Universities Call off Japan Study Abroad Programs

Posted by: Alison Damast on March 22, 2011

In the last week or two, U.S. universities have been frantically working to get students studying in Japan back safely to the U.S. Now, those with ties to Japan are turning their attention to the future, with many canceling planned spring study abroad programs in the tsunami-and earthquake-ravaged country. The move comes as the U.S. State Department again urged travelers this week to avoid Japan, where workers are still battling a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility.

Here’s a list of some of the programs that have been called off:

• The University of California has canceled its upcoming Spring Quarter Abroad program to Kyoto, according to a statement from UC’s Education Abroad Program. Grace Crickette, chief risk officer for the UC system, announced last week that the school was evacuating all of its students from Japan due to “difficult-to-predict risks,” she said.
• Boston University has canceled its participation in study abroad programs in the country, asking students who were supposed to begin a semester at Keio University in Tokyo later this month to cancel their plans.

• The University of Notre Dame has called off a spring semester abroad program in Tokyo. Three students were scheduled to leave for the program on March 27, according to a school release .
• About a dozen George Washington University students studying or planning to study abroad in Japan this spring will be relocated, after the university canceled undergraduate study abroad in the country for the entire semester, according to an article in the school newspaper.
• The University of Pittsburgh is requiring students studying in Japan to return to the U.S. and has canceled scheduled trips for six students to Japan this spring, according to an article in the school newspaper .

Readers, have you been affected by any of the cancelations or evacuations? If so, please share your experience with us. If your spring study abroad plans have changed, what are you planning to do instead?

Reader Comments


March 24, 2011 2:45 PM

I am supposed to study abroad for the spring semester but because of the recent events, the university I am planning and studying at postponed the semester, and the current school is advising that we don't go but we can if we still want to. I am still planning on going to japan for the semester on this new revised schedule despite what is going on.


April 5, 2011 7:54 PM

I have taught Japanese in a public school since 1992.
Every May our school would go to
Chiba for a two-week school homestay
study tour. Also as of two years ago, every March, Chiba schools would send students to stay in homes here.
We were lucky enough to have just hosted our students from 3/17 to 3/28/11.
Our May 2011 trip has been cancelled.
I am trying to decide how to give my saddened students the equivalent of the experiences of a Japan trip.
Any suggestions?


April 13, 2011 8:15 PM

I am a university professor based in Kyoto. Everything is normal here. Our teaching, doing research etc. It is totally unnecessary to cancel exchange programs or research trips to areas other than those directly affected by the earthquake. After all Japan is not that small!


April 21, 2011 3:41 AM

My Study abroad program was canceled and I was on the southern part of Japan in no danger what so ever. Now I have lost a semester that i can not get back and was forced to say goodbye to people i was supposed to stay with until august. Now I have to wait to take classes again until august. California Thanks for caring so much about my well being how about doing something instead about my tuition that just keeps getting higher and higher each semester! im sorry my [problems are] nothing compared to what the people in the affected areas of Japan are going through but its so frustrating and i cant do anything.

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