International Education

Environmental Studies and Sustainability in Japan 2014

APPLY FOR SUMMER 2014!  To apply, students must use the common study abroad application (including the supplementary materials: study abroad statement, transcript request form, faculty recommendation, personal recommendation, and advisor form) which is due by 4 p.m. on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2013 to the Office of International Education.

Are you interested in Japan and Sustainability?  Students approved for this program will spend three-and-a-half weeks in Japan, based at Tokyo International Univeristy (TIU), and go on many excursions to study traditional agriculture and forestry practices as well as contemporary recycling and reuse policies.  This summer study abroad program will run from late May to early June, allowing students to participate in other activities later in the summer.  Students will earn 1 credit in interdisciplinary studies (IDS 344), and the course carries an “Understanding Society” MOI, and a Service Learning designation. This experience is designed for students interested in Asia generally, Japan specifically, and Environmental Studies. 

Pending approval by appropriate departments, this credit may be applied to interdisciplinary majors such as Asian Studies, Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies, International Studies, and Environmental Studies.  History majors may also seek credit toward a major with an Asian concentration. There will be a language component to this summer course: Beginning level classes for students with no background in Japanese; and Intermediate level with vocabulary and exercises focusing on environmental and sustainability issues for students with some background.

Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Partial scholarships may be awarded to outstanding applicants who demonstrate financial need.

  • WU Credit:  Earn 1.0 WU credit, IDS 334: Field Studies: Environmental Studies and Sustainability in Japan, US MOI.
  • Instructors: Profs. Joe Bowersox and Ron Loftus
  • Information Session:  Please see for study abroad information sessions

Program Cost:  Tentatively $3800 for Willamette students though a portion of the program costs may be covered by a grant from the Luce Foundation leaving students with an approximate cost of under $2,000 plus airfare.  The program cost includes WU tuition, lodging, some meals, local transportation, travel insurance, museum fees and field trips.  Program cost DOES NOT include passport costs or transportation to and from Japan (est. $1,700).

Program Dates:  May 27 – June 20, 2014. Students will need to travel on May 26 but will be given specific instructions after acceptance.

Program Description:   A three-and-a-half week course conducted in Japan in collaboration with our sister-institution, Tokyo International University, and as a part of the LIASE—Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment—Project.  Formal activities will include classes in both Japanese language and Japanese environmental history and contemporary environmental issues.  In addition to readings and lectures, students will take part in fieldtrips and excursions to libraries and museums, municipal and prefectural offices, and other relevant sustainability-related sites where sustainability-related community activities take place, forests, etc.

Program Location:  Kawagoe, Japan (location of TIU) with field trips and excursions

All students will be required to make a $300 deposit upon acceptance.  For more information about the deposit or funding, contact the Office of International Education (

Questions?  Please contact Professors Ron Loftus, Japanese and Joe Bowersox, Earth and Environmental Science or the Office of International Education.