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Community Involvement Project (CIP)

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 to go beyond the four walls of the classroom into Japanese society. 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 join in the 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, non-government organizations (NGOs)/non-profit organizations (NPOs), and research institutes/labs arranged in collaboration with a faculty at your home institution;

2) participation in student clubs or “circle” activities at local universities including Doshisha and Kyoto University;

3) study of particular skills, typically in the traditional arts, such as martial arts, igo, or musical instruments like the shamisen or koto;

4) assistantship at local schools as an English teacher.

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;

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 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.

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What comments have previous participants made about their CIP experiences?

“(In CIP, I enjoyed) meeting so many different students, and getting a feel for how to make them genuinely enjoy their time in class. It’s something that takes a lot of on-the-fly coordination; I’m not sure I would have managed if the class sizes had been bigger than they were. I’m grateful for that.” Assistant Language Teacher, KCJS 28 (2016-2017)

“I learned so much about the way that hierarchies work in Japanese society, the way that teacher-student relationships are formed, and the way that respect is communicated and displayed.” Group or Private Lesson, KCJS 28 (2016-2017)

“I learned more about when to use desu/masu form and when to use keigo–so just being able to see Japanese people interact with each other in a natural social situation helped me understand how I should talk to whom.” Circle/Volunteering, KCJS 28 (2016-2017)

“(In CIP, I enjoyed) being able to feel like a part of the group through music when I was unsure of my Japanese ability.” Circle, KCJS 27 (2015-216)

“I learned that while formalities, such as keigo, and valuable skills to have when beginning a CIP. However, I was always confused by the blurry line of when it is appropriate to switch to a more casual way of speaking. By taking myself outside the comforts of the classroom and into the community, I have learned to better judge in these situations.” Volunteering, KCJS 27 (2015-2016)

Please visit our CIP blog to explore the students’ experiences in previous years!

Also available are CIP Talent Show videos.
CIP Talent Show

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Tell Me About KCJS

Alumni Talk over Zoom

Online Language Exchange Partners and Japanese Langauge Table

KCJS Students in Action

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KCJS Summer Programs


Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement

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