Summer in Asia
Japan & South Korea

Gap Year Friendly

Live and learn in two of Asia's most vibrant cities.

Experience two of the most dynamic, traditional, and modern industrial countries and cities of the world: Tokyo and Seoul! On this unique multi-country program, live and learn in two neighboring yet distinct countries, regarded for their cuisine, pop culture, design, technology, and cultural heritage. Multi-country excursions and insightful tours and classes help you explore the world’s most dynamic region. Expect to meet locals, learn new languages, and immerse yourself in cultures across Asia.

What to Expect:

  • Language: Options in English, Japanese, and Korean
  • Average Courseload: Japan: 1 course, South Korea: 1-2 courses (6-9) U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5
  • Visa Requirements: NONE Required!


  • Study Japanese and Korean, or choose from a variety of subjects in English
  • The best of both worlds: serene campus settings with easy access to the vibrancy of Tokyo and Seoul
  • Abundant interactions with locals between classes, clubs, and cultural activities
  • Exceptional support, including orientations, city tours, group meals, and support staff on- and off-campus
  • Unique insights and comparisons gleaned from a short but intensive experience

Program Details

J.F. Oberlin University - Shinjuku Campus

J.F. Oberlin University was founded in 1946 based on the principles of ministry, education, and philanthropy, operating by the motto “Learning to serve others and working for the common good.” At J.F. Oberlin University, students grow and learn not only in the classroom but through excursions and activities such as cultural encounters and exchanges with locals. There is variety of clubs and events that contribute to an engaging, holistic campus life experience that blends Japanese and global cultural influences.

J.F. Oberlin University is a private four-year university with approximately 10,000 students among one main campus and two branch campuses. This program takes place at the Shinjuku branch campus. Located in the center of Tokyo, Shinjuku is one of the liveliest areas of the city in terms of business, commerce, and entertainment.

Kyung Hee University

With three museums (a Natural History Museum, Cultural History and Antiquities Museum, and a map museum) Kyung Hee University is steeped in history – and the academic study of it. The Central Library boasts an archives room featuring materials published in North Korea and by the pro-North Korean residents’ league in Japan. It’s the perfect location to study up on the political history of one of the most contentious borders in world history.

Kyung Hee University’s values are best articulated through a description of their mascot, the Laughing Lion, and their mark, the Magnolia. To them, the Laughing Lion “embodies the human capacity for both inner ferocity and magnanimity, and the ability to overcome the self to show consideration for others.” The Magnolia, a well-known cultural symbol in South Korea due to the South Korean song “Magnolia Blossom,” symbolizes the university’s resilience, beauty, generosity, and unity.

After class, students can take in the natural beauty of the “campus within a park,” gaze up at the Neoclassical and gothic buildings that feel like they’ve been borrowed from the District of Columbia, and sample foods from the on-campus eateries (featuring Korean food, hamburgers, and a bakery). To meet other students, join the cheering squad or the International Friends and Culture Club.

Areas of study with at least 2 classes available

  • Korean
  • Communications

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Business
  • Humanities
  • Japanese
  • Natural & Applied Sciences

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study with 8 or more classes available

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Course Load
1 course in Japan, 1 – 2 courses in South Korea, providing the equivalent of 6 – 9 US credits

COURSEWORK IN JAPAN: J.F. Oberlin University

At J.F. Oberlin University you will have the opportunity to study intensive Japanese language, Japanese popular culture, or international relations.

Choose one of the following courses:
268900 Japanese Anime and Popular Culture
268901 International Relations
268910 Japanese Language Beginner
268911 Japanese Language Intermediate


Global thought leaders from the world’s best institutions teach courses at Kyung Hee University. Kyung Hee University’s Global Eminence Program offers coursework in three themes.

The main theme for Summer 2023 is “Humanity, Civilization and Global Governance: New Horizons”. Courses are subject to change based on availability.

The following courses are on offer for Summer 2023, with links to the course syllabi (more forthcoming):

Global CSR & Sustainable Development

Sustainable Development Goals: Impacts and Limits for the People and Planet (Afternoon)
Climate Change: Science and Policy (Afternoon)
Global Citizenship: Issues and Practice (Afternoon)
ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) and the Role of Business (Morning)

Peace & Global Governance

International Relations: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Morning)
The United Nations and Global Challenges (Afternoon)
The Innovative Role of NGO in Global Civil Society (Morning)
Tasks Ahead for Peace and Security in East Asia (Afternoon)

Humanity & Civilization

Global Appeal and the Uniqueness of Korean Culture (Morning)
Korean Language I, II (Afternoon)
D.E.I (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) for Social Peace and Harmony (Afternoon)
Artificial Intelligence and Humanities (Afternoon)
From Big Bang to Civilization and Beyond (Morning)

Why Life in Tokyo & Seoul

Huge, stylish, exciting, bold, and incredibly fun—Tokyo is a one-of-a-kind city. The Tokyo metropolitan area is the most populous place in the entire world, and it’s home to absolutely everything. You can step from a bustling market into a quiet park, from a frenetic dance club to a serene temple. The best thing to do in Tokyo is to embrace it all, including the food, the festivals, and the karaoke.

