The Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU) was established in 1989 as a consortium of fifteen public universities in Michigan seeking to create a more sustainable and successful study abroad experience in Japan for American students. A product of the strong sister-state relationship between the State of Michigan and Shiga Prefecture, JCMU's programs are dedicated to developing the bond between the United States and Japan through academic programs, research exchanges, business development activities, and grassroots social, cultural and intellectual interactions. In addition to serving the fifteen JCMU consortium member institutions, JCMU welcomes undergraduate and graduate students from colleges and universities worldwide, visiting scholars from across the globe, K-12 teachers and students and professionals from a variety of fields. In its short history, JCMU has grown to offer programs throughout the year, including academic-year, semester-long, May short programs, summer semester and culture/career hybrid programs.
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Location & Related Considerations
The JCMU Center consists of a beautiful and spacious academic building, an adjoining residence hall facility, and a lakefront garden. The academic building contains classrooms, a library, two computer assisted learning laboratories, Apple Hall (the main lobby and lounge), the Shahakunage Room (a traditional Japanese-style room), conference rooms, faculty and administrative offices and a restaurant. The residential building contains apartment suites designed to accommodate a total of 52 students, live-in faculty and administrative staff. Apartment suites have two single bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. There are also two apartments specially designed to be fully accessible to students with disabilities. The building also contains a computer lab, a fitness room, laundry facilities and a recreation room.
JCMU is located in Hikone, a city of approximately 100,000 people situated on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. Hikone is a castle town which traces its origins to the early seventeenth century, when a cluster of samurai residences and commercial establishments grew up at the foot of the castle. The original castle buildings survive, as do many of the traditional industries. Located off the beaten tourist track, Hikone has preserved much of its charm and traditional values while being a 45-90 minute train ride away from the large cosmopolitan cities of Kyoto, Nagoya, and Osaka. Given its location, students and visitors have easy access to a wide range of cultural resources.
Shiga Prefecture is located in the center of Honshu, the largest island of the Japanese archipelago. Shiga has long been important strategically and economically as a crossroads of the major east-west and north-south transportation routes. It is important culturally and historically as a province immediately adjacent to the ancient capital city of Kyoto. Shiga is the site of innumerable temples and private villas built over the centuries by members of the court and military aristocracy. Today, the prefectural government is positioning Shiga as an important national tourist and high technology region to foster future economic growth, while preserving the natural beauty for which the region is famous.
Accommodation for Disabilities/Special Needs:
Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact Disability Services for Students at (269) 387-2116 ahead of their term abroad. A disability determination must be made by this office before any accommodations are provided by the study abroad course's instructor. For more information, visit WMU Disability Services for Students
Safety and Security:
Students are expected to research their country of destination to learn more about issues related to safety, security, and physical and mental health. For general information about Japan, consult The CIA's World Factbook
and the U.S. State Department
. If the state department has designated any travel destination as level 3 or higher, or if the travel destination(s) contain regions designated level 3 or higher, participants must sign a WMU travel waiver and complete an individual safety plan prior to travel.
For specific information related to safety and security, consult OSAC
(United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security). For advice concerning health issues and related concerns, consult Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
. Finally, once students receive a message that they have been enrolled, they can also use resources provided by WMU's international Health and Emergency Insurance provider, GeoBlue
The following general comments are derived from OSAC: Even though Japan’s national crime rate is well below the U.S. national average, crimes do occur. In Tokyo, the Roppongi, Shinjuku (especially in Kabuki-cho), Shibuya, and Ikebukuro neighborhoods are moderate-risk crime areas for foreigners. Crime in these areas is commonly related to its bars, clubs, and massage parlors. Japanese crime syndicates (Yakuza) and other organized crime organizations sometimes use nightlife establishments as fronts for their criminal operations, running various schemes to defraud customers. All personnel should use caution in entertainment and nightlife districts throughout Japan.
Other factors that should be taken into consideration when traveling through Tokyo and Japan include potential credit fraud, petty crime such as pickpocketing, and Japan being a left-hand traffic country.
Infrastructure measures, construction safety standards, licensing, and regulatory procedures vary by country. Try to avoid travel in unsafe vehicles on unsafe roads, and exercise caution when using stairways, ramps, and handrails. Take extra precaution when hiking in areas with poor trail geography and infrastructure, especially if guardrails and other safety features are missing or dilapidated. Bring and use bug spray to help protect against insect-borne illnesses, especially from mosquitos and ticks. Protests occur frequently on university campuses and in public spaces; avoid these protests and refrain from engaging with (including photographing) the demonstrations. In addition to consulting the above-mentioned governmental agencies, review the WMU website, especially the section entitled “Health and Safety Abroad
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Good Academic Standing
Minimum GPA of 2.5
No previous Japanese required
WMU credit will be awarded for courses successfully completed on this program with prior approval of the student's academic advisor, academic advisors in departments outside of the student's major department (if the student plans to take classes outside of his/her major), and the Haenicke Institute for Global Education. This approval is obtained by completing the Course Pre-approval Form available from the HIGE. Students are urged to work closely with academic advisors and HIGE staff to plan a course of study allowing for steady progress toward their degree.
