Critical Language Scholarship Program | Okayama, Japan

Okayama, Japan

Program Dates:

June 12 - August 09, 2023

Hosting Institution:

Okayama University

Program Overview

The CLS Japanese Program is hosted by Okayama University (OU) in Okayama, Japan. OU is known for its innovative leadership in internationalization and in 2014 was selected for the Top Global University Project by the Japanese government. At OU, CLS students participate in an eight-week intensive language program, which covers the equivalent of one year of Japanese instruction at the college level. Each week students participate in fifteen hours of formal classroom instruction where they learn the four major skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

To supplement formal classroom hours, CLS Japanese students in Okayama are provided unique opportunities to learn about Japanese language and culture through extensive co-curricular activities. These activities teach students about different aspects of life in Japanese, introduce them to sites of cultural and historical significance, provide opportunities to participate in traditional Japanese ceremonies, and provide insight into community life. In the past, such cultural excursions and activities have included interviewing university students about environmental conservation efforts, participating in the Kagura dance, participating in a traditional tea ceremony, and learning Japanese sign language.

In Okayama, students live in campus housing with a CLS peer and one or two OU students. Campus housing consists of individual bedrooms and a shared living room and kitchenette. This arrangement gives students the unique opportunity to create an immediate connection with the local community and practice Japanese outside of class with their local roommates.

In addition to the opportunities presented by living with Japanese suitemates, students will be paired with a language partner to practice the language in a more relaxed setting. Language partners in Okayama are typically college students who are eager to show students around campus and their host city. In the past, students and language partners have enjoyed visiting cafes and restaurants, attending sports games, and singing Karaoke. Language partners are also eager to help students navigate tasks of daily living in Japan, such as grocery shopping, managing public transportation, and doing errands. The combination of linguistic immersion and rigorous classroom learning will allow CLS Japanese students to achieve the goal of rapid language gains.