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CIP ( Community Involvement Project )

What is the CIP, and how does it fit in the KCJS curriculum?


The Community Involvement Project (CIP) is a unique opportunity which enables you as a KCJS student to go beyond the four walls of the classroom into Japanese society, both within the university setting and in local communities. All students are required to participate in the CIP as part of the Japanese language program. By developing direct and meaningful ties with Japanese people, you will learn how to put your language skills to real use in tangible ways that relate to your own interests, and you will develop a more nuanced and refined understanding of various aspects of Japanese culture. The experience, knowledge, and skills gained from the CIP will be helpful in your future personal, academic and professional pursuits.

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What kinds of opportunities might I explore through the CIP?

You can participate in the local community either by becoming a member of a group with similar interests, or by finding a personal mentor. The four broad areas in which past students have found appropriate activities are:

1) involvement as volunteers in various local community organizations, such as schools, museums, kindergartens, and non-government organizations (NGOs)/non-profit organizations (NPOs);

2) participation in clubs or “circle” activities at local universities including Doshisha and Kyoto University. These accommodate a wide variety of extra-curricular interests, such as tennis, dance, chorus, or international exchange;

3) study of particular skills, typically in the traditional arts, such as martial arts, flower arrangement, origami, or musical instruments like the taiko or koto;

4) assistantship at a university science lab, art conservation studio or other venue related to your undergraduate major, in which you have regular contact with specialists in your discipline.

Please see CIP blog for more information about possible CIP activities. You can also access links to the websites by the groups in which previous KCJS students participated.


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What Japanese skills will I develop through the CIP?


KCJS Japanese instructors will assist you throughout the different phases of the CIP.
During in-class CIP sessions, you will:

1) learn strategies for networking in Japan;

2) practice linguistically and culturally appropriate ways to make contact by e-mail and telephone, using keigo (‘honorifics’);

3) share your own experiences with classmates in order to gain feedback and different perspectives, and jointly discuss solutions to any problems you may encounter.

Your CIP participation will also include writing blogs about your experiences and exchanging comments with classmates about those blogs in Japanese and English.

Our goal is for you to become a mature, functioning member of Japanese society through your combined participation in the CIP, your language classes, language exchange opportunities with Japanese students, and your experience as a Kyoto resident (in a homestay, apartment, or guest house arrangement).

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What comments have previous participants made about their CIP experiences?

“I learned that culture and language do not exist inside of a vacuum—they are living and unique to each individual and group.”

“I learned how to ask for explanations and a bit about interpreting the subtle meaning behind people’s words.”

“…the accumulation of shared experiences, I think, really helps bridge the gap and make you much more approachable.”

“…conversations [with staff at the Kyoto Manga Museum] taught me a lot about how individuals speak to each other in a stratified situation such as in a work environment. Also, by going as regularly as possible and making sure to speak to the various staff members, I gradually began to feel like part of the museum’s community.”

“While I was initially disappointed and worried that the experience would have little benefit, I quickly began to enjoy my time there. Helped by the outgoing members of the church and the efforts of [church member], I became part of the group fairly quickly. I’m very glad that there was an impetus for me to get involved with something outside of my normal safety zone….As time passed, [my CIP activity] moved further and further away from being “extracurricular activities” and became more and more a part of my life in Kyoto, as well as increasingly a high point of my week, and now of my entire stay in Japan.”

“Japan is really fun and it’s even more fun if you reach out into the community and meet all kinds of people. I took private art classes, and my favorite times in Japan were hanging out with my teacher and other students (from all ages of people).”

Please visit our CIP blog to explore the students’ experiences in previous years!
Also available are CIP Talent Show videos.

KCJS28: Spring 2017
KCJS 23: Fall 2011  Spring 2012

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KCJS Summer Programs


Office of Global Programs

606 Kent Hall
Columbia University
1140 Amsterdam, Mail Code 3948
New York, NY 10027 USA
Tel: 212-854-2559
Fax: 212-854-5164
Email: ogp@columbia.edu

Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies 京都アメリカ大学コンソーシアム

Doshisha University, 2F Fusokan
Karasuma Higashi-iru, Imadegawa-dori
Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8580 JAPAN

同志社大学 扶桑館2F

Tel: 075-251-4995
Tel: (+81-75-251-4995)
Fax: 075-229-6300
Fax: (+81-75-229-6300)
Email: fs2244@columbia.edu