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LAS: EALC Year in Japan
Kobe, Japan (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Fall Semester
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Budget Sheets Academic Year
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
Host Family
Non-Illinois Student Options:
All non-Illinois students
Illinois Sponsor:
Credit or Not for Credit:
For credit
Program Description:

-----The Illinois Center in Japan
for Global Learning and Engagement-----


Information Meeting
OCTOBER 23 (Thursday) at 4PM (2090B Foreign Languages Building)


Program Overview

Students who choose to study in Kobe (Konan University) want something different. They thought about studying in Tokyo but want an alternative perspective. They recognize the presence and influence of Japanese culture not only in the U.S. but also in the world, and they recognize the personal and professional growth that will come from learning more about Japanese culture, language and society.  They know that they will benefit from studying in a school with small class sizes, a strong support network and the Resident Director (from UIUC and other American consortium universities).  And they know that they will put their academic and interpersonal skills to test in a program site with caring host families, diverse volunteering opportunities, and very few English speakers.  They know they can’t know real Japan if they live in a dormitory or an apartment.  They know their host families are patient to their Japanese so that they can improve their Japanese every day in natural settings. 
You can study abroad at Konan University in Kobe during the academic year (September to May).

Learn more visiting our homepage!

Check out this promotional video for the Program!
Quick Links

What is an Illinois Center ?
The City of Kobe
Academic Environment
Onsite Support
Returned Study Abroad Student Reflections
Additional Program Resources
Application Process
Contact Information

General Study Abroad Information

Program Cost and Advance Fees
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Health, Safety, Pre-Departure
Passport/Visa Information
Withdrawal, Change, and Cancellation Policy



What is an Illinois Center?

Located in various countries around the world, Illinois Centers for Global Learning and Engagement represent the premier sites for study abroad developed by the University of Illinois over the past forty years. At each Center, you encounter a personalized and guided learning experience introducing you to new languages, cultures, and academic areas.
The Illinois Center in Japan is the "Year in Japan Program" which has been administered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 40 years.  600 students participated in the Year in Japan Program and many of them are working in Japan or worldwide.

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The City of Kobe

Kobe is located in the Kansai area, the middle part of Japan which includes Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. It is the sixth largest city in Japan with a population of l.5 million and is an international port city.  The campus of Konan University is 20 minutes from downtown Kobe, 30 minutes from downtown Osaka, and less than an hour and a half from Kyoto and  Nara, ancient capitals of Japan.  Combining the new and the old, this area of Japan provides a stimulating backdrop for the study of Japan.  Students will be able to visit all eleven sites by themselves with very modest cost because Kobe is the center of western Japan

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Academic Environment
Where you will study
The program was established in 1976 on the campus of Konan University and has served over 600 students from a number of different American universities. The program is administered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a consortium of American universities that includes the University of Arizona, the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and the University of Pittsburgh.
The program is housed in the Konan International Exchange Center of Konan University (KIECC) , a small liberal arts university of 10,000 students in a suburban district of Kobe where a couple of dozen universities and colleges are also located. 


Courses are given full University of Illinois academic credit. Registration in the program is counted toward the University's residency requirement for UIUC students. 

    The academic program is designed to develop language skills and to explore facets of Japanese society and culture.  During each fifteen-week semester, students take intensive language training and two courses in Japanese studies. Japanese Language Training----10 hours/each semester.

The Japanese language program emphasizes the development of speaking and reading skills. Language classes meet two hours per day, five days a week. Teachers are native speakers with graduate training in Japanese linguistics or the teaching of Japanese as a second language.The ultimate purpose of the Japanese course is to help students communicate fluently with Japanese people in natural conversational situations. To achieve this goal, reading, writing, listening, and speaking Japanese are given equal emphasis in the course.

Japan Studies Course----6 hours/each semester (300 level).
The Japanese studies courses taught in English provide a broad introduction to Japanese society and culture. Japanese studies courses each meet three hours each week. Courses change somewhat each year, but are usually offered in the following areas:  Art History, Sociology, Law, Anthropology, Linguistics, Business, Religion, Economics, History, etc.  For students with an adequate level of language proficiency, regular Konan University courses are also available. Where possible, courses include field trips to relevant sites. Recently, classes have visited law courts, corporations, and the historical sites in Kyoto and Nara. Faculty for the Japanese studies courses are selected from the faculty of Konan University and from American scholars residing in Japan.  Details will be provided once you are accepted to a program.

Class size

YIJ Program offers very personalized instruction, with classes limited to around fifteen students. Professors and local instructors will teach your courses, incorporating their academic background and life experiences into their teaching. One of the strongest components of the program is that you have the time and space to develop a connection with your instructors. The small class sizes and the friendly atmosphere of all Japan studies and Japanese language classes at Konan University allow you to feel comfortable and secure. This base of support allows you to focus your attention on making the most of your classes and improving your Japanese greatly.

