CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DECISION TO STUDY ABROAD IN Japan!

We have outlined here TEAN’s six easy steps to studying abroad. Your TEAN Program Manager guides you through the entire process, reminding you when and what we need from you as you traverse along the journey to studying abroad. These six steps also include all the vital information you need to know as you prepare for your time abroad. If you can’t find the answers to your questions here, then don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Get Started

Overview

Snapshot

Congratulations! You have applied to a TEAN Japan semester program, so you are already one step toward the best experiences of your college life! This section walks you through how to complete your application, including paying your deposit, how to obtain a passport and check that yours will be valid for the duration you need, the best ways to contact TEAN, and all the important dates to mark down on your calendar now. As usual, if your questions are not answered here, don’t hesitate to contact us. Step 1: Get Started explained in 60 seconds.

TEAN Application

COMPLETE YOUR TEAN APPLICATION

1. If you haven’t already started your application with TEAN, you will need to visit the apply now page to start the process. You will be asked to pay a $95 application deposit that is counted toward your total program fees.

2. Once you’ve submitted your application and paid the application deposit, our team will review your application.

3. After your application has been approved by TEAN, you will receive an email from us with information on how to log in to your account and access your application.

4. Now you can start to work on the checklist items listed for your application. You will see a list of things that need to be worked on including the following:

    • TEAN Applicant Profile 
    • Copy of Your Passport – see the step by step instructions below (let us know if you’re renewing).   
    • Send the TEAN Statement from University electronically to your advisor at your home institution for completion 
    • Emergency Contact Info  
    • Academic Reference (if marked as required) 

As we move through the application process more forms and items will be added to your checklist by your Program Manager. So continue to check back for updates! 

5. Submit your most recent transcripts

In order for us to fully accept you into the program, we will need to review your official transcripts. For students studying in the Spring semester, we will need transcripts including grades from the previous Spring semester. For Fall students, we require transcripts including grades from the previous Fall semester.

There are two ways you can submit your official transcripts:

1. Request an official copy of your transcript be sent via mail to our office:

The EDUCATION ABROAD Network
5301 Southwest Parkway, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78735

2. Request an official copy of your transcript be sent electronically (directly from your Registrar’s office) to TEANtranscripts@teanabroad.org We are unable to accept documents that have been previously opened as they are then considered “unofficial.”

Program Acceptance

TEAN PROGRAM ACCEPTANCE 

Once you complete the required forms in your TEAN application portal, your Program Manager will let you know that you are accepted to the program!  Once accepted, we will provide information on how you will pay for your program. If we do not have a billing agreement with your home institution, you will receive your program invoice at this time. Payment is due by your program’s payment deadline. We’ll send you more information on how to make payment, using financial aid, and the option of a payment plan. Please be prepared to make payment by your payment deadline in order to move forward with the program.  You can review more information regarding finances here.  

PROGRAM CONTRACT 

Your TEAN Program Contract will be available in your TEAN application portal once you apply. You must sign and upload your completed Program Contract by your program’s payment deadline. Please familiarize yourself with the cancellation policy below prior to signing your  contract. 

CANCELLATION POLICY 

The below cancellation policy applies if a student chooses to withdraw.  For our policy covering TEAN cancelling the program, please see here. 

This policy applies to all cancellations, regardless of the reason. Your request to withdraw and receive a refund must be made in writing to TEAN. The $95 application deposit is non-refundable. If your application is denied due to eligibility requirements, your deposit will be fully refunded. Alternative payment arrangements (financial aid, payment plans, etc.) do not exempt you from this policy. Payment deadlines can be found on our Dates & Fees page. 

If you withdraw…  

  • on or before the TEAN original payment due date, you are liable for the $95 application deposit  
  • 1-9 days after the TEAN original payment due date, you are liable for $750 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf  
  • 10-20 days after the TEAN original payment due date, you are liable for $1,250 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf. Summer program participants are liable for $1,000 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf.  
  • 21 or more days after the TEAN original payment due date but prior to the final deadline for withdrawal, you are liable for $1,750 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf. Summer program participants are liable for $1,500 plus costs incurred by TEAN on your behalf.   

The final deadline to withdraw from any TEAN program is 14 days prior to the start date of the program. If you withdraw after this deadline, regardless of the reason for withdrawal, you are not eligible for any refund from TEAN.  

Signing and returning all documents in your student portal is your responsibility. If you fail to return the documents after repeated notification (email or call), you will be deemed withdrawn and will not be eligible for any refund.  

Housing confirmation fees are non-refundable after the TEAN original payment due date. If you change or defer to another TEAN program after your TEAN original payment due date, but prior to the final deadline to withdraw, TEAN will assess a $500 change fee plus costs incurred. Program changes are not permitted 1-14 days prior to the start of the program. Prior to your official acceptance, please refrain from booking flights for your program. TEAN reserves the right to adjust program dates to accommodate host university calendar changes and is not responsible for airline fare or ticket change fees incurred by program participants.   

Prices and dates are subject to change without notice. 

Passport

APPLY / RENEW YOUR PASSPORT

Obtaining a passport for international travel may take a considerable period of time, as the State Department often has a backlog of applications to work through. Therefore, it is crucial that you apply for your passport as early as possible to avoid any last-minute complications. You can apply for your passport at your local U.S. Post Office.

You can obtain necessary information regarding passports from the U.S. Department of State: Passport Services Department,  download passport applications, find a nationwide list of passport agencies, and more here.


VERIFY VALIDITY OF YOUR PASSPORT

As a condition of your student visa, your passport must be valid a minimum of six months beyond your anticipated return date. If your current passport is set to expire before then, you will need to apply for a renewal.


INFORM TEAN OF YOUR PASSPORT DETAILS

  1. Scan a copy of your passport page with your photo and information on it.
  2. Upload the scanned image to your TEAN application where it states, “Please upload a copy/photo of your passport (signature and picture page only).” Alternatively, email the scanned copy of your passport to your TEAN Program Manager.
  3. Enter your passport information under the section titled, “TEAN Applicant Profile.

Contacting TEAN

Contacting TEAN

Email is the primary form of communication during the application and enrollment period. Please provide us with an email address you use regularly, as important program announcements and instructions will be sent via email. Also, please check your email on a regular basis, and make sure to update your online application if you change your email address. Please also periodically check your junk mail to ensure that messages from TEAN are not begin filtered into “spam.” If they are, please add the TEAN email to your contacts. 

In addition, please be sure to include your full name on all correspondence (including emails). We work with many students, so providing your full name will ensure timely responses to questions and inquiries.

