Japan: Academic Year in Tokyo with ICU
Dating back to 1949, International Christian University (ICU) is a result of cooperative planning by the Japanese and North American educators. ICU’s most valuable quality is its international commitment to not only introduce others to Japanese culture, but also to offer Japanese students a wider understanding of the world in which they live. While ICU has a strong foundation built on Christian principles, its doors are open to students of all backgrounds and faiths. The University is widely recognized for its outstanding academic programs and high-quality education. Nearly 1 in 3 full-time faculty are international faculty. Also, approximately 20% of ICU courses are taught in English. This percentage is expected to continue growing in the future to up to 50%. Class sizes are smaller with an average faculty to student ratio of 1 to 18.
GVSU's partner universities are largely independent programs; prospective participants should carefully consider if this form of study abroad suits their needs before registering. These partnerships allow students to experience a more independent international study abroad, but also require students to have a high level of flexibility and the ability to navigate much of the program independently. Those who prefer additional support may wish to consider other study abroad options such as external study abroad providers and our faculty-led options.
Program Dates and Application Deadline
Academic Year 2023 (Fall 2023-Winter 2024)
Estimated Program Dates: August 2023 - June 2024
Application Deadline: February 1, 2023 (Closed)
ICU offers students a guide for how to search for classes
Course Options Use this button to search all available course options and descriptions.
Pre-Approved Courses Note: This course list indicates courses that have been previously approved. It is not a list of available courses on this program.
Course Approval Process Students registering for courses that have not been pre-approved will need to follow the course approval instructions.
Students interested in satisfying general education courses abroad can find more information on our General Education page.
ICU Units - ICU operates on a trimester system (11 week sessions 3 x per year) rather than a semester system (15 week sessions 2 x per year). The number of ICU units per course can be translated into US credits by diving the units by 1.5.
Students can apply for on-campus housing; however, these placements are not guaranteed. Students who are not assigned an on-campus housing placement will be given information to nearby off-campus housing options. Visit the accommodation page for more information.
Cost and Scholarships
NOTE: "Other Expenses" listed in the cost breakdown are general estimates. Due to COVID-19, costs may increase for basic goods and housing. These estimates are provided as a guide to help students in their planning, but they are subject to change.
There are few places in the world that offer comparable scholarship opportunities to those offered by Japanese institutions. Each year, students receive thousands of dollars in scholarship support to study in Japan. Scholarships are competitive and conditions often apply; however, many GVSU students have been recipients of outstanding scholarships over the years. Scholarship notifications are sent to applicants after they apply for the program. Many scholarships are announced near time of departure.
JASSO SCHOLARSHIP - The Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) offers scholarships to exchange students who study in Japan. The scholarship is 80,000 yen per month which is equivalent to about $800 USD per month. ICU will send out information after a student applies to invite applications for this scholarship.
JICUF SCHOLARSHIP is offered by the Japan ICU Foundation which is an organization based in New York City. JICUF offers scholarships to support students interested in studying at ICU. The award is 80,000 yen per month which is approximately $800 US per month. ICU will send out information after a student applies to invite applications for this scholarship.
PADNOS SCHOLARSHIP: (Up to $15,000): The Barbara H. Padnos International Scholars program provides scholarships for year long study abroad programs (Students must study abroad for 2 semesters or more). The average scholarship ranges from $5,000-$15,000. APPLY NOW: https://gvsu.academicworks.com/opportunities/13328
Questions? Contact [email protected] or 616-331-3898
Academic year participants must have completed two years at GVSU at the time of participation. Two semesters of Japanese recommended. 3.0 GPA required.
Passengers who have been fully vaccinated and boosted with vaccines approved by the Japanese government and who are arriving in Japan after October 11, 2022, will not require a pre-travel COVID-19 test.
Host University Website
When studying abroad, it is important to learn about the culture of your host country.
For information on music, food, language, news & more, view Cultural Information
Campus Info / Campus Life
ICU's campus offers students a scenic park-like environment away from the busy city streets. There are several meeting places around campus for students to gather as well as numerous campus activities. At ICU, the vast majority of students participate in one or more student activities. This is known to be the best place to meet new friends and connect with degree-seeking students.
US citizens will be required to apply for a student visa prior to entry into Japan for stays longer than 90 days. Students can find more detailed information regarding the application process in our student visa guide. Please note that the appropriate consulate or embassy must be consulted for the most up-to-date visa information.
For information on how to get to ICU visit the Directions to ICU
US State Department Information
US State Department Information
US State Department - Students Abroad
Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) - Crime & Safety Report
Disability Academic Accommodations
Resources for Emergency Situations
Reporting an Incident
"My time at ICU was completely eye opening. It taught me more about how the world works, understanding people, showing empathy and more compassion, and overall being a better person. It taught me patience with myself, as well as others. Having several Japanese roommates taught me to be okay making mistakes when speaking, as well as having a Japanese girlfriend. Being overseas taught me to be less rigid in my beliefs, and my way of thinking. When you go overseas, I encourage you to go with the desire to learn, and make mistakes. Mistakes are the key to learning. And one last thing; Have Fun. You are there to learn and be involved in cultural exchange. Make the most of it and have fun. I can guarantee you, if it's fun, or if it makes you laugh or cry, you will remember it. " -DeMante M. Baldwin
Still trying to find a program? Use the program search to find the perfect opportunity for you.