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.


Morgan Velba

Morgan Velba '17

Japanese Major, GRS: Asian Studies Minor

Study Abroad at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka

Studied Abroad at Kansai Gaidai University
Studying abroad in Osaka, Japan for the duration of my junior year was by far the most rewarding decision I have made in my academic career. Studying a language in a classroom is wonderful, but being able to apply it in real situations is where your studies prove to be most fruitful. Being alone in a foreign country was, of course, intimidating at first; I was forced to use my Japanese language skills every step of the way. Through complete immersion, however, I was able to rapidly increase my listening and reading comprehension skills. I participated in Kansai Gaidai’s Speaking Partner program and was able to practice speaking Japanese in a casual setting on a regular basis while simultaneously sharing my knowledge of the English language with my Japanese partner. My confidence in speaking Japanese has vastly improved as a result of my time studying abroad; I used to be extremely shy but I immediately began coming out of my shell the moment I landed in Kansai Airport and needed to figure everything out on my own, from reading kanji on signs to asking strangers for directions.
The most memorable moments I had in Japan are those in which I left the comfort of my campus in Osaka and spent the weekends exploring surrounding areas and hiking everywhere I could. I particularly enjoyed Mount Hiei in Kyoto and Mount Kinka in Gifu. I loved exploring by myself and striking up conversations with the Japanese locals; you can learn so much more from speaking with somebody than you ever could through textbooks alone. I would wholeheartedly recommend studying abroad in Japan to anybody interested in the pursuing an education in Japanese or Asian Studies; it was an experience that I will forever hold close to my heart.
I am currently in the process of applying to law schools around the country in an effort to pursue a career that synthesizes law and Japanese.

Colin Flinn
Colin Flinn '13

English Major, GRS: Japanese Minor

I began studying Japanese on a whim. I had always had an interest in Japan, so when I saw there was an opening in my schedule to take a class I decided to enroll. Looking back now, that was one of the decisions I’ve ever made.

After graduation I was accepted as a participant in the JET Program. They placed me in rural Akita prefecture, far from any metropolitan centers. There I worked as an elementary school English teacher for fifth and sixth graders. It was a difficult transition period in the beginning as none of my co-workers spoke English and I was entrusted with many new responsibilities. However, the challenges presented opportunities to advance my language ability and gain new professional skills. Thanks to the necessity of Japanese in my daily life, I passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1 level in July of 2016.

My time teaching was fantastic, but at the end of three years I decided to advance my career in a different direction. I now work for a tourism-based area revitalization company in my adopted home of Odate City. My day-to-day tasks include translation work, product development, and foreign outreach.

Without the fantastic UVM Japanese program I would not be where I am today professionally or personally. I highly encourage anyone interested in learning about foreign cultures, encountering new perspectives, or challenging themselves to grow to sign up for a class with the Japanese program!

Eric Warshawsky ‘17

GRS: Asian Studies Major, Japanese Minor

Study Abroad at Aoyama Gakuin Uniiversity

I have always been interested in learning languages and had been studying Russian for several years but during my second year at UVM, I decided to take Japanese due to my prior interest in Japan, its language, and culture. Study Abroad was always something I wanted to do, and during the second semester of my third year I went to Aoyama Gakuin, located in the center of Tokyo. The application process was long and sometimes confusing, but once I landed at Narita Airport I immediately felt excited and relieved that I went through with it and made it so far. Upon leaving the security and going into the lobby I was stopped for an interview on a Japanese television show.

It is instantly and constantly rewarding to be in a country whose citizens speak the language you are studying. Being interviewed in Japanese was both scary and exciting, and from that first day forward each day brings new challenges and experiences that I will never forget. And going to school at Aoyama Gakuin, I was able to connect with the students going there through a club called Lingwave. This club was the source of many of my friends in Japan, and from them I both grew my language skills and intercultural communication skills. Going to Aoyama also has the benefit of being in such a central location; anywhere within Tokyo was reachable within an hour or less of travel, and it was such a convenient place to commute to.

While I worked hard in my classes, especially my Japanese classes, there was also a lot of time to travel and explore outside of Tokyo. I went to many rural areas around Tokyo as well as Matsumoto Castle, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, and Osaka. Each one of these trips not only was a fun way to experience more aspects of Japanese culture, but taught me so much about Japan and Japanese. I think study abroad is something all students should strive to experience. Regardless of whether someone is aiming to become fluent in a language or following another goal, it is such a valuable experience to live abroad. I gained an appreciation and understanding of not only Japan but America as well, and through this experience I truly feel I understand the world a little better.




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.


Last modified January 18 2017 10:29 AM