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Cost & Financial Aid
Students should bring a copy of the program budget when they meet with their financial aid advisor to discuss funding for study abroad.
Notes regarding Summer Budget Information:
Summer II budget is for the Summer Intensive Language & Culture program. For students interested in a different summer II program at JCMU, please make an appointment with your study abroad specialist to create your personal budget for each program.
The program fee includes:
Summer I budget is for the Teaching English in Japan program. For students interested in a different summer I program at JCMU, please make an appointment with your study abroad specialist to create your personal budget for each program.
tuition, housing, program required excursions/field trips, books/course materials, WMU international health insurance, and Japanese National Health Insurance.
The program fee does not include:
meals, airfare, locatl travel, passport fee, immunizations, visa, and personal expenses.
Costs not included in the program fee are estimates and may vary according to individual needs and preferences. This budget does not include activities which are not part of the academic program, such as personal travel, entertainment, shopping, etc.
Program fees are subject to adjustment due to changes in actual exchange rates or other factors. In addition, programs may be modified or cancelled in the event of insufficient enrollment. Program dates are subject to slight adjustment by the home/host university.
For tax purposes, the university requires the program fee billing be divided into qualified
(expenses and fees related to the class or program) and non-qualified
(other costs). The total program fee equals the program commitment fee plus qualified and non-qualified expenses added together.
Program commitment fee
+ Qualified (expenses and fees related to the class or program)
+ Non-qualified (other costs)
= Total program fee
Program commitment fee:
This is a portion of the program fee which is billed after the student clicks the "Commit" button to secure their place in the program. The remainder of the program fee is billed to the WMU student account for the semester of enrollment in study abroad credits. The program commitment fee is due within 30 days once charged to the WMU student account
. After 30 days, per university accounts policy, holds will be placed on past-due balances.
Students applying for this program may be eligible for the President's Grant for Study Abroad.
: Disbursement of financial aid may not coincide with the start date of the program abroad, so plan ahead! Some out-of-pocket costs may occur prior to receiving financial aid for the semester, such as the program commitment fee, passport, airfare, immunizations, visa or residence permit fees (if applicable). These costs vary by program and WMU Study Abroad Specialists are available to answer questions about the program budget.
Students eligible for federal or state financial aid may use their awards for studying abroad. After a student has been accepted to the program, they must complete required paperwork with WMU Financial Aid to apply financial aid to the program costs. It is the student's responsibility to complete the paperwork prior to departure and to maintain compliance with financial aid regulations while studying abroad (i.e., remain enrolled full-time). Non-WMU students must apply for financial aid through their home university.
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JCMU Residence Hall apartments or homestay (living with a host family). Interested students must apply to live with a host family (placements are contingent upon the availability of a suitable host family). Visit JCMU's Housing website
for more information.
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Fall Semester 2018
Depart for Japan - September 2, 2018 (Sun) (You may need to depart earlier depending on your flight itinerary)
Spring Semester 2019
Arrival/Move-in - September 3, 2018 (Mon) (First day JCMU-provided housing is available for fall and academic year students)
Orientation - September 4, 2018 (Tue)
Placement Test - September 5, 2018 (Wed)
First Day of Class - September 6, 2018 (Thu)
National Holiday - No Classes - September 17, 2018 (Mon)
National Holiday - No Classes - September 24, 2018 (Mon)
National Holiday - No Classes - October 8, 2018 (Mon)
National Holiday - No Classes - November 23, 2018 (Fri)
Japanese Presentations - December 7, 2018 (Fri)
Japanese Final Exam - December 13, 2018 (Thu)
Closing Ceremony - December 14, 2018 (Fri)
Move-out/Departure - Dec 15, 2018 (Sat) (Last day JCMU-provided housing is available unless participating in the full academic year program)
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Depart for Japan - January 6, 2019 (Sun) (You may need to depart earlier depending on your flight itinerary)
Arrival/Move-in - January 7, 2019 (Mon) (First day JCMU-provided housing is available for spring semester students)
Orientation - January 8, 2019 (Tue)
Placement Test - January 9, 2019 (Wed)
First Day of Class - January 10, 2019 (Thu)
National Holiday - No Classes - January 14, 2019 (Mon)
National Holiday - No Classes - February 11, 2019 (Mon)
National Holiday - No Classes - March 21, 2019 (Thu)
Japanese Presentations - April 12, 2019 (Fri)
Japanese Final Exam - April 17, 2019 (Wed)
Closing Ceremony - April 19, 2019 (Fri)
Move-out/Departure - April 20, 2019 (Sat) (Last day JCMU-provided housing is available)
Summer 2019 program dates will be announced later. See JCMU’s Programs website
for more information.
Host Institution Information (external links)
Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU)
Country Information (external links)
Japan - Lonely Planet
Shiga-ken - Lonely Planet
Country Specific Information - Japan
Culturegram - Japan
VISA (external links)
Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit
Program faculty directors:
Professor Jeffrey Angles
Professor of Japanese Literature & Translation Studies
Professor Rika Saito
Associate Professor of Japanese Language & Literature
Professor Carlos Pimentel
Assistant Professor of Japanese Language
WMU Study Abroad:
Study Abroad Specialist
2425E Ellsworth Hall
Phone: (269) 387-5890
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