2018 Honors in Japan Exploration Seminar

Constructing Identity: Comparing National Narratives in Japan and the U.S.

2018 Honors in Japan Exploration Seminar

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Constructing Identity: Comparing National Narratives in Japan and the U.S.

Program Dates: Aug 26-Sep 16, 2018 (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).

The program will visit Hiroshima and Kyoto during the second week of the program.

Information Sessions

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 3:30 (UW1-103 UW Bothell)

Thurs, Jan. 18, 3:30-4:30 p.m., MGH 211
Tues, Jan. 23, 12:00-1:00 p.m., MGH 211
Thurs, Feb. 1, 12:30-1:30 p.m., MGH 211

Program Credit/Course Descriptions

HONORS 384 (VLPA/I&S/ “W” and “DIVERSITY” credit) 5 credits

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

This three-week interdisciplinary course will explore the complex and shifting web of narratives surrounding Japanese national identity from a variety of perspectives, including history, politics, race, gender, age, religion, art, culture, and food. Students will reflect on Japanese and American commonalities and differences relating to identity construction, both historically and currently. Students will attend lectures by faculty and have opportunities to meet current students studying at Waseda University. Students are expected to maintain a research and reflective portfolio and will present their final paper and reflection at the end of the program. Course components include: pre-departure readings and lectures; classroom time at National Youth Center (NYC) and Waseda University; excursions within Tokyo as well as to Hiroshima and Kyoto; readings, assignments, research, blog posts; reflection; individual check-ins with instructors; and free time for exploration.

Program Leadership

Program Director:

David Goldstein is a principal lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at UW Bothell. Dr. Goldstein teaches classes in film, ethnic literature, and American culture: race, ethnicity, and immigration. David has researched and taught in Japan, collaborating with colleagues at Waseda University, Tokyo.

Christopher Lowy is a Ph.D. student in Modern Japanese Literature at the University of Washington. He is fluent in Japanese and has lived in Japan for a number of years.

Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $3,850 (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

Program excursions to Hiroshima and Kyoto are part of program fee.

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 Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable UW Study Abroad Fee $450 October 12, 2018
Program Fee Balance $3,850 October 12, 2018

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 2018 Gilman International Scholarship application will open in mid-January 2018. Applications are due March 6, 2018 by 11:59pm (Central Time) and the certifying advisor deadline is March 13.

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 are housed in dorms at the Olympic Complex in Tokyo.

Application Process

This program is open to students in the Honors Program and Asian Languages and Literature as well as 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.

There are no prereqs or language requirements, although the program directors will encourage students to learn basic words and phrases in Japanese.

Application: Apply Now!

Deadline: Feb 15, 2018