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  • Locations: Hiroshima, Japan; Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Kyoto, Japan; Nara, Japan; Osaka, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Tokyo, Japan
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: Elon applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:
Location HousingItineraryCancellation PolicyCostScholarships / GrantsLinksMore Information

Japan rising sun photo

Course Description


For the last 70 years, Japan has been the most important and integral ally of the United States in Asia.  Japan’s unique culture created a vibrant economy and an innovative business environment that has become a global force to be contended with in the fields of technology and manufacturing and a model for other countries in the region. This course will investigate the modern-day complexities rooted in the ancient historical past in the land of the Rising Sun. It is aimed at understanding how international trade, business and economic activity influence culture, politics, wealth, and society across this region and the world.

In order to better understand Japan, it is useful to study its two largest regional competitors in the global marketplace: South Korea and China. The history and economic development of these three countries have been intertwined for millennia.  Although though their paths may appear similar to outsiders, they have often forged ahead in different directions. Japan was the first to start in the direction of state-sponsored industrialization which led it to become the fastest growing economy the world had ever seen until South Korea and later China adopted Japan’s model of export-led economic growth and innovative management practices of just-in-time inventory and kaizen, or continuous improvement. 

Japan now finds itself in new territory, no longer the innovator. It is a country with an aging population, high levels of government debt, and recent unseating as the dominant economy in the region to China. Japan provides a natural case study to understand the economic and geo-political evolution of a rising China for the United States. The effects are wide ranging and include massive governmental policy (Abenomics), restructuring of the economy and changes in the Japanese psyche itself.  Students will integrate these issues and form a deeper philosophical approach to them with regards to international business and economics.
This course is designed to create an immersive and impactful academic and cultural experience in less than one month.   It is based on an innovative case-based experimental model which includes engaging with executives and management teams at firms such as Coca-Cola, Google, Takeda, Hyundai, VF, Li and Fung from, immersing in interactive seminars with experts at universities such as Kansai Gaidai, Hong Kong Baptist University and Sungkyunkwan University and experiencing Japanese culture and language from local students. We will also be visiting historical and cultural sights of significance in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul as well as visiting an array of multinational corporations and entrepreneurs. 

About the Location

Hong Kong is a city that’s evolved from a cluster of simple fishing villages to a global financial powerhouse. Hong Kong has a rich history being a former British colony and has a unique government. Hong Kong has served as a model for economic growth for mainland China and the region. Today Hong Kong boasts Gross Domestic Product of $321 billion. Hong Kong is also a marvel of urban design with over 7 million residents in a tiny footprint making it the 4th most densely populated place on Earth. Explore with us Hong Kong’s unique history, culture and economy. 
Seoul is the capital city of South Korea, with a thousand things to do and see. We will be visiting the Gyeongbokgun Palace, witness the Royal changing of the Guards ceremony which has been taking place since 1469. We will be visiting the Presidential Blue house and the Jogyesa Temple, which is the center of Zen Buddhism in Korea. The North Seoul Tower will be a highlight comparing to some of the similar experiences in Tokyo to the Sky tree tower and perhaps visit the Bukchon village having the opportunity to learn and visit the traditional houses called the ‘Hanok.’ and immerse ourselves in the restaurants, tea houses and traditional culture.  It is a bustling metropolis where the skyscrapers, high tech subways and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces and avenues lined with shopping and street markets.
Kansai Gaidai University, where our course is based, is located in the city of Hirakata (pop: 405,000), 30 minutes by local train from Osaka, Japan’s third largest city, and Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. Located in the cultural heart of Japan, Kansai Gaidai provides an excellent starting point from which to begin exploring of a land that, by anyone's standards, is truly fascinating. We will visit several of the key cities in the Kansai region for cultural immersion and business visits. Students will have access to all Kansai Gaidai facilities including on campus McDonald’s, Seattle’s Best, library, fitness centers and more. Day trips to Osaka, Hiroshima,  Nara and other various places will be available.  
Tokyo is a place where tradition and popular culture collide. Tokyo is known for its ancient temples and shrines among the glittering shards of glass and steel from the modern world. Tokyo is Japan’s never sleeping city with seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture and dining. It is the capital and the largest city in Japan with 23 special wards and 39 municipalities and a population of more than 37 million residing in the bustling metropolis. It has historical, cultural modern sights to visit and is the leading financial global industrial center in Asia; it is ranked third in the global economic power index and fourth in the global cities index. It is deemed an expensive city, but is one of the most vibrant dynamic and visually and cultural stimulating cities around the globe. 


Experience a mix of Western style hotels and traditional Japanese community living. 

Hong Kong:
We begin our course in Hong Kong, you will stay in either a 3 or 4-star western type hotel with double occupancy similar to The Salisbury Kowloon. The accommodations will be centrally located in great neighborhoods such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai or Central with excellent access to the entire city via MTR.

Seoul is our second stop where you will stay in either a 3 or 4-star western type hotel with double occupancy similar to the Crown Park Hotel in Myeongdong. The hotel centrally located in Myeongdong with access to great neighborhoods such as Hondae, Gangnam, Gwanghwamun and the rest of the city via metro.

Kansai Gaidai University:
While at Kansai Gaidai University you will stay in one of four seminar houses, traditional Japanese student housing. These accommodations offer tatami-mat Japanese style rooms with double occupancy; a desk, closet, and futon (bedding) is provided for each resident. The Seminar House offers a computer room, TV lounges, kitchens and dining rooms, a common shower room on each floor, and a coin-operated laundry.

Finally, we arrive in Tokyo where you will stay in a 3 or 4-star western style hotel with double occupancy similar to Shibuya Tokyu Rei Hotel in a centrally located area such as Shibuya, Shinjuki or Ginza. 


