Jessica Neer '11
Studying Abroad at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU)
The Japan Center for Michigan Universities is an intensive Japanese language program which was foundedin 1988. The program is accessible to awide range of students regardless of major or language ability. There are four levels of Japanese available from learning the hirigana to debating current affairs, all of which are taught by enthusiastic and engaging professors who are widely available after class for consultation or even practice.
The language program is rigorous but extremely effective. Many students choose to particpate in the JCMU's speaking partner program where you are assigned to a Japanese student participating in the center's English program, allowing both students to practice and learn together. The center has three programs which include a fall and spring semester as well as a six week short course in May.
The center is located in the city of Hikone in Shiga prefecture next to lake Biwa and is conveniently located so that many major cites, such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Nagoya, can be easily reached by train. The community of Hikone is ideal for experiencing the lifestyle of Japan and the two neighboring Universities provide ample opportunity to form lasting friendships with local students. Other opportunities include a variety of English teaching internships as well as living with a host family associated with the JCMU. The program also hosts several activities such as flower arranging, tea ceremony and judo every week to allow students to participate in the traditional arts of Japan.
Overall the Japan Center for Michigan University is an ideal place for any student determined to learn not only the Japanese language but also about its people.