It would take several lifetimes to explore all that Tokyo has to offer, but CIS Abroad will show you some of the best sites during the Summer in Tokyo program. The university and its housing are smack dab in the middle of all the action. Every day will be filled with unforgettable sights and scenes, Tokyo style.

South Korea has everything: the longest subway system in the world, one of the most efficient writing systems, large and abundant forests, AND the world’s fastest internet connections (Take that, Netflix lag!). Seoul is a “dynamic city” that, according to Lonely Planet, “mashes up palaces, temples, cutting-edge design and mountain trails, all to a nonstop K-Pop beat.”

Still have stars in your eyes from the 2018 Olympics opening ceremony? You’re in luck! Just a 2-hour train ride from Pyeongchang, Seoul is the 9th most visited city in the world and the 4th largest earner in tourism.

Live The Local Life

  • Mt. Fuji

    Ride the fastest Japanese train, the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Tokyo station to Shin Fuji station. At the station, you can see a dynamic view of Mt. Fuji. Climb up to the top of the mountain to see more amazing views of Japan. Take the Bullet train further to Kyoto city. Stay overnight in a Japanese inn, and walk around the ancient capital city.

  • Largest Fish Market in the World

    Be sure to go to Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo - the largest fish market in the world! Try to get to the market early so you can watch the auction for freshly caught giant tuna fish. Enjoy the freshest sushi possible and/or the market's exceptional ramen!

  • Visual & Performance Art

    Take a selfie in the wildly colorful Ihwa Mural Village, a revitalized artist neighborhood adorned with murals and filled with galleries, cafes. After, check out these gems within walking distance: Lock Museum, Ihwa-dong Village Museum, and Blacksmith Museum.

  • Local Cultural Festivals

    No shortage of celebration here! Seoul boasts the Lotus Lantern Festival, the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival, the Seoul International Fireworks Festival, and the Seoul Kimchi Making & Sharing Festival, among many more.

Housing in Tokyo


Participants stay in double rooms at a local hotel in downtown Tokyo. Room sizes are modest, but do include an en-suite bathroom, kitchenette, and a private space to relax and focus on work. Experience what it’s like to live in a cozy, space-conscious room that often feature fold-away furniture. The hotel is in a quieter neighborhood but within walking distance to Tokyo’s highly efficient public transportation system. Commute time to classes will be 25-30 minutes by train.

Depending on the timing of your program, you may stay in a different location than the one pictured, but the experience and amenities will be comparable.


Part of your experience will include sampling some of the amazing cuisine that Tokyo has to offer on this program! While participants should budget for eating out, hotel rooms will each have some basic appliances for preparing light meals and snacks. The following are provided so you can prepare some of your own meals when not dining out or taking advantage of campus meal services:

  • Microwave
  • Electric kettle
  • Mini fridge
  • Hot plates may be available upon request

Inclusions and Amenities

  • Air conditioning
  • Bed linens
  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • Desk
  • Hair Dryer
  • LaundryOn-site
  • Microwave
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, & Body Soap
  • Television
  • Towels
  • Wi-Fi

Housing in Seoul


Students will be housed in double rooms in on-campus residence halls. Each room is furnished with a bed, closet, bookshelf, desk, telephone and internet access. The residence hall has study rooms, a lounge, a rooftop lounge, gym, ping pong room, and small shop.


This housing doesn’t come with a meal plan, but there is a convenience store and cafeteria in the dorm with really affordable dining options. Students can also eat elsewhere on campus (or off-campus) at other cafeterias or restaurants. Kyung Hee has such a big campus that there are tons of options!

Inclusions and Amenities

  • 24-hour security
  • Air conditioning
  • BathroomEnsuite
  • Bed linens
  • WalkingCommute
  • Desk
  • Double Room
  • Fitness Center
  • LaundryOn-site
  • Study Areas
  • Wi-Fi

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • Airport transfers
  • Airfare between Tokyo and Seoul
  • Welcome dinner
  • City tours
  • Excursions
  • Various social and cultural activities
  • Official transcripts
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • On-site support

Welcome & Orientation

Upon arrival, you’ll get familiar with the hotel-apartments and neighborhood. Visit local convenience stores and markets and practice taking and learning about the city subway and train system. Then head to campus to check out the facilities, clubs and school activities, and learn about excursions.

