Pepperdine’s International Programs office displays locations of 12 summer programs. Pepperdine will offer the Japan program for the first time summer 2023. Photo by Terra Hernandez
The Japan international program focues on the global economy and Asian culture and provides a different type of abroad experience for students said Charlie Engelmann, director of Asia programming for IP.
“One of our priorities is to provide students with cross-cultural opportunities designed to help them to think differently, increase empathy for others and grow as individuals,” Engelmann said. “We also recognize the importance of providing study abroad opportunities in geographically diverse parts of the world.”
Junior Camila Velayos, Public Relations and International Studies major, said she is looking forward to attending the Japan program because she is from Peru, a country with a large Japanese immigrant population, according to Statista.
“I’ve grown up surrounded by Japanese culture, so I’m really excited to experience it firsthand,” Velayos said.
“I learned about Mount Fuji and other elements like sakura and cherry blossoms that symbolize life and death in my history class,” Banda said. “When I saw that Pepperdine opened up this program, I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to fulfill this dream.”
Velayos and Banda said they both received their acceptance letters to the Japan program Oct. 14.
Banda attended the D.C.+ London IP during the 2021-22 academic year. She said it was a life-changing experience and inspired a love of travel.
“I grow the most when I am in unfamiliar situations,” Banda said. “I booked a last minute trip to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day and got first-hand experience of Irish culture. I’m excited to do the same in Japan and hope to expand my knowledge on a culture that is so intricate and unique.”
This is the first year Pepperdine will offer the Japan study abroad program after the University cancelled it in February due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Asia, Engelmann said.
“Last year the University made the difficult decision to suspend the program because Japan’s borders were still closed and students were not able to enter in May,” Engelmann said.
Pepperdine will offer ECON 211: Introduction to Macroeconomics, HIST 310: A History of Modern Japan and HUM 295: Enriching the International Experience, according to the IP website.
The course offerings, location and duration of the program were all reasons Velayos chose the Japan program, she said.
“Econ is one of the only GEs I have left, and Asia is the only continent I’ve never been to,” Velayos said. “I also want to get an internship next summer, so a four-week program worked best for me.”
The Japan program is aimed toward students who are interested in the global economy, international business and an alternative to the typical European study abroad experience, according to the IP website.
Engelmann said Japan provides a different study abroad experience because of its cultural learning opportunities and location.
Velayos said she is excited to take advantage of the travel and cultural opportunities she will have in Japan.
“I hope to go to Hong Kong and explore nearby countries,” Velayos said. “We also spend half of the time in Kyoto and then we go to Tokyo, so we get two experiences in one program.”
Engelmann said participants spend the first two weeks of the program in Kyoto, then travel east to finish the program in Tokyo. Engelmann said Pepperdine does not own any facilities in Japan.
“We are still in the process of confirming short-term living facilities, which will most likely be in hotels in Kyoto and Tokyo,” Engelmann said.
The experience of two cities in one international program gives participants the opportunity to experience the local culture fully, Velayos said.
Banda said she is also excited to travel with peers she met in D.C.
“My best friend RJ and I would travel every weekend when we both studied abroad in D.C. and London this past year, so we are excited to start new and exciting adventures,” Banda said.
The Japan program is Pepperdine’s only IP in Asia after the closure of the Shanghai program in March 2021 due to operational difficulties and low enrollment.
Engelmann said the University is searching for new locations for an international program in Asia.
“The University plans to establish a new year-round residential campus in Asia in the coming years and we are actively seeking out options,” Engelmann said. “Japan is one of many locations being considered.”
Velayos said she is excited about her personal and professional growth abroad.
“I love to travel and experience new cultures,” Velayos said. “I’m also excited for outside of the classroom learning and networking for the professional world.”
Pepperdine offers summer 2023 IPs in Buenos Aires, Florence, Heidelberg, Lausanne, London for General Education and Religion, Kenya, Fiji, Japan, Madrid, Uganda and internships in London and Washington, D.C.
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