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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Kyoto, Japan; Tokoname, Japan; Tokyo, Japan
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: PSU applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
Fact Sheet:
Education Abroad Adviser:
Johnna Weston
Minimum GPA:
Class Standing:
2.5 - Second Semester Sophomore
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
0 - none
Internship Available:
Program Description:
Tokyo Skyline Brian Alfred

Program Overview

This six-week program, based in Tokyo, is an introduction to Japanese culture through the arts and visual culture. Japan has an immense visual history that straddles a line between a culture with a deep history engaged in tradition and ritual, and an amazingly forward, progressive culture attuned to advancements in technology and innovation. Immersion in such a unique environment is an amazing opportunity for students to engage fully in a culture that is incredibly different than that of the United States.

Students will attend class at the IES Abroad Tokyo Center, located in the same area of Tokyo as their housing. One course, ‘Japanese Culture and Aesthetic,’ will be taught by Brian Alfred, professor of visual arts at Penn State University. The second course, ‘Japanese Manga and Animation,’ will be taught by an instructor from the IES Abroad Tokyo Center. The program includes several site visits within Tokyo, as well as a four-day field trip outside of the city with stops in Kyoto, Nara, and Tokoname.  Some highlights will include Zen meditation in Kyoto and taking a pottery-making class in Tokoname.

By the end of the program students will have gained a deeper understanding of how certain visual mediums of expression relate to culture, historical events and society in Japan, and the experience will have made a true impact on the way they see their work and their world.

Program Quicklinks     

Education Abroad Credits

All students are required to take the same two courses for 6 credits:

Anime art on Japanese busART 199/299/399/499 or ASIA 199/299: "Japanese Culture and Aesthetic" taught by Brian Alfred, PSU School of Visual Art

This course will explore Japanese culture by way of a visual understanding of culture and aesthetics intrinsic in the Japanese environment. Through firsthand experience, students will be introduced to various aspects of Japan by exploring its cultural environment from shrines to karaoke bars, from museums to the latest trends in popular culture. The broad introduction to Japanese visual culture of this course will provide the context needed for a thorough understanding of the graphic novel (manga) and animation (anime) examined in greater detail in the other course.

ART 199/299/399/499 or ASIA 199/299: "Japanese Manga and Animation" taught by an instructor from IES, living in Tokyo 

This course will look at manga and animation art forms from interdisciplinary perspectives, including: anthropology, literary studies, history, film studies, gender studies, and globalization studies. Students will examine manga and anime within the context of Japanese culture (consumer goods, target audiences, how they reflect Japanese culture, etc.). 
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State.


There are no pre-requisites for this program.

Housing and Meals

Students will stay in shared hotel rooms in the Makuhari section of Tokyo while in Japan. A daily buffet breakfast will be 
Harajuku,Tokyo, Japan Cafe
provided at the hotel, and students will need to purchase all other meals. 

Hotel amenities:
  • Laundry service
  • Restaurant
  • WiFi (free of charge)

Program Costs

For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Usnippon JapanPenn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.

The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.

For More Information

For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative
For more information, please contact Brian Alfred, the faculty leader for this program in the School of Visual Arts Department. You may also schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.

How to Apply

Kyoto JapanIf you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page. 
You must complete the following materials in your application:
  •  Education Abroad Questionnaire
  •  One academic recommendation
  •  Signature Documents

Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.

Application deadline: February 1, 2018

Studying Abroad with a Disability

Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.

Other Useful Links

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 02/01/2018
02/14/2018 07/09/2018 08/03/2018
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.

Indicates that deadline has passed