Three field trips (two to three days) are included in the program fee.

These field trips allow students to visit several sites in western Japan. In Japan there are eleven World Cultural Heritage properties. Seven are in western Japan. 
In recent years, some of the field trips have taken students to visit these UNESCO World Cultural Heritage places such as Mt. Koya, Ise, Hiroshima, Itsukushima, etc.  Mt. Koya  is one of  Japanese most important Buddhist sites.  Where possible, Japan studies courses include one day field trips to relevant sites  including other World cultural Heritage places such as Kyoto and Nara, ancient capitals in Japan.
Students will be able to visit all eleven sites by themselves with very modest cost because Kobe is the center of western Japan.
You can also travel by yourself during breaks (winter, spring and national holidays).  Do you want to go to Tokyo alone?  Shuttle buses from Kobe to Tokyo are available every day.  It starts from $30!


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Onsite Support

The Year in Japan Program is the only Illinois Center in Japan so that it has an onsite resident director whose purpose is to support you both inside and outside of the classroom during your time abroad.

Your resident director during your time abroad  is one of faculty members from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Hawaii, University of Arizona or University of Pittsburgh, and teaches one course each semester as well as  leads the two-day, on-site orientation and program oversees program field trips.  Resident Director also works with a coordinator of host family, maintaining regular contact to ensure that communication is flowing.  Thanks to RD and Konan International Exchange Center’s staff members, it is common for students to form a tight and lasting bond with their host families.

Prof. Hayashi (UUC Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures 2008-09 Director)

    In 2008-09 Year-in-Japan Program hosted 51 students from the US (including 12 from University of Illinois), Canada, the UK, France, and Germany.  I am happy to note as resident director that the students are all truly enjoying the opportunities to learn the language, live with a host family, become friends with Japanese college students, and explore the culture and society.  The staff at Konan International Exchange Center are extremely friendly and helpful, and they make every effort to make the students' year at Konan a most fruitful and memorable one.  Kobe is one of the best places to spend a year in Japan because it is a beautiful port city with a unique combination of nature (ocean, mountains) and an urban atmosphere.  Being able to easily access many cultural sites in Kyoto and Osaka is also a big advantage.  I sincerely hope that you will consider participating in the Year-in-Japan Program at Konan University.  It can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you.
Prof. Elizabeth Oyler (UIUC Department of EALC/2012-13 Director)


Thank you very much for your interest in the Konan University Year-in-Japan Program! It’s a unique opportunity to live in the heart of Japan, close to the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto as well as the thriving international cities of Osaka and Kobe. There’s hiking in the mountains and shopping for the latest styles available just minutes from campus, and we’re very close to numerous UNESCO World Heritage You can participate in campus clubs ranging from martial arts, to band, to dance: our program creates lots of opportunities for students to be part of campus life, a feature that is unusual in study-abroad programs in Japan. Check out information about additional features of our program by visiting our website: or You can find out more about a number of other additional features of the program: our field trips, an optional Area Studies Trip to another Asian country. We hope you will look over this information carefully and also take a look at our website as you prepare your application. I am also available to answer any questions you might have, as are your Study Abroad advisors on campus and the students from your home institution who have already participated in YIJ. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch! I also wanted to draw your attention to our home stay program. Reaching back almost 40 years, YIJ’s home stay program is extremely well organized and offers daily support for both students and their home stay families. All of our families are located within reasonable commuting distance from campus, and many are veterans of more than 5 years. In other words, both they and the staff at Konan are experienced and eager to help you have a fuller experience in Japan by spending the year living with a family. We will continue to work with you and your hosts to make sure your experience is as full and rich as possible. We are very happy that you are considering spending the year with us.
Prof. Oyler noted that, "It's amazing how many of the students return to Japan to visit their families again. And now, with new technology, they stay in touch all the time."

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You will be matched with a host family for your stay in Kobe/Osaka. We select a family for you based on your answers to a housing questionnaire that you will receive following your acceptance to the program. Life with a host family is likely one of the most full experiences that you will have while abroad, with all of its ups and downs. This is a key opportunity to experience an intimate side of how people in Japan live their lives. In addition, life with a new family in a new place challenges you to develop your communication skills, flexibility, and patience with both others and yourself -- this is what studying abroad is all about!


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Returned Study Abroad Student Reflections

Scanned PA Sheets

Video of returnee on experience

Contact former Study Abroad students
Having trouble deciding on a location? Unsure about what to pack, or which classes to take? Send an email to someone who has been there! Our returnees love talking about their time abroad, so send them an email!


