Niigata University emblem with the university name
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Title: USCO Special Student Exchange Program (Program C)

page title: Summer Course at Niigata University: Lessons from Contemporary Japan

<Revised on 1 February 2018 (Syllabuses are now open.)>

From Monday, 20 August (students' arrival in Niigata)
to Friday, 31 August (students' departure from Niigata)

with usual two classes:
Environmental Problems and Development of Policies in Japan" class
during the first week (21-24 August) and
Japanese Experiences from Various Perspectives" class
during the second wee
k (27-30 August)
each with two credits.

On the basis of the "credit transfer" principle of UMAP
(taking credits at other UMAP member universities and
transferring the credits to the student's home university),

Niigata University welcomes motivated students
who want to study these two classes (two credits each) of the program,
not just to experience Japan.
Please check the syllabus of each class and confirm your commitment to these classes.

(It is possible that you take only one of these classes.)
(Those who just want to experience Japan are not admitted to this program.)

No program fee is needed.
However, students must pay for accommodation
at a hotel in downtown Niigata because the University dormitory is not available,
flights and other transportation to/from Niigata, meals, etc.

Please submit your application through your university because the student exchange is
based on the agreement among UMAP member universities,
not on agreement between individual students and Niigata University.

Information of the UMAP summer programs by UMAP member universities announced on Friday, 6 April.
Applications to the UMAP secretariat for the Niigata University's 2018 UMAP summer program
must be submitted by Tuesday, 8 May through your university.

The process which must involve the student's home university is shown below.

Information of lodging
No dormitory is available in Niigata University for this program. There are no hotels or hostels nearby.
Therefore Niigata University reserves a certain number of rooms near the Niigata train station for students.

The Program of Niigata University provides students with an opportunity to study lessons learned in Japan in historical and contemporary perspectives in terms of environmental policies, economic management, regional relations, and international development cooperation. In this regard, two classes are given, i.e. Environmental Problems and Development of Policies in Japan by Prof. Miyata for the first week and an omnibus class, Japanese Experiences from Various Perspectives by several professors for the second week with two credits from each class. (In 2017 when the Program was given as the second part of the UMAP Japan program, only the second class was given, although a part of the first class was given as a part of the second class. ) The classes include not only lectures in class rooms but also site visits so that students can effectively learn the reality of the "lessons".

The "outline" of the 2018 program submitted to the UMAP Secretariat on 1 February 2018 (excerpt)

Visits in the 2017 program

Outlet of the waste water from
the chemical plant
that discharged waste water into
a river without any treatment

Niigata Minamata Disease Museum
(before the lecture started)

Tsubame Industrial Museum

Lecture on her internatinoal development cooperation
in Tanzania in 1970-72
as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV)
and currently in Rwanda as an NGO member.
Special in 2017

Opening ceremony in Niigata
(Welcome statement by Prof. Sato,
Director, Global Educaiton Center,
Niigata University)

Welcome statement by Prof. Takahashi,
President of Niigata University and
Chair, UMAP Japan Committee
Visits in the 2016 program

Hydropower plant that provided
electric power to the chemical
plant that caused Minamata

Outlet of the waste water from
the chemical plant
that discharged waste water into
a river without any treatment

Yamakoshi village hit by an earthquake

Tsubame Industrial Museum

Lecture on her internatinoal development cooperation in Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) and also as a JICA Expert
Visits in the 2015 Program

Visit to the former chemical plant
that discharged waste water into
a river without any treatment from
this outlet.

Lecture by a volunteer Witness
of Niigata Minamata Disease

A bus of Niigata University used for site visits.

Visit to Yamakoshi village which
seriously suffered from an earthquake
in 2004

Visit to the Economic Research Institute
for Northeast Asia (ERINA)
(The left photos with courtesy of a student)
Feedbacks by some of the 2015 participants
Text message by Lee Sheng-Fang
Video report by the same student (Fourth (last) in the video)
Visits in the 2014 Program

Visit to the former chemical plant that released mercury into a river,
which caused Minamata Disease in Niigata

Before listening to a lecture
by a Witness of Minamata Disease

Presentations by students in Prof. Sakikawa's class

Visit to an industrial museum
of the crafts unique to the region,
such as cutlery or tableware.
Students had a hands-on experience
of manufacturing spoons
by themselves.
Visits in the 2013 Program

Visit to the place from which waste water containing organic mercury
released into the river without treatment, a lecture by a volunteer Witness
of Minamata Disease, and a group picture there.

