2017 Honors in Japan Exploration Seminar

Construction of Japanese Identity: a comparative look at national narratives in Japan and U.S.

Japan exploration seminar 2017 mini poster

Information Sessions

12:30, January 5, MGH 211

12:00, February 21, MGH 211

About the Program

Program Dates: August 28-September 18 (EFS Period)

Students will study in Tokyo, Japan and will have access to Waseda University’s network. Students will learn about Japanese history, culture, and arts as a foundation to the program focus on identity construction and citizenship policy in Japan and the U.S.

There will be visits to monuments and memorials such as the controversial Yasukuni War Memorial and the Edo-Tokyo Museum.  The program will also investigate the changing identity of Japan (what remains and what is shifting) through the eyes of Japanese youth. Site visits include Harajuku and Shinjuku districts and there will be an excursion via express train to the nearby shrines and temples of Nikko and Kamakura (and possibly Hakone).


Program Credit/Course Descriptions

HONORS 384 (VLPA/I&S) 5 credits
“Construction of Japanese Identity: a comparative look at national narratives in Japan and the U.S.” 

The recent elections and the identity politics that emerged in the U.S. are foundational text for investigation of Japan’s construction of race and gender related to national identity. Students will reflect on Japanese and U.S. commonalities and differences relating to identity construction and migration/immigration policy, both historically and currently. Students will attend lectures by Waseda University faculty and graduate students as well as work with current Waseda students. Students are expected to maintain a research and reflective portfolio and will present their final paper and reflection at the end of the program.

Program Leadership

Julie Villegas is Associate Director of the University Honors Program and the Lead for International Programs in Honors. She is also affiliate assistant professor of English. Dr. Villegas has developed and directed programs abroad for over ten years. Her research focus is in the area of border studies and critical mixed race identity politics. In 2014 she was the recipient of a Japan Fulbright Fellowship for International Educators. 

Kristi Govella, UW Honors Program alum, currently works for the College of Security Studies at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) as an Associate Professor in August 2016. Her primary areas of expertise are Japanese politics, political economy, Asian regional institutional architecture, and the relationship between trade and security. Much of her research examines the intersection of comparative politics and international relations in Asia. Dr. Govella is the coeditor of two books: Linking Trade and Security: Evolving Institutions and Strategies in Asia, Europe, and the United States (2012) and Responding to a Resurgent Russia: Russian Policy and Responses from the European Union and the United States (2011). Her work has also appeared in Asian Survey and Issues and Insights. Her current book project analyzes the political strategies of foreign firms in Japan across sectors and across time. Prior to joining the faculty at DKI-APCSS, Dr. Govella completed her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught courses on Japanese politics, political economy, and research methods. From 2010 to 2013, she was a visiting research fellow at the University of Tokyo and Waseda University, during which time she conducted extensive field research on Japanese economic and security policy. 

Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $3,450 (students do not pay tuition; program fee and concurrent enrollment fee only)

Average Airplane Ticket: $1,700

Out of pocket food costs, approximate: $30-40/day

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment TypePayment AmountPayment Due Date
Non-Refundable UW Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $3,450 October 13, 2017

Making the program affordable

The Honors Program is passionate about study abroad and the incredible impact it can have on a student’s life.  An education grounded in a global context provides life long skills and lifelong memories. Studying abroad deepens study at home and provides a foundation for expanded reflection and self-growth, all core tenets of the Honors Program. We want everyone to experience study abroad. Don’t assume you can’t afford to study outside of the U.S. Here are resources to help you get started on your global adventures!

Honors Program Scholarships

The Honors Program offers a number of scholarships for current Honors Program students. These scholarship funds may be used for UW approved study abroad programs or exchanges. Students may apply beginning in January (deadline is April 1).

Study Abroad Scholarships at UW

The UW offers several scholarships to support students interested in studying abroad whether through a faculty led program or an exchange program. A few opportunities include GO! and Fritz.

Visit the The Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity’s Global Opportunities website to learn about more scholarship opportunities.

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

The summer 2017 Gilman International Scholarship application will open in mid-January 2017. Applications are due March 7, 2017 by 11:59pm (Central Time) and the certifying advisor deadline is March 14.

There are several outside resources for study abroad scholarships. Visit the UW’s Study Abroad Scholarship page for more information on scholarship support as well as information about GET funds and how you may apply the GET to your study abroad costs.

Using Financial Aid for Study Abroad

You may find more information about using your existing financial aid for study abroad on the Study Abroad Office’s Financial Aid webpage.  In general, all financial aid awarded may be used to support study abroad. Exceptions to this include tuition waivers, work-study awards, or scholarships that are specific about using the award for tuition (although there may be flexibility with some scholarships, please check with the financial aid office). Tuition waivers and work-study are never allowed for study abroad.

Revision of Need

You may also turn in a “Revision of Need” form with the Financial Aid Office if you have a FAFSA on file.  Once you are accepted to a study abroad program, visit the Study Abroad Office to obtain a budget for your study abroad program then complete the Revision Request and turn in both the budget and the revision request to the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Financial Aid Study Abroad Funding Website for more information about applying for Summer quarter financial aid and for information about Exploration Seminar financial aid timeline (different than A or B term financial aid disbursement timeline).

You may also contact Honors Program Director Julie Villegas (villegas@uw.edu) if you would like to discuss additional resources and strategies.


Students will be housed in dorms at the Olympic Complex in Tokyo or in Youth Hostel centrally located in Tokyo.

Application Process

This program is open to students in the Honors Program and also students across campus. The program is focused on recruiting a diverse group of students, especially those students who have an interest in global leadership and Japanese/U.S. relations. 

The program welcomes students of all majors, freshmen-seniors.  Freshmen are especially encouraged to apply. 

Acceptance into the program will be decided based on application materials, interviews, and student's demonstrated motivation to challenge themselves intellectually across academic disciplines and cultures and to work collaboratively in small groups.

Apply through the study abroad website. APPLY HERE!

Deadline: March 1, 2017