International Engineering Program

Preparing for Your Year Abroad: Japanese IEP

Preparing for the year abroad in a stress-free way takes months of planning before you depart. Most students leave for the year abroad in September and return twelve months later. The preparation process includes individual and group meetings and orientations to discuss a range of topics such as the application process, academics, internships, accommodation, course selection, registration with the university, culture and cultural differences, visa advising and health, safety and security abroad to offer the maximum support to our students. We will also connect you to 5th year students who just returned from their year abroad, to exchange students from our partner universities whenever possible and to other helpful resources. 

Follow the timeline below and also check out the Japanese IEP Study Abroad Student Guide, created by Japanese IEP Student Ambassadors to help prepare you for the year abroad.

JIEP Student Guide

Japanese IEP Abroad Timeline

September – December

  1. First informational session: TBA. Please schedule a meeting with Dr. Takasawa to review all requirements for the year abroad and to assure you meet all requirements for the dual degree. Learn about the different IEP Exchange Partner programs: Niigata University, Waseda University, Exchange Program Okayama (EPOK), Kyushu University), and speak with Dr. Takasawa about ways to improve your proficiency such as additional tutoring or language exchange partners.
  2. Budget: View the Program Budget Sheets for the different IEP Japanese Exchange Partners in URI Abroad for estimated program expenses. 
  3. Passport application or renewal: If you have a passport, make sure it will be valid 6 months past the date of your anticipated return. If you do not have a passport, or if you need to renew your passport, go to your nearest Post Office (which for URI is in Wakefield); you MUST schedule an appointment.
  4. Obtaining a Visa: While URI offers students guidance on how to apply for a visa, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa needed to support their studies. Students will need a long-term student visa. Visit the Japanese Consulate website or more information.  Important: Non-US citizens need to check whether they are on the list of countries whose citizens need to apply for a visa on the consulate’s website. Please make an appointment with Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor,, if you need any additional guidance on obtaining a visa.
  5. Financial Aid: If you have questions about financial aid during the year abroad, you should contact a financial advisor in Green Hall.
  6. Meet with your advisors to discuss your academic plan for your fifth year: Make sure to work on a graduation worksheet with your advisors, so that you know which classes you have to take for graduation. Since you will have to register for Fall courses from abroad, let us know immediately if there is a conflict between a Japanese course and courses required for engineering in your 5th year. Review your IEP program curriculum sheet.
  7. Research: If you would like to earn 3 credits of MCE, CHE, ELE etc. 491 professional elective credits, speak with Prof. Takasawa about possible research opportunities.
  8. Scholarships: Start working on scholarship applications. In particular: Start working on scholarship applications for scholarship opportunities with December or January deadlines, such as the Beatrice Demers Scholarship, and the Gilman scholarship, Freeman-Asia Scholarship (due early April), the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships and the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program (due end of November). In addition, there are JIEP-specific IEP scholarships like Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) Student Exchange Support Program. For additional grants and deadlines, check out IEP Scholarship & Fellowships. Note: The URI scholarship portal opens in April and the deadline for URI scholarships is in June.


  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 1: Attend Complete an optional General Information Session on how to apply to study abroad in the URI Abroad Application System: TBA
    • All students who plan to study abroad are required to obtain permission from URI and therefore must complete the URI Abroad Application. In general, IEP students should apply using the Fall Semester application for their program – not the Academic Year.
  2. Contact Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor, if you have any questions about the URI Abroad Application or about the study abroad process.
  3. General IEP Cultural Preparation Meeting: TBA
  4. Japanese IEP Preparation Meeting: TBA
  5. Japanese Partner University Application: Complete the Exchange Partner University Application Form (you will receive this at a preparation meeting). 