A brief stop at the Yahiko
Shinto Shrine on the way back
from a visit to the Tsubame
industrial materials museum

A small evening party
Visits in the 2012 Program

Visit to the place where
organic mercury which caused
Minamata Disease was
released into a river 
After a lecture by a Witness
of Niigata Minamata Disease
Visit to an Earthquake Museum
Visit to a village which suffered
from an earthquake in 2004

Tuition will be waived. But students must cover their personal expenses including for accommodation, international transport to/from Niigata, local transport in Niigata, meals, medical insurance (This is essential.), etc. No accommodation is available in the campus during this period but rooms at a hotel will be reserved in downtown area of Niigata City near the Niigata train station. Students are not allowed to stay at another place.

Assistance will be provided by Niigata University Student Exchange Division for visas. However, visa is not necessary for a short stay of the holders of certain passports. Please check the visa page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (visa waiver information: AND the recent situation at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate because rules may change. The period of stay granted at the time of the landing permission for the visitors from the visa waiver countries will be "15 days" for Brunei, Indonesia, and Thailand, and "90 days" for other countries and regions.

Arrival at Niigata Airport
Express bus between Niigata Airport
and Niigata train station

Arrival at Niigata train station

Train to Niigata University
The 50-year old model is being replaced by this newly manufactured model since December 2014.
You may experience both 50 years old Japan and latest Japan on the trains.
Because the Niigata train station is under reconstruction to elevate tracks,
it may take time for transfer from a train to another. Trains going to Niigata University on Echigo Line
now start from the elevated tracks (nos. 2-5). (Two temporary tracks (nos. 8-9) remain on the ground
but these are not used by the trains for Echigo Line to Niigata University.)

Because this is a program under the USCO (UMAP Student Connection On-line) of the UMAP (University Mobility for Asia and the Pacific), students from those universities participating in the USCO and the students of Niigata University (including those studying at Niigata University as exchange students) are eligible for this program.

This is a program for undergraduate students. Graduate students are not eligible. (The participants must be formal undergraduate students (The participants must pay tuition for August 2018 to their home universities.) until the Program ends.)

Language Proficiency requirement: TOEFL 500 (iBT 61) or equivalent (No need for a certificate. Student's declaration or his/her English language professor's declaration of his/her capability equivalent to TOEFL 500 is accepted.)

Medical Insurance: Students are required to purchase in advance an international travel insurance or another medical insurance valid for medical expenses in Japan (Students should expect up to 10,000 Yen for simple treatment at a clinic for a simple cold or stomach problem. There is no medical institution in Niigata to which payment is made directly by any travel insurance company. Therefore students must pay to the medical institution and request later for reimbursement to the insurance company. Most medical institutions do not accept credit cards or debit cards. Payment must be made by cash at most places.
(Medical institutions in Niigata City that accept credit cards (in Japanese) - The information of this web site is not verified.)

Syllabuses of the 2018 classes

Please feel free to send inquiries to for administrative issues including application forms, visas etc. or for academic issues such as the classes.

The whole program of the Course by Niigata University

Classes usually start at 8:30. However, due to the late breakfast at the Hotel and the train timetable, the classes for this program will be delayed for 30 minutes than usual.

Students are supposed to check in at at the holtel on Monday, 20 August and check out on Friday, 31 August.

First week

Mon. 20 Aug Tue. 21 Aug Wed. 22 Aug Thu. 23 Aug Fri. 24 Aug Sat. 25 Aug. Sun. 26 August
Arrival of students
(No official activities)
Environmental Problems and Development of Policies in Japan
by Prof. MIYATA Haruo
No official activities
1st and 2nd
Lecture Lecture Lecture A visit to the former pollution source (in the morning) and lecture by a Minamata Disease Witness at the Niigata Minamata Disease Museum (in the afternoon) on the bus of the University

(2015 visit to Niigata Minamata Disease Museum)
Afternoon Lecture Lecture Lecture

Second week

Mon. 27 Aug Tue. 28 Aug Wed. 29 Aug Thu. 30 Aug Fri. 31 Aug
Japanese Experiences from Various Perspectives
by several professors (syllabus)
Departure of students (No official activities)
1st and 2nd
Experiences from Regional Disaster Prevention

by Prof. FUKUOKA Hiroshi, Director, Research Institute for Natural Hazards & Disaster Recovery
Japanese Management
by Prof. SAKIKAWA Takashi, Graduate School for Management of Technology

9:00-10:30 Lecture
10:30-10:40 Break
10:40-12:00 Case
studies of the
business in students'
countries (presentions
by studetns and
Asia-Pacific International Relations and Japan
by Prof. Zhang Yun, Global Education Center
Japan’s Experiences in International Development Cooperation
by Prof. MIYATA Haruo, Global Education Center
Afternoon 12:00-19:00
Visit to natural disaster-related areas: Orataru Museum for Reconstruction and Exchange and a few other places in former Yamakoshi Village

(The departure time may be changed in accordance with the place for lunch.) 
Visit to Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum
Place to be decided. Meetings with former JOCVs (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers)

* The theme of Wednesday, 29 August has been changed from Prof. Sawamura's civil movements to Prof. Zhang's Asia-Pacific relations and Japan due to unavailability of Prof. Sawamura for 2018.