Additional Program Resources

Before You Leave: 
Once you are accepted, you will have mandatory Year in Japan Program pre-departure orientations with other Year in Japan participants during spring semester.
Country videos
Check out our Flickr album of photos taken by students while abroad in Costa Rica!

Country links
• Kobe Info
• Konan International Exchange Center and Konan University
• Travel Info

Country CultureGram

CultureGrams are concise, reliable, and up-to-date information on more than 200 countries. They go beyond mere facts and figures and try to deliver an insider’s perspective on daily life and culture, including history, customs, and lifestyles of the country in mind. Visit CultureGram here!

Application Process

The Year in Japan program is open to all college students who have a grade average of B.
You need to have completed the equivalent of two college semesters of Japanese prior to your departure. At Illinois, JAPN201, 202 count as the second semester. If you have not taken any Japanese in college, please contact Junko Onosaka to talk about your linguistic background and goals.

Dates and Deadlines

All requirements must be completed by the deadlines: online materials are due by 11:59 PM on the 20th of January for priority deadline or February 15 for final deadline:  paper materials are due by 4:45 PM the following business day. Preference will be given to students applying by the priority deadlines.

How to Apply

Please click the Create App button (found at the top-right of this page) to apply. Note that you will be charged a non-refundable $25 application fee by clicking Create App and logging in.
The Year in Japan Program application requires:
• Year in Japan Program Application
• Official transcript
• 2 letter of recommendation (at least one must be from a Japanese language teacher)
• Personal essay in English
• Photocopy of passport
• Signature Verification Form
• Online questionnaires
Additional information and supplemental application requirements will follow once you are accepted to the program, which should occur within two weeks of the respective deadline.

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Contact Information

Junko Onosaka, PhD
2014 Foreign Languages Building
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Office Hours : Tuesdays (11 to 2pm) and Wednesdays (9 to noon) or by appointment
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Program Cost and Advance Fees

For an Unofficial Budget of this program, please scroll to the top of this page and find the box labeled “Budget Sheets,” and click on the semester during which you want to participate. Please read through the Unofficial Budget information, which also includes information on Financial Aid, and Scholarships.

All students should be aware that once they are accepted to a program, they would be charged a non-refundable $305 fee to reserve their place on the program.

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Financial Aid and Scholarships

Because this program is sponsored by the University of Illinois, financial aid can be applied to the cost of the program. The amount of financial aid that is applicable to study abroad will depend on your financial aid package. Since there are many variables that determine how your financial aid package applies to study abroad, it is best that you consult with a financial aid advisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss your individual financial aid package.

In addition to financial aid, there are other alternatives to funding your time abroad. Click here to learn more about our over $850,000 in scholarship opportunities. One scholarship that everyone is eligible for is the Illinois for Illinois (I4I) Undergraduate Scholarship.  For more information, click here.

For more information about general costs, please watch the First Steps Cost, Financial Aid, and Scholarship videos found here for tips and advice.

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Health, Safety, Pre-Departure

The health and safety of students abroad is something that the University of Illinois takes very seriously, which is why the Study Abroad Office provides services that range from international insurance coverage to a 24-hour phone line to speak to an Advisor on Duty. These services can be found on our website.

Pre-Departure Orientation
All students are required to attend an all-day Pre-Departure Orientation the semester before their term abroad. The exact date, time, and location will be given to students post-acceptance so that they can arrange for their attendance at this orientation. During this orientation, topics such as Culture Shock, health and safety scenarios, and other helpful pre-departure information will be presented. This is also a really great opportunity to talk about packing, meet other classmates on a program, and talk to returnees who have already been to the host country.

Additionally, students are required to sign off on a Health and Safety Orientation, and are encouraged to read through the Safety and Security section of our website which includes topics from road safety and keeping your valuables and money safe, to nontraditional student identities while abroad.

This link includes information on our 24-hour Emergency service, Health Matters, Insurance, and Safety and Security

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Passport/Visa Information

You must have a valid passport to participate on this program. If you do not already have a passport, or if it needs to be renewed, you must begin that process now, even before program acceptance.

You may also be required to get a visa to enter Japan. You will learn all important information on the Year in Japan Program in the pre-departure meetings. 

Withdrawal, Change, and Cancellation Policy

To withdraw, change, or cancel your participation in a study abroad program, please visit this link to view the Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

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Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall Semester 2015 02/15/2015
02/15/2015 TBA TBA
Academic Year 2015-2016 04/15/2015
Rolling Admission 09/09/2015 05/24/2016
Fall Semester 2016 02/15/2016 02/15/2016 TBA TBA
Academic Year 2016-2017 02/15/2016 02/15/2016 TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed