Getting started: going with the GCC study abroad option (Tanaz in Japan)

Getting started: going with the GCC study abroad option

Hi! My name is Tanaz and I’m currently a senior studying English and international studies. I wanted to share my reasons for choosing to go on a Global Course Connections trip last summer.

Although it feels like it was forever ago, it’s only been six months since I went to Tokyo as a part of my GCC trip through CGIS. GCC programs have two components: a class in Ann Arbor during the winter term and then the off-campus part in the relevant country for three weeks.

I took Asian 302 during Winter 2015. The class focused on modern Japanese literature. In May, I went to Tokyo for three weeks and had classes at Waseda University as a part of CJS 281, where we focused on Tokyo as a global city.

Personally, I think GCC programs are perfect for students who want to study abroad but don’t want to leave campus for an entire semester. It’s also great for those who want to do other things as well in addition to going on a study abroad trip. Three weeks is long enough for you to become immersed in a different culture and get a sense of the new locale but still gives students enough time to take on summer internships and jobs afterwards.

Another aspect of the GCC program that I really enjoyed was the lighter course load. Because the study abroad experience is an extension of a three-credit course in the winter, while we were actually in Tokyo, we didn’t have to do as much homework. The course in the winter had a lot more coursework (we essentially read a book a week!) but it prepared us for our time in Japan. While actually in Tokyo, the focus was more on experiencing living in the city then it was about slaving over papers. In fact, we didn’t have to do any papers. There were three group projects including a scavenger hunt and a photo essay.


A statue of Okuma Shigenobu, the founder of Waseda University

In GCC study abroads, you’ll also have the chance to get to know the people who are going on the trip with you. All students have to take the class in the winter in order to travel abroad. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the winter class will have other students as well who are not participating in the study abroad trip.

In my case, my class on campus was a medium sized lecture so there weren’t that many opportunities for me to get to know the people who would go on my study abroad that well. Despite that, taking the winter class helped me gain a sense of the personalities of the students who I would be going to Tokyo with. Of course, there’s always Facebook groups and everyone will have a chance to talk to each other during the pre-orientation meeting with CGIS, so I wouldn’t worry too much about getting to know everyone beforehand. Besides, the trip itself will give everyone ample time to get to know each other.


Waseda University’s Okuma garden

For my next blog post, I’ll be talking more about the trip itself including the classes we took while there as well as the assignments we were given!

For more information on the GCC Japan program, visit the CGIS website.




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