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JAPAN - ISEP Tokyo International University

The Japan Studies Program (JSP) at Tokyo International University (TIU) is a culturally immersive language program. Students live with a Japanese host family for the entire semester and spend 12 hours a week in Japanese language courses. In addition to the intensive language courses, students also take elective courses which are taught in English or Japanese. The JSP can accommodate all levels of Japanese language students, from beginning to advanced. 

This program would be suitable for students that are ready to be abroad, but would still like some of the academic services that a U.S. college provides.  It is a good choice for someone that is a world traveler OR has never left their hometown.

Learn more about Tokyo International University here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation.
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0.

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


The JSP is located in Kawagoe, a historic castle town about 35 minutes Northwest of Tokyo. This peaceful and convenient location allows students easy access to Tokyo, as well as to the rural and natural areas of the region.

TIU has three campuses boasting superbly equipped facilities. Campus 1 is where all classes for Japan Studies Program (JSP) and English Track Program (E-Track) students are held. The campus is also home to the English and Japanese Plazas, as well as a library, computer lab, and auditorium. Campus 2, featuring more faculty facilities, is just a 10-minute walk from Campus 1. Dormitories for E-Track students are located on/near Campus 2. The Sakado Campus is home to all university sports teams and has state-of-the-art facilities.

JSP offers program excursions each semester, such as a tour of Kawagoe/Asakusa, elementary school visit, field trips to experience Japanese tradition and to learn Japanese culture. The destinations of field trips vary each semester. The details will be announced after arrival. Each semester students visit a local elementary school for a visit. There is also an optional excursion of a three-day trip to Kyoto. The trip is not included in the ISEP program fees or exchange benefits and may cost approximately JPY 60,000.

Past JSP and E-Track students have joined TIU clubs and circles such as badminton club, street dance club, film club, photography club and others. It is a great way to meet and make friends with Japanese students.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for Japan. 


The Japan Studies Program (JSP) was established at Tokyo International University in 1989. Program enrollment is around 30 students per semester, among a TIU student body of 6,400 Japanese and 700 international students.

The JSP curriculum is dynamic and flexible, meeting the needs of students from a wide range of backgrounds. JSP offers Japanese language courses as well as English-based electives on Japanese culture, history, and traditions. Students with advanced Japanese-language abilities can also opt for Japanese-based electives.

The JSP’s classes are mostly centered around TIU’s Intensive Japanese courses, which come to 8 credits per semester. After that, you can take JSP elective courses, or electives from the E-Track program to round out your schedule.

Examples of JSP Electives:
  • Contemporary Social Issues in Japan
  • Japanese Religions
  • Survey of Japanese Art
  • Japanese Design History after 1868
  • The Soft Power of Cool Japan
Also, during the Spring Semester, students are able to enroll in courses offered by the E-Track program. This includes courses from International Relations and Business Economics.

New courses include Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Education, Communications, Economics, International Relations, and Social Science

The English Track Program (E-Track), which began in 2014, focuses on providing international students and others with the opportunity to obtain a degree in an English-taught curriculum. TIU invites you to surround yourself with a diverse mix of value systems and develop the abilities it takes to flourish on the global stage.

The E-Track Program enables students to cultivate a broad educational background and deepen their knowledge in their academic field. Tokyo International University offers a major in International Relations or Business Economics while providing a chance for students to explore Japanese culture, language, lifestyle and other elements of Japan. 

Please visit our website for more details and application processes.

Housing for ISEP E-Track students: Only Dormitory offered.

Program Website

Course Description

Tokyo International University offers a range of Liberal Arts, Business Economics, International Relations, Japanese language and Japan Studies courses. To view E-Track offerings, click the “website for course listings” link, then click on “elective courses,” then find the “E-Track Program” link. Their “Academics” tab will show you all the concentrations and courses they have on offer.

Website for Course Availability

One credit equals 15 hours of class per semester. Most regular courses are assigned two crediits (30 hours)/ Some language, physical education, and laboratory courses are only assigned one credit, although they may meet for 30 hours. Language couirses require at least 15 hyours per week and earn up to six credits.

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 15-16 US semester credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 12 US semester credits.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.


Most recent course lists and information can be found here.
Fall and Spring course pages are linked on the left side.

Student Life

The Japan Studies Program was established at Tokyo International University (TIU) in 1989. Program enrollment is around 30 students per semester, among a TIU student body of 5,300 Japanese and 700 international students.


A one-day orientation is given to students on the first day of the program. Topics include:

  • General Information on Japan
  • Introduction to TIU and JSP
  • VISA information
  • Academic course explanation and expectations
  • Insurance Information
  • Homestay Information
  • Campus Tour

On the second day, there is Library and IT Orientation.


Airport pickup on a designated date and time is available. The host will also provide arrival directions before arrival.


Program excursions in Semester 1: Kawagoe Festival, Washi paper making & Mikan orchard, Sweet Potato Picnic

Program excursions in Semester 2: Sumo/Kabuki, Udon Tsuki, Hanami (cherry blossoms)

Elementary school visit: Each semester students visit a local elementary school.
Japanese Lounge: Japanese practice & homework help
Student clubs and circles: past JSP students have joined TIU clubs and circles such as Taiko club, Soccer Circle, Basketball Circle, Kendo Club, Taido Club, Photography Club, Movie Circle, Tennis Club, American Football Club, and others. It is a great way to meet and make friends with Japanese students.
Santome Project: Sustainable farming through managed forestry, using methods first implemented 300 years ago.

Optional Excursion: A five-day trip to famous sites in Hiroshima, Miyajima, and Kyoto. The trip is not included in the ISEP program fees or exchange benefits and may cost approximately JPY 100,000.

  Volunteer Opportunities

Students have volunteered with or participated in: Tsunami cleanup groups in Northern Japan, service groups that work with physically and mentally handicapped children, English-education events for children, local organic farms, traditional dance and festival groups, modern dance groups, community center courses in pottery, tea ceremony, Japanese cooking, and flower arranging, and martial arts groups and community sports teams.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed with local host families. Students receive their own room in the home furnished with a bed/futon, desk, lamp, closet/dresser, and temperature control. Host families provide breakfast and dinner on weekdays and breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekends. 

The nature of homestays means they can be anywhere in the vicinity of the campus. Because of that, the commute could be anywhere between 5 and 60 minutes, depending on the homestay’s location. That being said, the program strives to place students within 30 minutes of campus by bus or train, as long as it’s an appropriate match for the student. Keep in mind that commutes in excess of an hour are common for those in and around Tokyo, so living a half hour from campus wouldn’t be extreme for the area.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to Tokyo International University includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week. The Direct fee includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing plus insurance.  

ISEP costs for Exchange are usually the most cost-effective, as it is intended to promote mobility of students around the world. Direct options are available for those students that prefer to attend a school with limited availability for Exchange, though costs may be different as they are set by the host school. However, the program fee may be different than that of Exchange, which tend to be less expensive to promote more exchange opportunities for all schools.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item





Lake Forest College Tuition



Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.



Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College



ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees



ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP insurance. Check ISEP



Additional Meals



Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award



Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)



Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses






Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office