Mailing Address

The Education Abroad Network
5301 Southwest Parkway, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78735

Telephone and Fax

Toll Free: 1-800-585-9658 (from within U.S.)
Local Number: 1-312-239-3710 (from outside of U.S.)
Fax: 1-312-239-3713

Office Hours

TEAN is open Monday–Thursday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, and Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Central Standard Time and observes all major holidays. If these hours are not convenient, you may schedule a time outside of our normal business hours to speak with us. If you are currently living outside of the U.S., it is possible to set up a time to Skype and get to know your Program Manager.

Important Dates

Important Dates

We finalize our program calendar several months before each semester abroad. During that time, we work with our overseas partner universities in order to determine our orientation schedule. We will provide updated information pertaining to orientation, key semester dates, flights and excursions once our program calendar has been finalized. We will send you an email notification once the updated calendar information has been posted on the website so you can plan accordingly.

Once the program calendar has been finalized, we will post this information on our website and you’ll be notified by your Program Manager. While we do not anticipate any date changes once the calendar has been finalized, we reserve the right to make changes, particularly if one of our partner universities institutes their own date modification. All program participants will be contacted in the event of a date change.

Program Start Dates

The program officially begins at the start of our TEAN Orientation. Students arriving in advance of our orientation will be responsible for their own transportation from the airport and any necessary accommodations prior to the orientation start date.

Flights

Most airlines allow passengers to book either one-way or round-trip tickets at the time of booking their flight. Return dates can be changed, subject to availability, but program participants should initially book a return flight home no earlier than one day after their university exams are scheduled to finish. After receiving their final exam schedule, participants can change their return to an earlier date, if their schedule permits. Participants should not rely on professors allowing exams to be taken prior to the official exam date, as professors are under no obligation to accommodate such requests. For example, if the student’s last exam is December 17, they should not rely on rescheduling the exam so they can return home early.

DEADLINES AND CANCELLATION POLICY 

If you haven’t already, please start your TEAN application prior to your program’s application deadline.  Your payment for the program (unless we have a billing agreement with your home institution) and Program Contract are due by your program’s payment deadline. You can find both deadlines on our Dates & Fees page. You must also reach out to your home institution’s study abroad office to ensure you meet any of their deadlines to study abroad. 

Please review the cancellation policy in the ‘Program Acceptance’ section above for important dates should you choose to withdraw your application. 

Housing Dates

We provide housing until one day after the final day of university exams. Study abroad students generally finish their exams before the last scheduled exam date, so students should have plenty of time to prepare for their departure. Please also pay particular attention to the housing move-in dates. We are unable to make exceptions for early move-in requests due to the complexity of housing logistics.

Program Dates

Diversity & Identity

Diversity and Identity

One of our main goals at TEAN is to make sure all of our students are thoroughly supported from day one of the study abroad process. Embracing diversity in all its forms is very important to us. We’re dedicated to providing the most information and resources possible so students can make an informed decision on what program will best suit them, both academically and personally. We encourage all students to read through our Diversity and Identity page of our website to find resources useful for you directly and learn more about the students you will be studying abroad with.

Get Schooled

Overview

Snapshot

Congratulations again! If you’ve gotten this far you are well on your way to an experience of a lifetime! This section contains information on how to select your courses to ensure you get credit for them, financial aid and how to navigate the system to ensure your aid transfers, details of TEAN and other scholarships you may want to apply for. Step 2: Get Schooled explained in 60 seconds

Semester Academics

Read this first

  • The courses you select at this stage are for pre-approval. You will not formally register for your courses or receive your finalized course schedule until you arrive on campus.
  • Always choose at least 6-8 courses in order to have enough to select from in the event that you do not fulfill prerequisites or there are courses that overlap on the timetable.
  • Make sure to review your course selections with your academic advisor in order to ensure that your credits will transfer back to your home university.
  • Students take 16-20 J. F. Oberlin credits per semester.
  • Students will take one core Japanese language course (usually 2-6 credits, depending on the level) and 3-4 courses in English (usually 4 credits per class).
  • Per J. F. Oberlin University, 4 credits at JFO are equivalent to 3 U.S. semester credits or 4.5 quarter units. Your home university will determine final credit equivalencies.

about the courses

  • Courses are typically held Monday-Friday between 9:00am and 7:20pm.
  • All classes are 90 minutes long and meet 2-6 times per week.
  • You will be in classes with international and/or other TEAN students.
  • Courses are taught in English, with the exception of the language courses, which are taught in Japanese.
  • The academic system may be different than what you are used to in the U.S. You may have considerably fewer assignments throughout the semester, and often the final grade is heavily based on the final exam.
  • JFO University typically only offers 7-9 English-taught courses per term, so flexibility with courses is key!

selecting your courses

  1. Use the following links to see the available courses at J. F. Oberlin University. You must take one core Japanese Language course.
    Japanese Language Core Courses
    Japanese Language Elective Courses
    English Content Courses
    If you need syllabi, please contact your Program Manager. 
  2. Work with your home university to determine which JFO courses are approved for you to take.
  3. Once you have made your course selections, submit them online in your TEAN application in the form that should now be viewable called TEAN Course Selections

You will enroll in your courses once onsite in Japan.


courses

Japanese language courses

There are five different levels of Japanese Language courses. The Japanese Language program consists of core and elective courses that are offered in elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. You will be placed in one of the five levels in the core Japanese Language program, depending on previous studies and the results of a placement exam administered by J. F. Oberlin on campus.

The following shows the number of classes per week and the total amount of J. F. Oberlin credit hours for core courses:

  • Elementary (Levels I & II) – Meet 6 times per week for 90 minutes per class; 6 credit hours total.
  • Intermediate (Levels III & IV) – Meet 4 times per week for 90 minutes per class; 4 credit hours. total
  • Advanced (Level V) – Meet twice per week for 90 minutes per class; 2 credits hours total.
  • Japanese Elective Courses – Meet once per week for 90 minutes per class; 1 credit hour total.
CORE LANGUAGE COURSES*
  • Japanese I
  • Japanese II
  • Japanese III
  • Japanese IV
  • Japanese V
  • Japanese VI

*Taking one of these core language courses is mandatory

ELECTIVE LANGUAGE COURSES**
  • Advanced Grammar
  • Advanced Terms in Geography and History
  • Advanced: Academic Essay Writing
  • Advanced: Experiential Activities (a)
  • Advanced: Experiential Activities (b)
  • Advanced: Expressions in Japanese & Chinese
  • Advanced: Expressions in Japanese & Korean
  • Advanced: Listening/Note-taking
  • Advanced: Modern Pop Culture
  • Advanced: Newscasts and Newspaper Articles
  • Advanced: Occupational Communication
  • Elementary & Intermediate Grammar
  • Elementary & Intermediate Pronunciation
  • Elementary: Experiential Activities
  • Intermediate: Experiential Activities
  • Intermediate: Modern Pop Culture
  • Japanese (Tutorial)
  • Kanji I, II
  • Reading I, II, III
  • Speaking I, II, III
  • Writing I, II, III

