Beijing Foreign Studies University & Kyoto Gakuen University

Before you meet with an education abroad advisor be sure to complete the "Advising Form" linked at the top of this page.

Please note that you will not be able to apply for semester or yearlong education abroad program until you've met with an education abroad advisor. To make an appointment, please contact or call the Center for Global Education at 630-637-5132.


Program Overview

Fall Term 2018/Fall Term 2020 (offered every other year)

Eligible participants must be at sophomore, junior or senior level with a 3.0 GPA preferred.

This unique dual-country program offers students the opportunity to live and study in both China and Japan over the course of 15 weeks. The program begins in Beijing, the modern capital of the People’s Republic of China, with seven weeks of classes at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). Students study Chinese culture with local faculty, take one course taught by an accompanying North Central College faculty member, and complete the equivalent of Chinese 101 or higher, depending on their level of proficiency.

In the second half of fall term, students move to Kyoto, ancient capital of Japan, to complete their studies at Kyoto Gakuen University. They continue in the course taught by their North Central College professor, begin or continue the study of Japanese (completing at least the equivalent of Japanese 101), and enroll in a course about Japanese culture taught by local faculty.

Students are housed on or near campus in China and off campus in Japan. Meals are provided in dining halls at BFSU; students live in self-catered apartments in Japan. No prior knowledge of Chinese or Japanese is required.

The program is open to all majors and fulfills North Central College’s foreign language requirement.


Program Calendar

Time in China: 8 weeks (7 academic weeks and 1 week break)
Time in Japan: 7 weeks

Eligibility Requirements

Sophomore, junior, or senior standing; GPA 3.0 preferred.

This program is not designed for students with advanced Japanese language skills. Ideally, students should be either at a beginning level (taking JPN 101 while in Japan) or in an intermediate level (taking JPN 201 while in Japan).


Students earn 12 credits while abroad. Students are required to complete GLS 277 in the spring term prior to studying abroad in the fall. All grades earned abroad affect your North Central College GPA when transferred back. You cannot take courses pass/fail.  

GLS 277 Seminar:  Study Abroad (0.00-2.00 credits)

A workshop in intercultural learning designed for students enrolled in North Central College study abroad programs. In this pre-departure course, students explore the concept of culture, compare cultural values, investigate social relations and communication styles, prepare for adjustment, and begin to develop intercultural competence. Journals are kept while students are in their host cultures; required activities and a final reflective essay are completed upon return.

GLS 387:  Seminar in China and Japan (3 credits)

Taught by an accompanying North Central College faculty member, this course focuses on East Asian cultures and is offered in both China and Japan. Topics vary according to the professor's field.

GLS 287:  Topics in Chinese Culture (1.5 credits)

Offered by faculty at BFSU, this course provides an introduction to Chinese culture, including field trips.

GLS 288:  Topics in Japanese Culture (1.5 credits)

Taught in Japan by faculty at Kyoto Gakuen University, this course provides an introduction to Japanese culture, including field trips.

Chinese Language course (3 credits)

Japanese Language course (3 credits)

To view and print this information in PDF format, please click here.

Housing and Meals

Accommodation in China:  hotel or dormitory rooms in China
Accommodation in Japan:  off-campus self-catered apartments in Japan

Meals in China:  meal plan provided at BFSU cafeteria (lower level of residence hall)
Meals in Japan:  students are responsible for all meals in Japan

*Accommodation and meals sometimes vary by year depending on program dates and available accommodation.

Estimated Costs

Participants pay North Central College tuition plus a $4,000 program fee. A $30 non-refundable application fee is due at the time of application submission. Fee includes all accommodations, meal plan in China, orientations, field trips, and health insurance. Fee does not include airfare, meals in Japan, departure tax, books, visa charges, extra personal travel, and spending money. Additional scholarships may be available through the Japan Foundation. North Central College based financial aid does apply.