Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto Partners

DATES: June 26 – July 21, 2017
Optional add-on: Japan English Model United Nations, June 23 – 25, 2017

PROGRAM COST: $4,995 + airfare (Includes: Tuition – 3 credits, lodging in traditional Japanese guesthouse or student apartment, travel insurance, welcome and farewell meals, program activities and cultural events).

GENERAL LOCATION: Kyoto, Japan, is located in the central part of the island of Honshu, 300 miles west of Tokyo.

MEDIA: TextPhotographyVideo

Application deadline: extended while spaces remain

Apply Now

Laird Harrison

Questions about the Kyoto Project? Contact Program Director Laird Harrison at: or
800-924-5449 ext. 4

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The Kyoto Project

Once the imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto offers its visitors a window into the past through its serene temples and lavish gardens. In its unique Gion District, geishas still perform traditional arts. But students will also find a rich sampling of contemporary culture, including the Kyoto International Manga Museum, trendy restaurants and lively karaoke bars.

Working in teams with Japanese students from local universities, participants will delve into the life of this fascinating city by hunting for captivating stories and interviewing residents. 

Students will earn three credits from our partner university, the University of Jamestown. Credits are transferable and accepted as an upper-division journalism elective. The program also is open to recent graduates and graduate students.

OPTIONAL SUPPLEMENTARY PROGRAM: Students can begin the program early by participating in the Japan English Model United Nations program at Kindai University in Higashiosaka, June 23-25, 2017. Students can participate as a delegate or as a journalist covering the event, which draws university students from around Japan as well as international students. A 29,000 yen additional fee (approximately $300, depending on the exchange rate) covers hotel and some meals for the 2 ½-day program.

The City

Kyoto is a delightful mix of old and new, traditional and modern. An extensive system of trains, buses and inexpensive taxis makes this lively city of 1.5 million easy to explore. The former imperial capital boasts a stunning collection of 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. And it has earned an international reputation for its traditional arts, museums and sizzling nightlife.

Travel Opportunities

Travel around Japan

Students will have the opportunity to travel to other locations in Japan, including Tokyo; the island of Miyajima with its famous floating Torii (left); and Himeji Castle, also known as White Heron Castle (right).

Students will have two three-day weekends free to explore Kyoto or visit stylish Tokyo, the majestic Japanese Alps, the heartbreaking Hiroshima Peace Museum or the lush countryside that inspired Japanese filmmakers Miyazaki and Kurosawa. Train travel in Japan is easy and fast, and many major routes are served by bullet trains whisking passengers to their destinations at speeds up to 275 mph.

Student newsroom.

A student works in the newsroom at the Japan English Model United Nations.


The program is open to English-speaking college students and recent graduates from any university. Over the past decade, participants in ieiMedia programs have included more than 800 students from 80 U.S. and Canadian campuses, along with students from Japan, Peru, Singapore, Thailand, Trinidad, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Most of our students are journalism or communications majors, but those majoring in other subjects are welcome as well. For non-journalism/communication majors, experience working for a college or professional publication is helpful but is not necessary. Graduate students are also invited to apply. We’d be happy to talk with you about supervising an independent project that would qualify for graduate credit at your school or to offer this experience as a graduate internship.

Laird Harrison working with students.

Laird Harrison working with students.


Rachele Kanigel is an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University. She was a daily newspaper reporter for the Oakland Tribune and The News & Observer and a freelance correspondent for Time magazine. The author of The Student Newspaper Survival Guide, she has directed past ieiMedia programs in Perpignan, France; Urbino, Italy; and Jerusalem.

Laird Harrison is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in magazines (Time, Audubon, Reader’s Digest, People, Health), newspapers (San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press); and websites (Reuters, Salon, MSNBC, He has produced video for websites of Smithsonian magazine and WebMD, along with audio for KQED and WUNC public media stations. He has taught journalism at San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley Extension and in the ieiMedia program in Perpignan, France.

View complete faculty biographies on our Kyoto Faculty Page.


Students will live in a traditional Japanese guesthouse or student apartment with kitchen facilities. Sheets, blankets and towels will be provided.

A Kyoto Garden

Kyoto is full of tranquil gardens and temples such as Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavilion), a Zen temple surrounded by greenery.


Students are expected to bring a laptop computer and digital camera and are welcome to bring a video camera, tripod, audio recorder and other multimedia equipment.

Japanese Instruction

Students will have daily instruction in “survival” Japanese at the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. Classes will cover language basics so that students can introduce themselves and carry on simple conversations. Students will also gain insights into the culture, food and way of life in Japan.


When reporting, you will work with bilingual students who will act as interpreters. In the past, students have found the process of working with these local students to be one of the most rewarding experiences in the program.

Program Cost

The cost is $4,995 plus airfare. The price includes tuition (three credits from the University of Jamestown), housing, instruction, basic travel insurance, welcome and farewell meals, excursions and social and cultural events with Japanese students. Transfer from and to the Kansai International Airport is also provided.

A local market.

Merchants at the Nishiki Market often offer tastes of their exotic foods.


Financial Aid

Students studying abroad for the summer term have limited financial aid options. Check with your school’s financial aid office and your study abroad offices to find out if assistance is available.

More information on financial aid is available here.

Application Process

Students must fill out the online application and include contact information for two references (academic and/or professional) using the “Apply Now” link below. A $150 application fee is required with the application but will be returned if a student is not accepted into the program. Application deadline: rolling admission until program fills.

If you have questions before applying, fill out our contact form.

Apply Now

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Students Say...

The experience of overseas reporting at a small renaissance Italian town like Urbino, has been exhilarating. Experiencing its sights and sounds, gaining new journalistic skills and working with local translators. What more can one ask for?
by Kenneth Foo, Nanyang Technological University, The Urbino Project 2011