**Please note these courses are all taught in Japanese and English syllabi are not available

COURSES TAUGHT IN ENGLISH***
  • Great Works of Japanese Literature 285045
  • Survey of Japanese Literature 285044
  • International Politics (Japanese Politics) 285028
  • Japanese Art (History) 285031
  • Japanese Art (Visual Culture) 285032
  • Japanese Art (Japanese Theater) 285062
  • Japanese Cinematic Art 285049
  • Japanese Theatrical Art 285033
  • Japanese Culture 285034
  • Modern Japanese Culture 285019
  • Modern Japanese History 285040 
  • The Japanese and International Society 285041
  • Global Society (Human Rights Issues) 285066
  • Global Society (Race & Gender) 285067
  • Japanese History (U.S.-J. Exchanges) 285039
  • Japanese History (Pre-Modern History) 285038
  • Compar. Human. (Fieldwork in Japan) 285051

***JFO typically only offers 7-9 of these courses per term

Summer Academics

CREDITS AND CONTACT HOURS

  • Students take 4 J. F. Oberlin credits per summer (2 courses).
  • Per J. F. Oberlin University, 4 credits at JFO are equivalent to 3 U.S. semester credits or 4.5 quarter units. Your home university will determine final credit equivalencies.
  • Make sure to review your course selections with your academic advisor in order to ensure that your credits will transfer back to your home university.
  • All classes are 100 minutes long and typically meet 14 times throughout the program.

ABOUT THE COURSES

  • The courses you select at this stage are for pre-approval. You will enroll in your courses once onsite.
  • Always choose at least one back-up course in order to have enough to select from in the event that courses are unavailable. 
  • You will be in classes with international and/or other TEAN students.
  • Courses are taught in English, with the exception of the language courses, which are taught in Japanese.
  • The academic system may be different than what you are used to in the U.S. You may have considerably fewer assignments throughout the summer, and often the final grade is heavily based on the final exam.
  • Students wishing to take the Japanese language course should learn the Japanese writing systems hiragana and katakana before the start of the program.

SELECTING YOUR COURSES:

  1. Check the ‘Courses’ section below to see the available courses at J. F. Oberlin University. If you need syllabi, please contact your Program Manager.
  2. Work with your home university to determine which courses are approved for you to take.
  3. Once you have made your course selections, submit them online in your TEAN application in the form that should now be viewable called TEAN Course Selections.

You will enroll in your courses once onsite in Japan.


Summer 2022 COURSES:

REQUIRED:

Students will be placed in one of two different levels in the core Japanese course “Japanese in Action” according to their Japanese language proficiency. For participants who have no study background in Japanese, they will be placed in Japanese in Action 1, whereas participants who have studied Japanese for a sufficient period of time will be placed in Japanese in Action 2.

  • Japanese in Action
    This action-oriented course is designed to have students make the most of the short-term study abroad environment by focusing on the situations that students encounter while in Japan. Depending on the level of proficiency, students will either learn basic grammatical structures and vocabulary or reinforce and fully utilize previously studied grammatical items while expanding vocabulary to accomplish more challenging communicative goals. Interaction with ‘class guests,’ or Japanese students who are brought in class sessions for various activities, is emphasized.
CHOOSE BETWEEN:
  • Experiential Activities in Japanese (Open to students at all proficiency levels)
    This course provides an opportunity to experience Japanese culture first hand with Japanese students through activities such as flower arrangements, calligraphy, visiting a Shinto shrine, and cooking activities while improving Japanese language skills. Plenty of opportunities are provided to use Japanese through various hands-on activities.

OR

  • Race, Gender, and Diversity in ‘Transnational’ Japan
    This course explores concepts such as social construction of race, ethnicity, and gender in a range of transnational perspective. The course encourages dialogue and debate, promoting students the capacity to interpret theories and case studies in local and global issues such as racism, gender inequality, poverty, and more to ensure a transnational perspective. Students will explore how socially constructed norms and identities shape individuals and society and how racialized and gendered individual or group negotiate in everyday politics. In doing so, the course offers a critical examination of the genealogy of racial formation, ethnic diversity, and gender relations in contemporary Japan. 

Course Approvals

Schedule Meeting with Academic Advisor

It is highly recommended that you have your academic advisor approve your classes before leaving if you wish to ensure you receive transfer credit. If you do not wish to receive any credit when you return home you may be able to forego the approval process. Some students negotiate the credit transfer issues when they return from their program, but at the very minimum you should at least meet with your academic advisor/dean before departure so they are fully aware you will be studying abroad. They will be able to help you select courses that will count toward your major and that will be easily transferable for credit when you return. 


Schedule Meeting with Study Abroad Office

Contact your study abroad office at your home university to discuss study abroad credit approval and other specific procedures to be completed for your program overseas. This is an important step as it may reveal crucial steps towards avoiding complications and making your transition abroad seamless. In addition, your study abroad advisor will need to sign our “Statement from University” form. You can send this to them from your online application.

Financial Aid

Schedule Meeting with Financial Aid Advisor

While we strive to keep our programs affordable, we recognize that many students need financial help. The good news is that most financial aid you may be currently receiving is applicable toward study abroad. Generally, you can transfer federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, that do not need to be repaid until after graduation.

See the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 102-325, 106 Stat.448): The act was reauthorized in the summer of 1992 to include a number of provisions to facilitate the use of federal financial aid for study abroad. (NAFSA:  Association of International Educators Newsletter, Volume 44, No 3/Dec-Jan 1993).

The U.S. Department of Education advised that the Perkins Loans, SSIG Grant Program, Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, Stafford Loans, SLS loans, PLUS Loans and Consolidation loans can now be used for study abroad. Your study abroad experience does not have to be compulsory for your degree program in order to apply your existing aid. Please contact your home institution financial aid office to discuss your financial aid options for study abroad.


FINANCIAL AID AGREEMENT FORM (FAA) 

The Financial Aid Agreement form (FAA) is completed by you and your home university. The FAA acts as proof of incoming funds and allows you to defer a portion of your payment until your financial aid awards are released, even if that is after your program start date. Note: If your entire program is covered by aid, a down payment is still required to confirm your participation in the program. More information will be available via a link in your TEAN portal. 

  1. Download the Financial Aid Agreement from your TEAN application 

 2. Read the information carefully and sign and date the student portion at the bottom 

  1. Send your signed FAA to your financial aid office and ask them to either send to info@teanabroad.org or return the form to you to upload to your TEAN application. 
  2. Pay your program’s down payment OR the balance not covered by aid (whichever amount is greater) by your program’s payment deadline.

For example: If your financial aid covers all but $700 of your balance and your program down payment is $1000, you would pay $1,000 by the payment deadline. This $1,000 would go towards your total program balance. 

If your financial aid only covers $5,000 of your $12,000 program balance, you would pay the difference ($7,000) at the payment deadline and then pay the remaining $5,000 once your aid is disbursed. 

  1. Pay your remaining balance once your financial aid is disbursed. Payment is due to TEAN within 5 business days of the date listed on your FAA form.

Your FAA is due by your program’s payment deadline. You can read more about financial aid and payment options here 


Consortium Agreements

If you are currently receiving financial aid (federal loans, grants, scholarships, etc.) from your home institution please follow these steps. The financial aid you currently receive may not be processed in the same manner and the same amounts may not be awarded to you.

Step 1:  Visit your home university’s financial aid office and inform them you will be studying abroad through TEAN. Ask them how much of your current aid will transfer for a study abroad experience. You will also need to check if there is additional paperwork specific to your home university.

Step 2:  Ask your financial aid office if they have a “consortium agreement” (do not worry if this is a foreign term to you-they will know what it is!) which essentially means they will complete all paperwork regarding your existing financial aid while you are studying abroad. This is the ideal arrangement as it makes the whole process easier for everyone. You will also need to have a TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form filled out that will be provided to you by your Program Manager.

Step 3:  If they have a consortium agreement, most likely they will have an existing agreement that is university specific. TEAN will likely have to sign this for you and send it back to them. It will not go to your overseas institution. The TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form should then be faxed or emailed to us.

Unfortunately, not all universities will sign a consortium agreement. If this applies to your school please consult us immediately for further guidance.

Please note: The financial aid process is very complex and adequate planning is necessary. You should contact your home institution’s financial aid office if you will, or think you may need to, apply loans or aid to your study abroad program. TEAN is not a lending institution so unfortunately, all financial aid and loan discussions will need to be made within your home university’s financial aid office.

Scholarships

Scholarships

In addition to the current financial aid you receive, you may want to consider one of our many scholarships. Each year TEAN awards thousands of scholarship dollars to qualified program participants.  Awards range from $1,000 – $5,000, and we have a range of categories that students may qualify for. In addition, there are scholarship opportunities available through several external organizations. Review details of the available study abroad scholarships. If you are a returning TEAN student, review the option to apply for our TEAN Repeat Grant as well. 

Get a Room

Overview

Snapshot

You will live in an off-campus, international dorm-style accommodations located a quick ride away from the J. F. Oberlin campus via public transport. Within a short walk from your front door, you’ll find many cafes, restaurants, and shopping. Step 3: Get a Room explained in 60 seconds.

Semester Housing Details

off-campus dorm

      • Management: J. F. Oberlin University
      • Location: Just a few minutes’ walk from Fuchinobe Station
      • Commute: Approximately 10 minutes by bus (free J. F. Oberlin shuttle to Machida campus)
      • The Dorm: Students will have a private dorm room that includes a bed, mattress, desk, chair, hanger rack, and wifi. The private rooms also include en suite bathroom facilities with a shower and toilet. There is a kitchenette with appliances that include a small refrigerator, kettle, and microwave oven. There are shared spaces within each dorm that include multipurpose meeting rooms and study rooms. There is also a shared lounge area with TV.

FAQs

Who will I be living with?
You will be living with international students and local Japanese students who are studying at J. F. Oberlin University.

Is there a meal plan I can purchase?
No, there is a not a meal plan. There is a university cafeteria nearby where you can purchase inexpensive meals. You will also have a small, basic kitchenette within your dorm room.

How do I do my laundry?
The building has coin-operated laundry facilities.

Can I request to live with my friends?
You will be allocated a single dorm room, so you will not have a roommate.

Which dorm will I be placed in?
Students on the TEAN program will be housed at Fuchinobe International House or Fuchinobe International House 2.

How do I get to the downtown areas of Tokyo?
Remember, J.F. Oberlin University’s Machida campus is located in the Machida suburb of Tokyo.  Your dorm is only a 10 minute bus ride from campus, but it’ll take around 1 hour 15 minutes by train to get to popular areas of Tokyo such as Tokyo Station and Shinjuku. Your dorm is a few minutes from the Fuchinobe station, so you can easily catch the train into the city.

Summer Housing Details

  • Accommodation: Students will stay in an extended stay hotel (designed for students/young travelers)
  • Commute: Approximately 25-30 minutes to campus by public transit
  • The Room: Students will have a private room that includes a bed, mattress, desk, chair, television, air conditioner, and hanger rack. The private rooms also include en suite bathroom facilities with a shower and toilet. Bedding is included and towels are available. There is shared kitchen space with cooking utensils included.
FAQS

Who will I be living with?
You will have a private room in a hotel.  Other summer JFO students will be housed in this hotel.

Is there a meal plan I can purchase?
No, there is a not a meal plan. There is a shared kitchen within your accommodation where you can cook your own meals. There is also a 24-hour cafe and restaurant onsite.

How do I do my laundry?
The building has coin-operated laundry facilities.

Can I request to live with my friends?
You will be allocated a single room, so you will not have a roommate.

Get Booked

Overview

Snapshot

It’s time to book your flights. It’s really happening, so get excited! This section details information regarding steps to booking flights for Japan. Step 4: Get Booked explained in 60 seconds.

Flights

Flights

The best route (and airfare) for flights to Japan will depend on your departure point in the U.S. Please read the below Steps for Booking Flights, Important Flight Booking Notes and FAQs in full before booking your flights.

Important: Do NOT book your flights until you have received instructions to do so by email from TEAN.


Steps for Booking

Step 1: Review the Flight Booking Instruction email sent to you by your Program Manager. Do not book your flights until you receive the instructions from TEAN by email.

Step 2: Read all the information on this page carefully and be sure to contact us with any questions to ensure you understand the flight booking procedures.

Step 3:  Review the arrival date and program end date. You must arrive at Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT) by 4:00pm local time on the designated arrival day in order to be eligible for the group transfer to your housing.  Students should book flights departing on or after the program end date. If you depart after the program end date, you may not be able to stay in TEAN housing beyond the end date.

Semester in Japan

Note on Arrival Timeframe: TEAN staff will meet you at the airport; we’ll send you the meeting point details about a week prior to your departure. If you arrive early, you will need to wait in the International Arrivals area. We recommend arriving in the early afternoon so that you have ample time to get through customs.  For anyone arriving after 4:00pm, you will be responsible for making your own way to accommodations. Your Program Manager will provide you with details on that closer to departure. It’s about a 2 hour journey from Narita airport to your housing.

Step 4: Decide if you intend to travel independently prior to or after the program dates, as this will impact your travel dates to and from the U.S.  Please be aware of visa restrictions pertaining to how long you can be in Japan on your student visa. Your student visa is only valid for the duration of your program; if you decide to stay after the program end date, you’ll need to visit immigration in order to change your visa status.

Step 5: Research travel itineraries and costs. To assist with your search, ensure you read the below “Important Booking Notes.” Before you purchase tickets, please feel free to contact us or send us your tentative itinerary so that we may ensure it is correct and/or the best routing for your situation.

Step 6: Book your international travel and upload your entire travel itinerary to your TEAN Application.


Important Booking Notes

  • TEAN recommends shopping around to find the best routing and airfare from your departing location.
  • Check out our partner travel agency, Student Universe. The key benefit to using a travel agent like Student Universe is the personalized service, particularly useful if flights are delayed, connections are missed, or if you have to change your flight for any reason. Create a student account and search for flights here, https://www.studentuniverse.com/travel-services/tean/affiliate/TEANflights, email travel@studentuniverse.com, or call +1 866-761-0068. Hours are: Monday-Friday: 9:00am – 6:00pm EST.
  • If you would like to compare airfares, please feel free to research flights online. We recommend flight search tools such as SkyScanner or Google Flights.
  • Students must arrive in Japan on or prior to the recommended arrival date. Please ensure that you have the correct arrival date when researching airfare options. Most flights arriving on the arrival date will have departed a day before; however this is not always the case, as sometimes a departure of two days prior will be required.
  • Provided you arrive on the official arrival date during the specified timeframe, TEAN will coordinate your airport transfer to your accommodations for the semester.
  • Your accommodations will be available starting on your arrival day. It will not be available for early move-ins.
  • Be careful when looking at arrival dates/times. Double check dates and times to ensure you arrive during the TEAN pick-up time window, otherwise you will need to book airport transportation and accommodations if you arrive outside the arrival window.
  • Airfare costs can vary greatly from one departure city to another. In the event that you live relatively close to more than one potential departure city, we encourage you to research flight options through each applicable departure location. Students may find that by driving to a slightly farther departure city/airport, they may save several hundred dollars in airfare costs.
  • Pay attention to any cancellation policies, ticketing fees, and baggage fees. Many great deals are non-refundable and have quite a few rules and regulations.
  • We recommend booking any domestic flights from your home city on the same ticket as your international flight in order to get international baggage allowances. This will also ensure that you will be booked on the next available flight in the event that a connection is missed.
  • We strongly encourage you to do your research on various websites before finalizing your flight booking to ensure you’re getting the best value. Keep in mind that sometimes sites like Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Hotwire, Priceline, etc. do not provide the best customer service in times of need (missed flights, getting rebooked, changing your itinerary, etc.). We recommend booking with Student Universe or with the airline directly.
  • We strongly advise you to consider purchasing trip insurance on all your flights, as you will be protecting a large purchase from possible interruptions to your trip.

Flight FAQs

Flight FAQs

How much should I expect the airfare to be?

The estimated cost for all international flights varies from approximately $1,500 to $2,500. This wide range is due in large part to the varying departure locations from within the U.S. (for example: New York, NY, versus Omaha, NE), as well as the return travel dates.

Why doesn’t TEAN offer a group flight for Asia programs?

Airfares for individual flights to this region are cheaper than group flights, and for this reason we provide advice on booking your flights individually.

 

What if I want to arrive prior to the recommended arrival date?

If you want to arrive a few days prior to your arrival date, that’s okay. You will need to book your own accommodations until the official program arrival date and will be responsible for your own transport to the semester housing. Your TEAN Program Manager will be able to provide you with details of the TEAN housing, and a time to meet up with the group on the arrival day. Note that airport pick up is only available if you arrive on the official program arrival date during the designated arrival window.  Your student visa is meant to cover only your program duration, so we don’t recommend arriving any earlier than a few days.

Does TEAN need my flight information?

Yes! We require that you upload your flight itinerary to your TEAN Application under “Upload Copy of your Flight Itinerary.”  If you make any changes to your flight, you will need to let us know.

How many bags can I have?

Check with your airline for baggage allowances, as they differ by airline and by international or domestic. We strongly recommend that you confirm your luggage allowance before you travel to avoid expensive charges for additional bags or overweight luggage.

Do I have to book a return flight?

You don’t have to book your return flight now if you’re not sure what your plans are going to be at the end of your semester. That said, booking both flights in one ticket is often more economical.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

How to Offset your Carbon Footprint

Team up with TEAN to reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from air travel!

What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is the action or process of compensating for carbon dioxide emissions produced from industrial or other human activity by participating in activities or programs designed to reduce the equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

How do I calculate my carbon emissions?
Visit the free Carbon Footprint calculator page to access a user-friendly calculator that will guide you through the quick process of calculating your carbon.  We encourage you to utilize the emissions calculator to estimate how much carbon is entering the atmosphere from your flight overseas. Through TEAN activities or utilizing companies that Carbon Footprint Ltd is associated with, you will have plenty of ample opportunities to offset your carbon throughout your semester abroad and better understand the many ways in which you can make a positive environmental impact.  The Choose Earth Team at TEAN is always happy to assist you with your calculations, so please don’t hesitate to ask us for help!

What can I do to offset my carbon emissions?
TEAN will suggest plenty of opportunities to Choose Earth while you are abroad that will help offset your carbon emissions from your international flight. Following their helpful tips and offsetting your flight is the best way to start reducing your overall carbon footprint while abroad.

If you would like to do more – and we hope that you do! We encourage you to donate the monetary amount estimated by the calculator through Carbon Footprint Ltd.'s partnerships with multiple certified eco-friendly companies. That way, you can directly contribute to programs that help offset the carbon emitted from your flights, helping to make a global impact. Contributions from climate conscious consumers assist in developing projects that promote clean technology. The beauty of this particular program is that you can choose from a variety of charitable causes that are personal to you, as opposed to a single monetary donation to an airline where you may not beg sure if your money is going exactly where you intend it to. Through Carbon Footprint Ltd, you have the power to choose when and how your carbon emissions are offset.

Get Documents

Overview

Snapshot

This section is very important. Before you jet off for the time of your life, you’ll need to apply for a student visa for your program. Please read this section carefully, and when the time comes, your Program Manager will guide you through the visa application process. 