Tentative Itinerary

Program dates are slated as June 3 to June 26, 2019. 
2019 Tentative Itinerary

Part 1: Hong Kong, China (5 nights)

  • Guided tour of Hong Kong and the Pearl river delta
  • Compare and contrast Japanese business culture with Chinese business culture first hand through a business visit in Hong Kong and/or an interactive talk with an expert in the subject matter
  • Explore parts of Hong Kong in small breakout groups
  • Experience the vast night markets and unique Cantonese Cuisine

Part 2: Arrive in Seoul, South Korea (4 nights)

  • Stay in the heart of old Seoul.
  • Guided tour of Gyeongbokgun Palace with changing of the guard ceremony, Presidential “Blue House,” Jogyesa Temple
  • Han River Cruise
  • Interactive Seminar at Sungkyunkwan University
  • Business visit relating to case-based discussions with executive-led meetings 

Part 3: Enter the land of the rising sun and ancient heart of Japan, the Kansai Region (9

  • Develop an understanding of economy and business environment through interactive seminars with experts in their respective fields covering case-based topics in international business, economics, intercultural team building and Japanese art lead
  • Learn and explore Japanese culture with Japanese students from Kansai Gaidai: sing karaoke, get Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) and learn how to make sushi
  • Three academic day trips to nearby cities such as Kyoto to “trace the steps of the shogun"
  • Live in traditional Japanese style dorm rooms.

Part 4: - Japan’s city that never sleeps: Tokyo, Japan (5 nights)

  • Stay minutes from the busiest pedestrian crosswalk in the world, Shibuya!
  • Guided tour of Tokyo to learn about Meiji Dynasty, stroll grounds of Imperial Palace, find peace at the Meiji Jingu Shrine and experience the hyper-modern neighborhoods of Ginza and Odaiba.
  • Several business visits relating to case-based discussions with executive-led meetings.
  • Experience a traditional tea ceremony
  • Evenings free to explore your karaoke skills
Note: Itinerary is subject to change due to availability of local facilities and scheduling issues.


Cancellation Policy

To cancel your participation in a program, complete the Short-Term Program Cancellation questionnaire in your application.

Students submitting a cancellation form for Summer Term Programs are subject to the following payment schedule:

March 1, 2019: Deposit refund deadline.*  Students accepted to this program that cancel after this date will not have the deposit returned.
March 22, 2019: Full payment deadline.
March 22-April 1, 2019: Students that cancel between these dates are responsible for 50 percent of the cost of the program.
April 2, 2019: Students that cancel are responsible for the full program cost.

*If students are not notified of GEC Access Scholarship support before the deposit refund deadline, they will be offered a deposit refund deadline extension at the time of scholarship notification.

Note: You are responsible for the costs noted above if you cancel regardless of whether you have paid the program fees at the time of cancellation.

Deposit Refunds - If you have paid the deposit and are cancelling your participation prior to the deposit refund deadline, the amount will remain as a credit on your account to be applied towards the following semester’s billing. If you have any questions about your deposit, you may contact the Bursar’s office at or 336-278-5300.


View the summer 2019 budget sheet.

Scholarships/Travel Grants

GEC Access Scholarships are designed to help provide access for all undergraduate students to participate in an Elon-approved Global Engagement (study abroad or Study USA) program. The application for a GEC Access Scholarship is a questionnaire embedded in the outgoing program application--there is no external application. Please see the GEC Access Scholarship brochure for information on eligibility, conditions, and notification. 

For additional information on scholarships or other funding for global engagement, see the Financial Planning for Global Study page.

Students can apply for summer financial aid through Elon University in person in the Office of Financial Planning in the spring semester. Summer financial aid applications are due May 1.  

If you qualify for a travel grant through any of the fellows or scholars programs, see the appropriate program director for more information on how to apply the grant to your global engagement program. Visit the Deadlines and Events Calendar for travel grant deadlines.

Additional Links

Read blog posts from students on this program in years past and access blogs for Faculty-led programs on the Study Abroad Blog.

Connect with the GEC, global engagement alumni, and prospective students on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And keep in touch with us using #ElonGlobal! 

Contact Global Ambassadors to learn more from global engagement alumni. Global Ambassadors are GEC student representatives that have participated in one or more study abroad or Study USA programs and have been trained to help you prepare for your own global engagement. They are looking forward to hearing from you!

For More Information

Program Leader 1: Tina Das
Department of Economics
CB 2075, KOBC 132

Program Leader 2: Mark Kurt
Department of Economics
CB 2075, KOBC 134

Isabella Cannon Global Education Center
Global Commons 360
2375 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
336-278-6700 (phone)
336-278-6692 (fax)

Japan rising sun photo 2

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 03/01/2019
Rolling Admission 06/03/2019 06/26/2019
NOTE: Below are the application deadlines for this program.

Early Action Period: October 9 to 11:59 p.m., November 15. Students that would like an early answer on their application status and scholarship support may apply Early Action. Students that apply Early Action will be notified of their status by December 4 and GEC Access Scholarship support by January.

Rolling Period: November 16 to 11:59 p.m., March 1. Applications submitted within these dates will be reviewed within two weeks of submission in the order received as space is available. Students must complete the GEC Access Scholarship questionnaire by March 1 to guarantee consideration. Students will be notified of GEC Access Scholarship support by April.

All applications for this program, whether submitted Early Action or Rolling, are non-binding until the deposit credit deadline, March 1. Please view the deadlines page for payment and cancellation information.

The start date and end date listed reflect the dates students are expected to arrive in and depart from the host location and reflect the best information available to the Global Education Center. Please do not purchase plane tickets based on these dates. Individual programs will provide updates after your acceptance to the program.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applications will be reviewed on a space-available basis and applicants will be notified of their application status within two weeks of submission.

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.