University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Japanese Program

Explore Japanese Program

The University of Vermont will give you various opportunities to explore Japan. Here are some comments from students who lived in the Global Village Japanese House, students who studied abroad in and graduates who have careers in Japan.


Michael Chilton
Michael Chilton '16

Microbiology Major, Japanese Minor

When I first came to UVM, I did not really plan to study abroad, due to the impression that it would be too expensive. Later on, it was due to the requirements my Microbiology major, which had a lot of required classes to take which I had not initially scheduled with a semester abroad in mind. Even after I started learning Japanese in my sophomore year in college, I just didn't have the time or money to do it. On a whim, I decided to go to a meeting at the beginning of my senior year for the Boren Scholarship, something that I had been getting emails about from my department for years. When I walked in to the meeting, I was simply curious, but when I walked out I actually saw going abroad as a possibility. The Boren Scholarship is a scholarship program through the United States government that gives undergraduate students funding to go abroad for up to a year in a foreign country to study less commonly taught languages. In return they agree to work for the government for a year. The idea is to educate U.S. citizens about the languages and cultures of foreign nations, as well as to improve cooperation and security. It was a fairly long road from start to finish, especially since I did not know if I had the scholarship until fairly late in the year, and did not even know if my school had accepted me until even later. However, finally I was able to go to Japan for an academic year at Nanzan University in Nagoya.

So far, my time in Japan has been one of my most interesting and rewarding experiences. I have had the opportunity to go places that I never thought I could go to, meet incredible people with their own unlikely journeys, and finally am in a place where this language that I have been learning for the past few years is essential for my daily life. In some cases, it is the only way I can communicate with people from other countries, as the only common language is Japanese. Even though it has only been a few months so far, I can already see improvements in my language ability, especially with speaking which was probably the weakest part of my Japanese before I left. During weekend trips I had opportunities to see Japan outside of busy metropolises such as Tokyo or Nagoya. I even managed to fit in a short internship at a hospital lab over the summer. I have been able to go places that were only possible because I had the curiosity to look into a scholarship on one September afternoon. Since I am still abroad as of now, I look forward to all of the new experiences I will have and people I will meet during this next semester.

Aaron J. Kane '16

Japanese Major, GRS: Asian Studies Minor

Study Abroad at Aoyama Gakuin Uniiversity

Arriving at UVM in the fall of 2012, I was an undecided major with an interest in Japanese language and Asian Studies. Within first week of classes, I was absolutely swept up by the tireless enthusiasm, dedication, and knowledge of the Japanese faculty thehere at UVM. I became a Japanese major, and have since found studying this fascinating language alongside like-minded and excited friends to be a wonderful experience. The program focuses on natural speech and autonomous learning, and frequent classes and energetic classmates keep courses challenging and fun. There are many Japanese culture and language clubs at UVM as well, and opportunities for extracurricular study. Through the truly fantastic faculty, I have been inspired to see bilingualism as a goal for the future, and I am now planning my junior year abroad at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, 2014-2015. In my experience, this is the real value of Japanese at UVM: the language is taught with fluency as a real, foreseeable goal. Here Japanese is seen as a skill, a skill professors are happy to help students attain. This, I have found, alongside the enthusiastic students and effective courses, to be truly inspirational. I am looking forward to my study abroad, and returning to UVM as a senior!


Hannah Pike '15

Double Major in Asian Studies and Japanese

Study Abroad at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka

Studying Japanese at the University of Vermont has opened up so many great opportunities for me. My fantastic teachers here have pushed me to new levels of Japanese I never expected I could achieve. My junior year at UVM I was accepted to Kansai Gaidai University for a two-semester study abroad program.

Living abroad in Osaka, Japan has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Living in the most historically rich region in Japan, every weekend I made the most of my time exploring famous and not so well known sites and hiking mountains to hidden away shrines and temples in Kyoto. I had many opportunities to travel around the country and meet with old friends. In addition, I also discovered a new love for the Japanese music scene at the heart of Osaka, and experienced the different cultures surrounding it.

After returning from Japan I joined a program in Vermont to help Japanese high school students learn English during the summer. There I made many new friends while at the same time practiced my own Japanese skills.

I look forward to what the future holds for me in Japan after graduation.



Chandler Meyers
Chandler Meyers '13

Japanese Major, Asian Studies Minor

Study Abroad at Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo

When I signed up to take Japanese my first year at UVM, I was unaware of all of the great opportunities and experiences that my Japanese studies would allow me to achieve later on and even after graduating. During my third year at UVM, I was accepted into a two-semester study abroad program at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. This was a formative experience for me not only because it helped me improve my language skills through complete immersion, but it but it also enabled me to grow as an individual.

After my year abroad, I returned for my final year at UVM and began to consider various ways in which I could earn a living while using my Japanese language. I applied for many jobs and eventually I was lucky enough to accept a position at the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta. I primarily work with the administrative section and the culture and information section, where much of my day is spent answering enquiries via phone and email, translating, and general maintenance of the Consulate’s website. I am incredibly fortunate to be working in an environment that allows me to utilize and expand upon my Japanese language skills acquired through my studies at UVM.

It has almost been a year since I started working for the consulate and I can happily say my business Japanese, specifically keigo has improved considerably. This job has also allowed me to experience and be a part of the various efforts to promote deeper mutual understanding and strengthen cultural, political, and economic ties between Japan and the five-states in our jurisdiction: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.


Jacob Runner
Jacob Runner '12

English Major, Japanese Minor

Teaching English at Lesson4U English Language School, Kanazawa, Japan

After completing my English degree at UVM in 2012, I accepted a teaching post at a private English language school in Ishikawa, Japan, where I’ve lived for the last two years.  I’ve enjoyed continuing to study and teach the English language to students of all ages and levels, but I’ve also appreciated having the opportunity to continue studying Japanese.  I knew from my study abroad experience at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo during my third year of college, that despite having received a solid grounding in Japanese grammar from my time at UVM, one of the biggest frustrations for me had been simple illiteracy, that is to say, I couldn’t read enough kanji. So, when I realized I would be moving to Japan for work, I knew I had one month to sit myself down and learn/re-learn around 3,000 Chinese characters.  After moving to Japan, I continued to study by focusing on expanding my vocabulary during my free time before and after work, as well as making an active attempt to totally submerge myself in the Japanese language by making friends, reading books and of course, watching Japanese professional baseball.  It soon became my goal to pass the highest level Japanese comprehension exam, the N1 Level Japanese Language Proficiency Test. 

I’m happy to say that I was able to pass the exam at the end of last year, and that the effort has been worth it.  More than passing a proficiency test, my studies have given me the ability to read and appreciate Japanese literature, in a way I once thought impossible.  They have also however, given me the chance to create meaningful relationships with people I’ve met in Ishikawa, all of whom are proud of the fact I no longer speak standard Japanese, but have slipped into the Ishikawa dialect.  Japanese study had always been enjoyable in its own right, but along with my work teaching English as a foreign language, it has also helped me realize and explore a passion for language, literature and linguistics, that I hope to continue by enrolling in graduate level studies focused on the development and history of the English language.


Last modified February 10 2016 09:53 AM