  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 1:  Complete Phase 1: Pre-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. Deadline: March 1st


  1. Japanese IEP Cultural Preparation Meeting: TBA
  2. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: Complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st
  3. Internship Documents and Placement: Set up an appointment with Prof. Takasawa to discuss companies URI has relationships with no later than the first or second week of April. With Dr. Takasawa’s help, you will gain access to our internship portal where you can learn more about the different Japanese companies and view internships and projects from past Japanese IEP program participants to help you determine the company you would like to intern for. Begin preparing a Japanese resume. Don’t be afraid to ask professors and/or tutors for help.
  4. Prior Approval Forms: Make an appointment with Dr. Takasawa to discuss course equivalencies between URI and your chosen university. Complete the Prior Approval Form for all of the courses you would like to take while abroad. Dr. Hae Ree Jun can help you get your language courses approved, please note that for all other courses from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, the chair of that related department and/or the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will need to sign, and that for engineering courses, your engineering advisor and the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering will need to sign. Remember to add in a couple (2-3) more classes than desired, in case of class unavailability or changes while taking courses in Japan. Students will then need to upload the finalized Prior Approval Form to URI Abroad in the post-decision phase of URI Abroad application. 
  5. Optional Intensive Summer Language Program: Consider enrolling in an intensive Summer Japanese language program. Consult Dr. Takasawa for more information. If you enroll in a Summer Program that is NOT a part of the IEP program, you must meet with OIE Education Abroad Advisor, Jamie Loredo, to discuss the transfer of credits and to register the program through URI Abroad as a non-affiliated summer program.


  1. URI Office of International Education – Pre-Departure Meeting: TBA
  2. Health Insurance: In addition to URI Health Insurance or other private insurance, all URI Students are covered by CISI Insurance. Students confirmed to study abroad will automatically be registered and emailed proof of insurance.
  3. IDI Meeting/Testing: In this meeting, students will learn about the Intercultural Development Inventory, followed by a mandatory IDI testing session.


  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: Complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st.
  2. Pre-departure Meeting: TBA. This meeting will serve as a final overview of the plans for the year abroad.

June – August

  1. Visa: Apply for a visa if you have received your certificate of eligibility from the partner universities. Note: Some do not issue the official document until after August.
  2. Travel arrangements and Arrival: Students are responsible for their own travel. Many students like to make arrangements together so that you travel with some URI friends, so play early. Make sure you contact the university to ask when the best time is to arrive. Book flight to Japan to arrive for late September. 
  3. Coursework: Begin your language immersion program (if applicable).

While in Japan


  1. Residency: Obtain your residence card at the airport or appropriate municipality. Reference the information provided to you in the Pre-departure orientation and on the On-Site Timeline.
  2. Begin semester program. 
  3. Scholarship Aid/Financial Aid: Applies as usual

December – January

  1. Prepare for internship:
    • Location/assignment to be worked out with Dr. Takasawa
    • Working papers required – The university office will help you with visa extensions/police district registration.
    • Fill out the Required IEP Internship Application in URI Abroad by the Spring Course Registration Deadline (Jamie Loredo from OIE will email this to you). You MUST fill this out so that OIE can enroll you in the 12 credits you need to maintain your student status.
  2. Getting Courses Transferred and Intent to Graduate (if applicable):
    • Upon completion of the exchange program, you will need to have your program’s institution send an official transcript to OIE so that your transfer credit can be evaluated. Please refer to OIE’s Transfer Credit policy for more information.
    • If you will be graduating, you will need to fill out the appropriate Intent to Graduate Form at least a semester before you graduate.
    • Read additional in-depth instructions regarding the Intent to Graduate process for the College of Engineering.
  3. Housing: Begin looking for housing in the city where you complete your internship. Use your city’s Facebook pages or another online platform to search for housing (click here and here for some ideas).
  4. Winter Break: You can use some of this time for housing interviews or researching your internship company/location!

Mid February – Mid August

  1. Take exams (if not already completed).
  2. Begin your internship: Usually from February – August
  3. Courses: Work on online Spring Semester course work.
  4. Advising: Check-in with your advisor and get your advising hold and any other hold lifted so that you can register for Fall semester courses.
  5. Register for Fall Semester courses.