanese discourses and practices regarding “nature” in various manifestations. The second half of the course examines the history and current condition of the country’s industrial pollution as well as their amelioration. Overall, the course encourages students to critically reflect on the different ways Japanese society deals with the country’s alleged “natural beauty” and “inherent vulnerability.”

  • Konan University CUBE campus
  • Faculty from Pitt's Department of East Asian Languages and LIteratures will teach core course
  • Local Konan University faculty will teach elective courses
Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Leslie Ann Smedley

Hello Students! I am Leslie Ann Smedley, Senior Advisor and look forward to helping Arts and Sciences students to identify, apply for, and thrive in the study abroad program that fits each students’ academic/linguistic/cultural needs. I have been in the field of International Education for many years, including the last 10 in the Global Experiences Office. I am a Pittsburgher who studied abroad in Strasbourg, France while an undergrad and haven’t stopped travelling since. In addition to being passionate about discovering new places, I love to cook, garden and read. I look forward to helping you to achieve your goals!

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Log in to Pathways or use the Navigate app.
  • Select Appointments > Schedule an Appointment
  • Select Pitt Global as the Care Unit.
  • Select Study Abroad Virtual Advising as the Location
  • Select Study Abroad Program Specific Questions as the service
  • Select my name and find a time that works for you!

Having trouble or don't see a time that works for you? Just email me!

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Charles Exley

Charles Exley is Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Film and Associate Director of the Film and Media Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.  He coordinates the biannual Japan Documentary Film Award, held in conjunction with Pittsburgh’s Asian Film Festival (now called Screenshots).  He has directed Pitt in Japan two times.  His Study Abroad course (Japan: its Culture and People) introduces survival Japanese language skills to students (making friends, eating, drinking, ordering, and shopping) and provides a topical overview of the amazing history and culture of Kobe and the surrounding Kansai region.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,656 $4,856
Program Fee $443 $443
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $5,399 $5,599

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare $1,500 - $2,000
Personal Expenses $1,000
Academic Materials $150

The amounts above are for the 2019-2020 academic year and should be used as estimates only. Pricing for summer 2022 will be posted and announced in the fall term.

What's Included: 

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for 6 credits
  • Housing in single-sex dorms for five weeks
  • Commuter pass, depending on dorm location
  • 2 meals a day for six days a week
  • Health Insurance
  • Orientation and Farewell parties
  • Commuter Subsidy (depending on location of residence hall)
  • One extra-curricular excursion 


When You'll Go: 

Program dates: May 30, 2022-July 3, 2022

What Else You Need to Know: 

This is the program for you if you want to experience daily life as local student do in Japan. If you have from 0-2 semesters of Japanese language prior to participation, you will find a good fit. This is not a language-intensive program and no prior knowledge of Japanese is required. General education requirements fulfilled: Historical Analysis and/or Specific Geographic Region. Speak to Program Manager for more information.