Student Visa

Student Visa

All students will be required to apply for a student visa to study abroad in Japan. Your Program Manager will supply you with specific step-by-step instructions once you are eligible to apply, but it is important to understand the process and what you can expect.


visa application process

You will apply for your long-term student visa in person or by mail depending on the requirements from your consulate. TEAN will send the required documentation for your student visa, provided by J. F. Oberlin, and the official letter of insurance approximately 4-6 weeks before your departure to Japan. Until you receive the required documents from TEAN, you will not be able to apply for your visa.


cost of student visa

Currently, U.S. citizens are exempt from the Japanese student visa fee. TEAN has no control over the cost of student visas, and the fees may change at any time. We recommend reaching out to your consulate to confirm.

Students who do not hold U.S. passports may have to pay a student visa fee to their consulate. This fee can range from USD $10-$60.


processing time

Most Japanese consulates will be able to process your visa in 1–2 weeks. TEAN recommends applying for your student visa as soon as you receive the required documents from TEAN.

Get Going

Overview

Snapshot

It’s almost time! Now you just need to review some final information on insurance while abroad, follow our Japan packing tips, start planning how you will manage your money while abroad, review information on communicating while abroad, and read up on details on your arrival in Japan. Our Japan-based staff are looking forward to meeting you when you get off the plane in Tokyo! Step 6: Get Going explained in 60 seconds.

Pre-Departure Tips

Pre-Departure Quick Tips

Photocopy all important documents – Leave one set of photocopies with your parent/guardian and keep one set with you (on your person) as you travel. Important documents to copy include, but are not limited to: passport, airline tickets, medical insurance details and inoculation details.

Bring copies of important numbers/contact details – Details include, but are not limited to: emergency contact details (ie: parents/guardians), TEAN contact details (to be provided), arrival details (to be provided).

Exchange money in advance of your arrival – If possible, it is advisable to exchange some funds prior to your arrival. You can request from your local bank, but note this may take some time for them to order. Most international airports have currency exchange kiosks where you can exchange funds for a small fee. You may also choose to withdraw local currency at an ATM in the airport – just remember that your bank most likely charges an ATM fee for withdrawals! It is recommended that students have enough funds to get them from the airport to the accommodations (if necessary) and cover any initial expenses – the equivalent of $200 is enough to get you started for the first week.

Follow Arrival Instructions – Be sure to carry all airport arrival instructions, which will be sent to you prior to your departure by your Program Managers. This will be extremely helpful in the event you are unable to locate your guide at the airport.

Be Flexible – Students are encouraged to be flexible at all times. You will experience things that are done differently in Japan, than in the U.S. – embrace the differences and you will have an amazing time!

Bring a positive attitude and a willingness to experience new people and surroundings!

Insurance

Health Insurance

TEAN requires that all international students possess health insurance coverage for the duration of their studies in Japan. Enrollment is automatic, and the cost of this insurance is included in your program fee.

TEAN is proud to partner with Chubb, an established worldwide leader in the educational travel and cultural exchange insurance market. Chubb is committed to providing comprehensive insurance coverage to international students and cultural exchange participants worldwide. Coverage provided through health insurance typically includes:

  • $500,000 of coverage per injury/illness
  • 24-hour worldwide emergency assistance
  • $100,000 for emergency medical transportation, evacuation, and return of mortal remains
  • Diagnosis, treatment, and surgery by a physician
  • Operating room charges
  • X-rays for outpatient services
  • Dressings, drugs, and medication requiring a prescription

There are limitations to this medical insurance, including dental and optical services. If you have any existing health concerns, contact your current insurance provider before you leave.


Personal Articles Insurance

We recommend students put anything of value i.e., digital cameras, jewelry, musical instruments, cell phones, laptops, etc. on a Personal Articles Policy (many homeowners already have this policy so students most likely can add their items onto their parents’ Personal Article Policy). This insurance often covers the full value of the items worldwide, with no deductible. Typically, items valued up to $3,000 can be covered for an approximately $30 premium. We encourage students to take pictures of item(s) and note their model, make and serial number, as well as save receipts when possible. Purchase of this insurance is left to the discretion of the student and his/her parents.


Travel Insurance

Trip insurance is highly recommended and is NOT included in TEAN program fees. We recommend considering supplemental trip insurance to protect against unexpected mishaps (i.e. lost luggage) that can occur while traveling. Plans range from $100–$350 and can be purchased through various insurance carriers. If you would like to discuss plans with TEAN’s recommended travel liaison, please contact Student Universe at 602-253-4743.

Health & Safety

Safety abroad

We are committed to the health and safety of every participant. It is very important that students make informed decisions about their study and travel destinations. We continually monitor the safety and security of our study abroad program locations as well as popular student travel destinations. We continue to advise students of the safety and health risks associated with studying and traveling abroad based on the information from the U.S. Department of State travel warnings, local law enforcement, the Japanese government, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the World Health Organization.


Emergency response plan

We have created an Emergency Response Plan for our study abroad locations that will be implemented by both our Resident Director staff in Japan and our U.S.-based staff. Our staff will work with students, parents, and study-abroad staff at both the student’s home and host university to provide the most up-to-date information regarding any situations that may arise while studying abroad. Participants will be given Emergency Contact Information before they depart the U.S. and be briefed at orientation on specific instructions to follow in case of an emergency.


TEAN Protocols

In the event of a health emergency, serious accident, natural disaster, crime, or death, each program location has a contingency plan that can be activated. TEAN will contact participants, their emergency contacts, and home universities in the event of such a situation.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this plan is a guarantee that any specific action will be taken in any given situation; nor is anything in this document a contract or part of a contract between TEAN and any other party; nor is any statement in this document intended to sell a service to a prospective customer, nor to attempt to persuade any party to avail themselves of any program or service provided by TEAN. Health, safety, and recovery from emergency situations are the sole responsibilities of each individual participant.


after-hours urgent line

TEAN personnel are available to assist you with an emergency 24/7. In addition to having access to a Resident Director and instructions on contacting Police/Fire/Ambulance in your host country, you and your family will be able to reach us after hours in the event of an emergency. Although TEAN personnel will not always be your best resource to resolve an issue directly, we work in conjunction with our partners and colleagues on the ground to make sure students get a quick resolution in crisis situations.

Please call 1-800-585-9658 or 312-239-3710 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm CST. For urgent assistance after business hours, please call 574-239-6545.


Tips for Personal Safety

Emergency Contacts: Be sure to designate a parent or guardian as your Emergency Contact. This way, information regarding an emergency situation will automatically be passed on to the appropriate person. Please make sure to provide us with your Emergency Contact’s most up-to-date contact information.

Communication Information: Provide TEAN with accurate and up-to-date contact information regarding your cell phone, address, and email address. Be sure to notify a parent or guardian and the Resident Director in case of an emergency.

