Japan has one of the most advanced economies in the world, and a knowledge of its language and culture opens doors for cultural understanding and economic opportunity.

The Japanese Program at UVM offers an undergraduate major and minor. We offer courses in Japanese language, literature, pop culture and a variety of courses such as history, religion, and art through the Asian Studies Program. The language courses are from elementary to advanced levels using the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

Morgan Velba '17 – Thriving Outside the Comfort Zone

Velba poses in front of a bookcase

"Studying abroad in Osaka for my junior year was by far the most rewarding decision I've made in my academic career. Being alone in a foreign country was intimidating at first; I was forced to use my Japanese language skills every step of the way. Through complete immersion, however, I rapidly increased my listening and reading comprehension skills. I participated in a Speaking Partner program and was able to practice speaking Japanese in a casual setting on a regular basis. My confidence in speaking Japanese has vastly improved; 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 . . . 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."

Eric Warshawsky ’17: Total Immersion

Warshawsky smiling, flowers in the background

"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. . . . It is instantly and constantly rewarding to be in a country whose citizens speak the language you are studying . . . 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."

Aaron J. Kane '16: Finding a Language Community

Kane puts on a happy face

"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 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 . . . I am now planning my junior year abroad at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. In my experience, this is the real value of Japanese at UVM: the language is taught with fluency as a real, foreseeable goal. This, I have found, alongside the enthusiastic students and effective courses, to be truly inspirational."

Hannah Pike '15: Exploring New Horizons

A smile from Pike

"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 . . .  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."

Japanese Spoken Here

At UVM you'll find many opportunities to learn and practice language skills--our students typically learn to conduct simple conversations, read, and write during their first semester. Above, students practice their conversational skills while dining at a local Japanese restaurant.

The Japanese House

Part of UVM’s Global Village initiative, the Japanese House is open to students currently studying Japanese, students who have previously studied Japanese culture or language, and those with native or near-native Japanese fluency willing to share their knowledge and skills. The goal of this house is to explore Japanese language and culture through shared activities in a community atmosphere.