Pdf file of the above table. (82KB)

Information of the 2017 program for reference (pdf, 2.4 MB)

Information of the 2016 program for reference

Information of the 2015 program for reference

Information of the 2014 program for reference

Information of the 2013 program for reference

Information of the 2012 program for reference

How to come to Niigata

It is recommended that students arrive at Niigata Airport. Because this airport is small with only one international exit, only one domestic exit and only one bus stop, passengers do not get lost. Also, they do not have to wait for a long time for immigration procedures. Take a bus (either express or local) from the Airport to Niigata train station. Arrival at this Airport may be either by an international flight from Seoul (Inchon) by Korean Airlines (The number of flights per week is chaning, but, with many international connections to many places from Inchon, Korean Air is convenient.), Shanghai by China Eastern Airways (Wednesday and Saturday only), Taipei by Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) (Monday and Friday only), or by a domestic flight from a major airport. However, it should be noted that Tokyo area has two airports (three if Ibaraki Airport is included.) with only Narita having flights to Niigata (by ANA) (one flight each day in late afternoon from Terminal 1), that Nagoya area has two airports with only Centair having international flights, and that Osaka area has three airports with only domestic Itami Airport having flights to Niigata. Passengers may easily get lost in moving from the an airport to another on land.

If you arrive at Narita Airport and want to take a train to Niigata, firstly take a JR train (either expensive Narita Express or reasonable but infrequent rapid) to Tokyo train station and then take a Jo-Etsu Shinkansen train to Niigata unless you take a domestic flight to Niigata moving from an international section in either Terminal 1 or 2 after immigration procedures to the domestic departure area in Terminal 1. From Narita Airport, taking a JR train is the least complicated way to come. If you use a regular train ticket, going to Tokyo by Keisei Railways via Nippori or to Ueno slightly saves money. However, changing trains in Tokyo may not be easy.

If you arrive at Haneda Airport near downtown Tokyo, take either Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsu-cho or Keikyu train to Shinagawa and then take JR Yama-no-te Line or Keihin Tohoku Line to Tokyo station to take Jo-Etsu Shinkansen train.

From Narita or Haneda Airports, a "JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area)"is reasonable at the price of 18,000 Yen (purchase within Japan) or 17,000 Yen (advance purchase in your country). This pass allows the holder to ride on all trains of JR East in the Tokyo, Niigata and Nagano areas on any five days within a 14-day period after it has been issued at a train station. As it costs 11,000 - 14,000 Yen one way between Narita Airport to Niigata by a regular ticket, you can save money with the JR East (Niigata, Nagano) Pass. Please check whether this Pass is available when you come to Niigata at the following page:

Changing money

Changing money into Japanese Yen may be done in your country at a better exchange rate. Currencies other than US dollar and Euro may not be exchanged or will be exchanged at a substantially weaker exchange rate because the demand for such currencies is quite small in other countries.

However, if you want to exchange your money in Japan, please change money on arrival at an airport in Japan. In case you have failed to do so, please do so at a bank near Niigata train station open between 9:00 and 15:00 on week days only.

It is also possible to change money at the Travel Service Cener in the JR Tokyo train station near the Marunouchi North Exit from 7:30 to 20:30 if you pass through Tokyo station (Tokyo train station map).

You many not have sufficient time to go to a bank to change money during the class period and banks are closed on weekends except at major airports (The bank/money exchange in the Niigata Airport is open on weekdays only and between 9:00 and 15:00 only. Credit cards are accepted only at major business establishments. Foreign debit cards are not accepted for purchase at almost all places in Japan. But foreign ATM/debit cards are accepted for withdrawal by ATMs of the Seven Bank located at many of the Seven-Eleven shops.

The Niigata University Post Office may change money from US dollar or Euro to Japanese Yen.

Preparations to stay in Niigata

Questions and answers on the basis of the questions received in 2012

Costs, what to wear, and many other questions
(But the time table there is too old. There is no UMAP Scholarship in 2018.)

新潟大学の学生のためのUMAP C情報

The classes given in this program are G classes of Niigata University. Therefore students of Niigata University, including exchange students studying there, are eligible for these classes. Application for the classes should be made in the web in principle. However, application cards are also accepted, although the application cards do not mean automatic approval of the applicants' taking the class because there is an upper limit of the capacity of the bus used for excursions.




UMAP ウェブサイト

UMAPフェースブック (このUMAPフェースブックに新潟大学のフェースブックへのリンクがありますが、その内容は、UMAPや交換留学とは)関係ありません。)