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GIEU Japan—Community Revitalization

  • Ishinomaki
  • 3 credits for on-campus Winter courses, field experience in Spring, group project Fall term
  • First-Years, Sophomores, Juniors
  • GPA 2.0
  • Dormitory
  • Instruction in English
  • No language prerequisite

Foster knowledge sharing and collaboration between community development NGOs in Detroit and northeastern Japan.

GIEUs (Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates) are project-based service-learning programs. Earn 3 credits taking a semester-long pre-departure course on intercultural learning (and in some cases a 1-credit course related to your host location and culture), conducting fieldwork abroad for 3–4 weeks during spring or summer, and completing a community education project in fall term with your cohort. Pell Grant recipients on GIEU programs automatically receive the GIEU Pell Scholarship to cover their entire program fee. All LSA students with demonstrated financial need—including Pell Grant recipients—are eligible for additional funding through the LSA Scholarships Office’s Global Experience Scholarship.

As the fifth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami approaches, efforts in the Tohoku region have begun to shift from recovery to revitalization. Debris is gone and infrastructure restored, but decades-old economic challenges—high unemployment, vacant real estate, population flight, aging demographics—persist. Grassroots organizations formed just after the tsunami have taken the lead in addressing these issues and launched an ambitious array of community-building initiatives.

On the Community Revitalization program in Ishinomaki, you will be an early participant in a long-term plan to create a network of grassroots partnerships between communities in northeast Japan and the Detroit area. This year, participants will perform a service project under the direction of Ishinomaki 2.0—a local startup—by assisting with tasks like conducting community woodworking and furniture-building classes and building the organization’s overseas sales and marketing operations.

Your fall project on campus will center on translating your learning on sustainable communities in Ishinomaki to address a community issue relevant to Detroit communities, such as vacant real estate, high unemployment, local entrepreneurship, or youth empowerment.

All participants in the GIEU Japan program will enroll in a 1-credit winter course with the Center for Japanese Studies on urban renewal and community building in Ishinomaki and Detroit. The program is led and taught by Leslie Pincus of the department of History and Nick Tobier of the School of Art and Design.