By Jade Inglada
Students at East Los Angeles College now have the opportunity to apply for the new summer study abroad program in Kyoto, Japan during 2015.
Japanese Professor Hiroko Furuyama Chao worked with the International Association for Cultural Exchange (IACE) Travel agency to create the program. This is the first time ELAC will have a study abroad program in Japan.
The total cost of the program is $4,400. It covers flights, meals, room and board, ground travel and admission fees.
The program expenses are low compared to other summer studies in Japan because it’s planned through a travel agency and students will participate in a homestay.
“Dorms aren’t very popular in Japan. It’s more of an American thing,” Furuyama said. “Usually university students in Japan live at home.”
All students will be matched with homes through a careful selection process using the submitted applications.
Students will leave for Kyoto on June 25 and return July 30. The dates and program schedule are tentative and are subject to change before the trip begins.
Furuyama said that she had been trying to get this program for the past ten years.
“I had to convince administration that students want to go (to Japan),” Furuyama said. “Going to Japan isn’t cheap and even if not enough students go, then ELAC loses money.”
Last year Furuyama organized a winter trip through another travel agency to Tokyo for one week. Eleven students attended the trip in January.
Participants will attend and take their classes at the Kyoto International Academy (KIA).
Furuyama said she received advice and assistance from a colleague at the College of DuPage in Illinois that uses KIA for his summer program.
Course tuition is separate from the program fees. Students must enroll in up to two classes to participate and have the options of Japanese 1-4, Japanese civilization and Japanese conversation.
Direct study is also available only for students that have completed all four language levels, but they must have permission from Furuyama before enrolling.
Miguel Torres, a student, has taken all the Japanese language classes at ELAC and said he wants to be part of the program.
“I thought her (Furuyama) presentation was really good and detailed. In the future she said that at another meeting in June, a travel agent will be there to help answer any of our questions about cell phones or money,” Torres said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Students need to submit the completed application, a copy of their passport or visa and a nonrefundable $500 deposit to secure a spot in the program. The two remaining installments of $1,950 are due April 1 and May 3. All payments must be paid to IACE, not Furuyama or ELAC.
Furuyama suggested students to use financial aid to pay for the expenses. Japanese Club President Santos Peñaloza said he would discuss the idea of a fundraiser to help club members interested in going.
“If students have a problem with any part of the program, then this isn’t for them,” Furuyama said.
The first informational meeting was held on Nov. 6 for more than 40 students.
Program applications can be found on the Foreign Language Department’s home page or iace-usa.com/en/. Contact Furuyama at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information or questions concerning the program.