In Summer 2023, Parkland College students will be studying abroad in Japan. The 16-day program will be spent exploring various parts of Japan, beginning in the fast-paced city of Tokyo, followed by Kyoto, Hiroshima, and finally, Osaka. The excursion will provide the opportunity to experience Japanese culture first-hand through architecture, environment, cuisine, language, and more.
The program includes lodging which will consist of hostels and hotels. One night, though, students will be staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style accommodation. A Zen meditation and Japanese calligraphy workshop will also be covered through the program, in addition to transportation fares. Additional costs will be necessary for some meals, insurance, and other miscellaneous fees.
Students who choose to participate in this study abroad program will be enrolled in Humanities Field Experience (HUM 124), a four-week course pertaining to Japanese history and culture. Part of this course will include maintaining a journal throughout the duration of the trip, which will consist of responding to various prompts and reflecting on what the students are experiencing. Upon the conclusion of the program and the student’s return, a final, self-reflection project will be in order. The humanities course will, in turn, earn students the Global Studies Emphasis Designation on their transcript.
Connections, favorable work qualities, and fun are what Professor Sola believes students will be able to take away from this program. Travis Sola, professor of psychology and faculty advisor for the Japanese Culture Club (JCC) will be leading the trip. He says he is “hoping they {students} will make connections with people while we are there and also connections with each other. Studying abroad is a bonding kind of experience and people make really good friendships, long-lasting friendships through that.” Sola admits experiencing a new country is not without its obstacles, “You get a chance to sort of challenge yourself to see how you would function in an environment where the rules are a little different. You have to kind of figure things out. You’re also working as a team- working together to try and figure things out. You have to rise to the occasion”
Participants will gain an array of cultural knowledge and awareness. To expand on this, it is encouraged that those who have an interest in Japanese culture or visiting Japan join the Japanese Cultural Club (JCC), a student organization that comes together about once a week to learn about various aspects of Japanese culture including but not limited to food, language, history, geography, and contemporary social problems. The club will also be hosting a guest speaker on September 29th that focuses on the Japanese American experience during World War II.
Prior knowledge of the Japanese language and culture is not necessary to participate in the club or the study abroad program; though, a few requirements are obligatory for the latter. Firstly, you must be at least 18 years old, a registered Parkland student, and possess proof of a COVID vaccination. The completion of 12-course credits, as well as a college composition course such as ENG 101, is also an academic essential needed before the time of departure.
Funding is a significant factor in the program; fortunately, there are various options. The Gilman International Scholarship is available to recipients of a Pell grant. The Honors Program offers awards through the Study Abroad Project, which can potentially offer up to $500, along with other honors projects. Financial aid is another resource that may be able to provide coverage; this information can be reached through a financial aid officer. Two informational sessions were held this month in Room D105, but it is not too late to participate. Applications are due later this fall on November 11th, entailing a college transcript, faculty recommendations, and an essay. Pre-departure meetings will take place later this semester and on into the spring semester. The trip is set to begin on either May 13th or 15th! For those interested, Parkland’s study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton or trip leader Travis Sola are available for contact!
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