Study Abroad


Hirosaki Gakuin University


Application Deadline: April 1st

NOTE: This program requires a minimum of four students to be offered.

The program, housed at the Hirosaki Gakuin University, has been developed to give students of Japanese a firsthand understanding of the importance of learning Japanese in an authentic environment, by exposing them to the rich and varied facets of Japanese life and culture.

No previous knowledge of the Japanese language is required.

Read about former students' experiences!

Student Testimonials
2008 2009

Hirosaki is situated at the northern end of the main Japanese island of Honshu. Original plans for a city and castle on this site were made by Tamenobu, and was completed by his successor in 1611. Thus was born the castle town of Hirosaki and for the next 260 years, under the feudal lordship of 12 successive generations, it flourished as the political, economic and cultural center of the whole Tsugaru region.

When World War II ended in 1945, Hirosaki had managed to avoid serious damage. Building upon its natural attributes—its many cultural assets, its castle and its cherry blossoms - post-war Hirosaki developed as a center of culture. Modern-day Hirosaki ranks as one of the foremost academic cities in the Tohoku region, with three colleges, including a national university and three junior colleges.

Students will attend class Monday through Friday.  Language programs will be held during the morning session and cultural lessons and mini-fieldtrips will be conducted in and around Hirosaki. By the end of the program, students will have been exposed to and be able to:

  • Improve speaking, listening, reading, and writing ability in Japanese;
  • Experience Japanese daily life firsthand;
  • Understand more deeply Japanese culture;
  • Study and learn about the traditions and customs of Japan.

Click here for a description of the Language and Culture Curriculum.

Studying Japanese requires an open mind and flexible attitude to previously conceived notions about what learning a foreign language is and how it should be done. In order to learn, it is necessary for students to ask questions and to not be afraid of making mistakes. This is all a part of the learning process, and in order to further their experience and knowledge in the language, it is important for the student to participate actively.

Students attending this program will receive UWL credit for the following:

  • World Languages (4 credits) ~ MLG 101 or 201, depending on proficiency level
  • Seminar in World Area Studies: Japanese Culture (2 credits) ~ INS 225

The course equivalencies spreadsheets have been compiled from past approved Academic Plan forms.  They show when the course was last approved and how it transferred back to La Crosse.  You may notice that some classes satisfied several UWL options.

This list is not comprehensive nor does it take the place of  meeting with your advisor for final approval!  They are meant to be a guide of what courses may be appropriate for your studies abroad.

Students will be housed in a centrally located hotel in the heart of Hirosaki City.  Each student will have a private room with bath.  Each room has a bed, desk, refrigerator, air-conditioning, and a hotpot.  Laundry facilities, free internet service, a front door security system, and public telephone corner in the front lobby are included.

From the hotel, it is a 3 minute walk to the local train station where students will board a train for the short train ride to the university.  From the station near Hirosaki Gakuin University, it is a three minute walk to the university.  Walking from the hotel directly to the university is approximately a 30 minute walk.

Breakfast is included in the program price. Students can choose to have lunch in the university cafeteria, where the prices are subsidized and quite reasonable, or they may choose to have lunch around the station area.  A variety of businesses from “bento” to sit down lunches are available, as well as a supermarket, convenience store, and coffee shop.  For dinner, a wide selection of Western and Japanese restaurants is available around the hotel.

Weekend Home Stay Option
For students wishing to have an opportunity to experience real Japan by staying with a Japanese family, the Hirosaki Gakuin Summer Japanese Intensive Program will arrange two-weekend home stays with local families (Friday evening until Sunday).  Interested students wishing to participate in this optional home stay experience must fill out a “Home Stay Application” form before arriving in Japan.

Before you travel abroad, you will need to obtain a passport, which will serve as proof of your U.S. citizenship. A passport may allow you to gain entry to (and exit from) other countries. Depending on the country to which you're traveling, a visa may be required as well. Entry requirements vary from one country to another. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings specific to certain countries, and offers tips and publications relevant to travel abroad generally. Well in advance of your departure, you should also familiarize yourself with international travel health issues, and health recommendations specific to your destination.

For precise dates refer to the Program Dates.
Daily Schedule


  • 2.5 minimum GPA
  • The desire to experience the world and receive academic credit for doing it!

The program fee includes the following:

  • Tuition (6 credits)
  • University and Administrative Fees
  • Housing & Meals
  • Study Abroad Health Insurance
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • Study Abroad Graduation Sash

Airfare is not included in the program fee.

Financial aid is applicable.
Refer to Program Fees for the most current program fee.

All program fees subject to change. Valid for undergraduate Wisconsin residents only; out-of-state students pay Minnesota reciprocity or a non-resident surcharge.

All students will be required to attend a pre-departure orientation. The orientation will help you prepare for international travel in general, and for the experience of visiting Japan. Program alumni will be on hand to answer your questions.

Daily Schedule
Language and Culture Program Description
Tips and Advice from Program Alumni


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