Keep Others Informed: Tell others (your roommates, your parents or guardian, your Resident Director) your travel plans. Keeping others informed will make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.

Stay Informed: Research the political, cultural, and social climate of your study and travel abroad destination before heading overseas. While abroad, read local newspapers and watch local news broadcasts for developments that may affect your health and safety. If you have questions, please contact TEAN either in the U.S. or abroad.

What about anti-foreign sentiment? Although individual Americans are generally well-liked abroad, there can be negative feelings toward U.S. government policy. Participants are urged to use common sense, avoid overt displays of American patriotism, and avoid all public demonstrations.


Vaccinations

It is recommended to have general vaccinations up-to-date including tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, etc.

Please note TEAN requires all students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate on programs. If you have any questions, please contact your Program Manager.

If you have any health conditions that may cause issues, please make sure to consult a doctor before departing.


Relevant Travel and Safety Links

State Department Travel Warnings
Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization
U.S. Embassies

Packing Tips

Packing List

The packing list provided is only a suggested list. Triple check to ensure you have everything necessary!

Essentials to Pack in Your Carry-On
Also listed on your Arrival Information that we’ll ask you to print and keep with you

  • Passport/visa
  • Arrival Information (to be supplied by TEAN prior to departure)
  • Proof of negative PCR COVID test within 72 hours of flight (must be printed, original test result in English or Japanese)
  • Your TEAN Housing Address and Contact Information (will be provided to you)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including facemask(s) and hand sanitizer; check with your airlines to ensure you meet their requirements.
  • Airline confirmation numbers and flight itinerary
  • Money (cash, debit/credit cards, etc.) and Japanese currency. We suggest obtaining this before you leave the United States. More on Finances While Abroad to follow.
  • At least three photocopies of important documents (student visa, passport, driver’s license, credit/bank cards, flight itinerary, travel insurance info, etc.). Bring one set with you in your carry-on and store the others in various places in case your luggage or wallet is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home.
  • Prescription medicine and a note/proof from doctor (Only a 3-month supply in original packaging is allowed. Contact us for instructions on what to do if you need more.)
  • Snacks for your flight (no dried meat, fruit, or vegetables)
  • At least one change of clothes

Suggestions on What to Pack

  • Bring clothes that you can mix and match or layer.
  • Bring travel-sized toiletries and buy full-sized items abroad.
  • Bring luggage you can carry/transport easily and check only one bag
  • Bring a small backpack for short weekend trips.

Suggestions on What to Leave Behind

  • Expensive jewelry, flashy clothes or handbags may make you a target for thieves or pickpockets.
  • Delicate or dry-clean only clothing.
  • Extra toiletries – you can buy these in Japan, so save room in your luggage.
  • Electrical appliances, including hair dryer, straighteners, curling irons, etc. – you can purchase them in Japan (otherwise you will need a voltage converter and electrical adaptor).
  • All kitchen supplies – utensils, pots/pans, crockery/glasses.
  • Bedding/linens – TEAN has arranged for a bedding pack to be provided in all accommodations and a towel can be purchased cheaply upon arrival.

Packing Tips from TEAN

  • If you’re planning to have additional courses approved once you’re on campus, you should bring a current academic transcript that reflects your most recent semester grades.
  • “Less is more” – it sounds like a cliché, but it’s true! Believe us. Leave behind about half of what you think you’ll need.  
  • Pack lightly! Overweight bags are a great way to blow your budget before you get to Japan.
  • Seasons can vary (windy, cool, damp, hot and humid). Google average temperatures in your destination.
  • Keep in mind clothes will probably be air-dried, as dryers are less common abroad.
  • Label your belongings, especially your luggage.
  • Refer to your airline carrier’s website for current baggage restrictions on international flights.

 

Baggage allowance

For exact baggage restrictions (including dimensions and weight), check your airline’s website. Be sure to check the luggage allowances for all the airlines you’ll be flying. If you will exceed one checked item, it is generally more economical, safer, and easier to pay the airlines for additional checked baggage versus shipping items to Japan. It’s typically cheaper to pay any additional baggage fees prior to arriving at the airport, so we recommend contacting your airline to add any additional bags prior to travel.

Arrival

Arrival and Airport Pickup

Please upload a photo of your flight itinerary to your TEAN portal.

Specific arrival details will be provided to you prior to departure. In general, you will need to arrive within the allocated arrival window provided to you during the flight booking process.

It is your responsibility to notify TEAN in a timely manner if you experience flight delays and/or itinerary changes.


Contact Information

Prior to your departure, your Program Manager will provide you with contact details for all key TEAN personnel, including your Resident Director, as well as information on your local embassy and emergency contacts.
Once in-country, TEAN will provide instructions and an emergency contact card so students will always have a list of TEAN contacts, emergency services contacts, and embassy contacts.

TEAN Orientation

TEAN Orientation

Upon arrival in Tokyo, our in-country staff will host you for a two-day orientation to introduce you to life in Japan. This orientation is designed to set you up for a successful semester abroad, both academically and culturally. The first day will cover everything you need to know about the university, semester, and living in Japan. On day two, you will head out on a Tokyo city tour, visiting sights around the Shibuya, Harajuku, and Asakusa neighborhoods, while getting to know the public transportation system. End the evening with a fun group dinner making okonomiyaki, a tasty savory pancake, right at the table.

Your TEAN Program Manager will forward you further details about the orientation program approximately 2–4 weeks prior to your departure.


university orientation

Your host university will hold a formal orientation as well, lasting from one day to one week. This orientation is mandatory. Topics discussed may include health and safety, medical facilities, security, university-sponsored trips and activities, and academic enrollment/expectations. Although there may be some overlap, your university orientation will touch on specific details for your campus.

Communicating While Abroad

Contacting Home

Below are some suggested ways that you can easily stay in touch with your family and friends while studying abroad.

We recommend setting up a contact plan before you depart, deciding how and when you’ll be available while abroad. Whether you prefer daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly check-ins, it’s good to have a consistent way to get in touch, as well as back-up alternatives in case of an emergency. While studying abroad can be a time to spread your wings and become more independent, it’s important to regularly touch base with your loved ones so they don’t worry while you’re away.

No matter which method you choose, we recommend downloading your preferred applications before leaving home and testing them out to make sure any accounts and contacts are set up properly.

Local SIM Card

Your Resident Director can help you purchase a SIM card that can be used for calls, texting, and data. Phone plans vary depending on location, and more details will be provided by your Program Manager. It is recommended to only use your U.S. phone number to call home in cases of emergency since long distance calls can be expensive. There are plenty of other ways to call internationally for free or very cheap (keep reading!).

