The Japan Program, located at Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies, is designed to take maximum advantage of the special location and the unique expertise of the faculty. The very content of the courses complements, reinforces, and enhances the intercultural experience. Instead of taking courses that are identical to courses available on their home campuses, students study about Japan while living in Japan.
No prior knowledge of Japanese is required. Students study Japanese language on the appropriate level and take the remainder of their courses in English. In addition to the courses themselves, students learn about Japan and Japanese culture through living with a Japanese family, interacting regularly with a Japanese university student who serves as a language tutor, taking field trips and tours to significant historical and cultural sites, and participating in organized social events.
During the term, students take between 12 and 18 semester credits, including one Japanese language course at the appropriate level (4 credits), 3-4 Japan Studies courses (2 credits each), and 1-2 seminars in Traditional Japanese Arts (1 credit each). Independent Study is also available in art, business, culture, literature, and other areas based on availability and with approval.
Japanese language courses are currently offered at eight levels, ranging from beginning to advanced, and students can choose their course based on their current proficiency. In addition to regular homework assignments and language-laboratory work, the Japanese language course also includes one-on-one tutoring sessions with native-speaking conversation partners to reinforce the classroom studies. The pace of study requires that students be highly motivated and genuinely committed to learning the Japanese language.
All the language classes contain a significant practical component to enable students to get the most out of their experience of living in the native-language environment. The most basic level (Beginning Japanese I) is especially tailored to meet the immediate needs of those students arriving in Japan with little or no knowledge of Japanese language.
The Japan Studies classes will focus on Japanese history, culture, literature, business, management, and society.
The one-credit seminars in Traditional Japanese Arts are intended to deepen the student's appreciation through hands-on experience.
Students with a specific research interest may choose three credits of Independent Study in place of one of the Japan Studies classes. The choice of Independent Study topics can include art, business, culture, and literature, but may be limited by the availability of resources and faculty expertise.
Interested program participants have the option of taking part in the NUFS Conversation Partner program. American students are matched with a Japanese partner for the semester and are notified in the months prior to their arrival in Nagasaki. Partners are able to share contact information to begin chatting via e-mail, Facebook, Skype, etc. to start forming a friendship before they even arrive in Japan.
After starting their exchange online, partners will meet up once the American students arrive in Nagasaki. Students typically meet with their partners once a week for an hour, exchanging in both Japanese and English, helping the Japanese student learn their second language as well. What students do during their time together is up to the pair but common activities range from free conversation to asking them to language exercises to talking about aspects of Japanese culture. It's an exciting opportunity that can help students begin their time in Nagasaki as fully prepared as possible and make the most of their time in Japan.
Students are encouraged to participate in the university's extra-curricular activities (clubs), that are organized by the Japanese students. Clubs range from basketball to tea ceremony to kendo to music to dancing. Many foreign students take advantage of these opportunities and find that it is an excellent way to make friends and practice Japanese.