Upon arrival, take part in both the university and CIS Abroad orientation program. You’ll learn the “dos and don’ts” of living in Seoul, South Korea. We’ll discuss topics like where to go to enjoy some social, cultural and recreational activities, how to stay safe, and where to shop. Also enjoy a welcome meal, something traditional and yummy, as Korean cuisine is known to be one of the best in the world.

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

Though you’re not an astronaut returning from space, re-entering your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system – especially after living in such lively major metropolitan areas like those of Tokyo and Seoul. We’ll walk you through some of the things to expect, help you reflect on your time abroad so you can remember the highlights. And, of course, there’ll be one last delicious meal before you go!

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.


Together with local University students, this excursion will take us on a short subway ride to Asakusa, an area in Tokyo not far from the Tokyo Sky Tree where you will have free time for shopping, visit the famous Sensoji temple as well as the well known Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate) structure.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Experience and learn about the tradition of the tea ceremony with fellow University students where you can perform some of the traditions, enjoy the pure form of Japanese tea and sweets in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony room on campus.

Bamdokkaebi Night Market

Bamdokkaebi Night Market

Discover unique and experimental treats made by creative young chefs at this food truck market, open only two nights per week at Yeouido Hangang Park. At night, traditional and modern cultural performances are held against the backdrop of the Han River. Learn about one-of-a-kind handmade items created by artists and designers in a nearby cute shopping street packed with tents.

Site Director

Steve Hamade
Travel Tip:

I always try to adjust to the time difference prior to arrival by pulling an all-nighter either the night before my flight or during the flight as required. I used to always pick up a good book or two as well, but now I just carry my kindle.

Travel Tip:

I always try to adjust to the time difference prior to arrival by pulling an all-nighter either the night before my flight or during the flight as required. I used to always pick up a good book or two as well, but now I just carry my kindle.


Hailing from Toronto, I spent the first part of my life in Canada. Armed with a BA in Philosophy, I eventually joined the JET Programme as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) to explore my Japanese-Canadian heritage. I anticipated a brief 2-3 year stint, aiming to pursue an MBA thereafter, but shifted course and transitioned from rural Japan to Tokyo. My trajectory encompassed two roles in private education companies. I’m thrilled to be partnering with CIS Abroad. Family inspires me, and I’m a sports enthusiast who cherishes karaoke and onsen — major factors that tied me to Japan, along with meeting my wife and starting a business.

Tatum Shannon
Travel Tip:

Walk as much as you can! If you find a neighborhood you like, set out on foot and get lost down some side streets. Who knows what you could find – cute cafes, hidden restaurants, or local hotspots you would have never been able to find otherwise!

Travel Tip:

Walk as much as you can! If you find a neighborhood you like, set out on foot and get lost down some side streets. Who knows what you could find – cute cafes, hidden restaurants, or local hotspots you would have never been able to find otherwise!


I graduated from Florida State University with dual degrees in International Affairs and Chinese Language and Culture. After graduation, I received a Fulbright teaching grant to South Korea where I lived in Sejong City for about 2 years before moving to Seoul. I have taught students of all ages from elementary to college and worked with international students coming to the US and US students coming to Seoul! Currently, I am receiving my degree in International Area Studies at Seoul National University with a focus on China and South Korea. In addition to South Korea, have studied abroad in Dalian and Tianjin in China and Taipei in Taiwan!

Your Support Staff

Advising and Enrollment
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!


Kaylee Klinger, our student advisor and 2x CIS Abroad alum, can help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal objectives. It’s not always an easy choice, but you can’t go wrong! Once you’ve decided, we’ll guide to you submit an online application.


Once you’ve submitted your initial application and the fee, you’ll be assigned a Program Enrollment Coordinator. We’ll work closely together to guide you through the enrollment process and prepare you for a life-changing experience!

Britni Purcell
Travel Tip:

Find ways to connect with your host community – the language, everyday activities, common gathering places. You’ll discover that you can gain the most genuine and life-long friendships just by trying to immerse yourself into the culture.

I highly recommend learning some of the language, even a few phrases, before going abroad for an extended amount of time. Don’t be afraid to mess up speaking – though you will likely say something wrong and hilarious (I’ve got too many instances in Korean to count), that’s part of the process and the locals will definitely appreciate the genuine effort!

Alexandra Woolner
Travel Tip:

Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Mar 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: June 8 (Estimated)
  • Departure: July 20 (Estimated)
  • Price: $7,490 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.