Unlocking your Phone

In order to use the local SIM card, you need to make sure your phone is unlocked and able to accept SIM cards from other mobile carriers. “Unlocking” your phone means that your phone is not locked to one specific carrier. If your phone is unlocked, you will be able to use a foreign SIM card while you are abroad. If you’re unsure if your phone is unlocked, it’s important to call your current service provider to check. If you cannot get your current phone unlocked, you will need to bring a different unlocked phone from home or plan to purchase a phone while in your host country.

International Phone Plan

If you don’t want to purchase a SIM card, you can keep your U.S. number and opt for an international phone plan. In most cases, this allows students to utilize their phone domestically in their host country and internationally. The cost of this can vary based on service provider. If you are interested in this option, you should get in touch with your phone service provider to obtain the relevant fees and service options. Be sure to consider costs for dialing local numbers, as it can sometimes make an international plan undesirable for calls within your host country.

Purchasing a Phone in Country

Purchasing a phone in Japan is a viable option if you do not want to or cannot use your current U.S. phone. Reasonably inexpensive phones can be purchased in all locations for costs anywhere from $40 to $100 depending on quality This may be a good option for a student who is looking to use a phone for just texting and calling while in country, as non-smart phones can be purchased cheaply in most countries. If you are worried about losing your U.S. smartphone, you may want to consider purchasing an inexpensive phone in your host country.


Free International Contact Options

While all students will have access to a local number, there are free ways to get in touch with people around the world while connected to the internet or data.

Skype

Skype allows free chat, audio calling, and video calling between users while using WiFi or data. This allows for calls between two parties both using the Skype app. The Skype app can be downloaded onto your phone, tablet, and computer. You can also purchase Skype credit, which allows you to call international landline and mobile phone numbers directly (so both parties don’t need Skype accounts). These calls typically cost around $.05 for the connection and $.03 per minute, making it an affordable option.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook’s Messenger app allows free chat, audio calling, and video calling between users while on WiFi or data.

iMessage

While we don’t suggest going out of your way to purchase an iPhone for this option, it is a great feature for students who have these phones already. iPhones use iMessage and FaceTime while on WiFi or data at zero charge to the provider plan.

Other free messaging apps

You probably already know or use WhatsApp, which allows free chat, audio calling and video calling between users while on WiFi or data. WhatsApp is popular outside of the U.S. as well.

Email

It may seem obvious, but email is a great way to continue to stay in touch with people back home regardless of the time differences. If your host institution gives you a new school email, but sure to update friends and family with the email address you will be checking most frequently throughout your program.


Internet services

Internet services will vary for those students living in university managed accommodations, but all students will have access to internet services in their accommodations and on campus at their host universities.

Finances While Abroad

currency in japan

The Japanese currency is the yen (¥ or JPY), and it is the third most traded currency in the world. Japanese banknotes come in denominations of ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000. Coins come in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen. ¥1 and ¥5 coins are rare, and almost all prices are rounded to the nearest ¥10.

Conversion rates may fluctuate depending on economic conditions. The latest rates can be found at www.xe.com/ucc.

ATMs and Banking

ATMs in Japan are widely used and quite common, so you will have easy access to withdrawing money. If you’re using a foreign card or cash card, you need to find an ATM with a logo of your credit card company. Most international ATMs at 7-Eleven stores accept all major international credit and debit cards. This includes Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, and JCB cards. Your bank can confirm whether your card belongs to one of these networks. ATMs can be found outside of banks and post offices and inside deluxe hotels, subway stations, department stores, and convenience stores. You might not find ATMs in rural areas or on some of the lesser-known islands. So, if you plan on venturing somewhere off the beaten track, it’s best to withdraw money beforehand.

Always choose to be charged in the local currency. ATM withdrawals offer the best deal on the exchange rate, provided you choose to be charged in yen, the local currency. Choosing to see the transaction shown in your home currency gives the ATM permission to give you an arbitrary (generally much less favorable) exchange rate for your withdrawal. Keep in mind that Foreign Transaction Fees are often associated with withdrawing money from an ATM, sometimes up to $5 charged by both the Japanese bank and your U.S. bank every time you withdraw money. To avoid numerous charges, consider taking out larger sums of money and then storing it in a safe place in your accommodations.

Opening a Japanese Bank Account

Some students decide to open a bank account while in Japan. This option is recommended for semester or yearlong students only. To open a bank account, you will need your passport and a local cell phone number. After you open your bank account, it’ll take approximately two weeks for your account to be activated. In order to apply, you will need to consult your on-site staff for more detailed information. With a Japanese bank account, you can have money wired to your account directly from home and use the card to withdraw cash from the ATMs of that bank located throughout Japan without transaction fees.

Credit/Debit Cards

While cash is more widely used in Japan than credit cards, TEAN strongly recommends that all students carry at least one credit/debit card. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted types, with some high-end hotels and restaurants accepting American Express with a “Plus” or “Cirrus” mark. Debit or credit card transactions typically yield a good exchange rate. Be aware that certain transactions may require the use of a PIN number while you’re abroad. Please contact your financial provider for more information.

Taxes and Tipping

In many shops and restaurants in Japan, the prices on purchase items are what you will pay, no tax or extra cost is added. Therefore, in many cases if it is stated that a meal costs 4,000 yen, that is what you pay. However, some shops and restaurants have started adding an 8% consumption tax onto purchases.

There is no tipping culture in Japan. In cafes, bars, spas, and taxis, tipping is not expected, although many people simply leave some of their coin change after picking up their drink or tell the taxi driver to keep the change. In some higher-end, western-style hotels and restaurants, you may tip.

Helpful Tips

  • It’s a good idea to have multiple ways to access money while you are in Japan. Having access to multiple forms of payment (cash, credit card, debit card) could help you avoid the headache and expense of having funds wired to you in case of theft or loss.
  • TEAN recommends that you bring around $200 in cash to get you started. You can bring U.S. dollars and have them converted in Tokyo or, you can ask your U.S. bank to provide you with yen prior to your departure. Keep in mind some banks may have to order foreign currency, so it’s best to do this a few weeks prior to departure
  • Although things are changing, Japan is still a cash society. Large retailers, hotels, and restaurants will accept credit and debit cards, but smaller outlets likely will not. Be prepared to carry cash.
  • Before you leave, contact your bank and/or credit card company to:
    • Notify them where you will be studying abroad and any countries you anticipate visiting.
    • Ask about fees/charges you can expect when using your debit/credit card(s) abroad.
    • Ask if your bank has any “sister banks” in Japan.
    • Make two photocopies of all credit and bank cards – one to keep with you in a secure place while in your host country and one to keep with a trusted family member or friend back home.