Practice Japanese arts and mind-body techniques to enhance wellness and harmony in daily life and explore how traditional Japanese principles, practices, and values continue to shape contemporary Japanese aesthetic, business, and well-being practices, even as modern Japanese culture evolves through foreign contact and involvement.
Students will develop cultural awareness and awareness of self and others through mindfulness practice and global study and see every aspect of life as an artistic practice through which they engage in personal and community development.
We begin the course at Mason’s Fairfax campus with a week-long introduction to meditation, Aikido, and Japanese philosophy, arts, and history. Then we will spend three weeks in Japan, beginning with five days of intensive practice of meditation, Aikido, and other mind-body practices at Ki Aikido headquarters dojo in Tochigi. After exploring arts through practice in northern Japan and viewing arts, temples, and natural areas nearby, we travel to Tokyo, where we will study contemporary Japanese arts, business, and culture in historical and global contexts. Then, in Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, and Miyajima we will see various traditional Japanese arts and cultural icons as well as the devastating effects of the atomic bomb.
- Guided tour of The Freer Gallery at the Smithsonian in DC, pre-trip
- Five full days of traditional instruction in aikido, meditation, calligraphy, tea ceremony, and Japanese yoga in Tochigi, Japan
- Visits to Mashiko and Nikko
- Ten days in Tokyo, including:
- Taiko drumming instruction and mini-performance
- Sushi-making and eating at a century-old restaurant
- Opportunities to meet with artists working in traditional arts forms and practice some of those forms
- Discussion about the socio-economic history of Japan, traditional and contemporary Japanese art and architecture, and comparative martial arts with respected scholars
- Kyoto/Nara/Hiroshima trip including
- Stay at a Buddhist temple
- Tours of the sites of the ancient city that was not bombed during WWII
- The Peace Park and museum in Hiroshima
- World Heritage site at Miyajima
All undergraduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.25 GPA.
Students will choose two 3-credit course during the application process.
- RELI 341 (Global Perspectives on Spirituality and Healing) - Mason Core for Global Understanding
- JAPA 240 (Introduction to Japanese Culture)
- INTS 399 (Integrative Studies - Study Abroad)
- INTS 498 (Integrative Studies - Field-Based Work) - Mason Core for Global Understanding OR Arts [Must contact Program Administrator]
May - June 2023
Meditation and aikido.
Meditation and aikido.
Meditation and aikido
Tour of Freer/Sackler Gallery
Meditation and aikido
Meditation and aikido
||Travel day: Tokyo to Utsunomiya
||Tour of temples and natural areas then travel to Tokyo
||Fukugawa Edo Museum tour
Dinner: Guest speaker (Business)
||MinebeaMitsui site visit
Dinner: Guest speaker (Comparative Martial Arts)
||Kathy Matsui/Goldman Sachs presentation: womenomics
Participant Observation Dinner: Robot Restaurant
||Subaru site visit
Studio Ghibli Museum
Dinner: Guest speaker (Architecture)
||DT Suzuki Museum
Contemporary Art Museum
||Sumo Stable site visit
optional: Karaoke participant observation
||Taiko presentation and lesson
Fukuzushi site visit and lunch
Travel to Kyoto
||Zen temple presentation
Kyoto tour/discussion of effect of war
||Kyoto tour/discussion of effect of war
||Nara tour - ancient capital history
||Hiroshima museum, dome, and memorial visit
Miyajima visit and seminar
Optional dinner: Okonomiyaki
||Travel to Tokyo
Final Shinshin toitsudo class
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Summer 2023: Coming Soon!
Summer 2020: $5,500
The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge which together equal the published Program Cost for this course.
- Application deposit
- Tuition for 6 credits and mandatory fees
- Accommodation in Japan
- Some breakfasts
- Some group meals
- In-country transportation
- International emergency medical insurance
- Pre-departure orientation
- Required textbook and course packet
*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email.
- Visa fees
- Some meals
- COVID-19 testing in the U.S. before departure
- COVID-19 testing while abroad
- Personal spending
- Required textbooks and/or course materials
The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights. When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will be recommending the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance.
The full program fee is charged to your Mason Student Account. Students pay the Global Education Office (GEO) Program Fee as advertised in two payments (Application Deposit + Final Payment.)
Application Deposit: $200 non-refundable Application Deposit must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.
Final Payment: The final balance payment is made through the Mason Bill+Payment system. Payment is due according to the Mason Payment Schedule. The amount due is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $200 you will have already paid, the Application Deposit
- You can make your final payment in the Mason Bill+Payment system even if you do not see the GEO program charge on your student account.
- George Mason University applies payments to outstanding charges first. If you have an outstanding balance from a previous semester your payments will first go to paying that charge. You will still be responsible for the GEO charge.
In most cases, financial aid (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans) can be used to finance study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to review their financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid is the only office that can determine your aid eligibility.
Meeting with your financial aid officer prior to applying to study abroad will help you understand if, how much, and when your aid can be used to study abroad.
Confirmation of your financial aid award may not be available until registration and billing for the term in question is final. If aid eligibility changes, or the amount of aid disbursed is lower than anticipated, students are responsible for all remaining account balances or risk late fees, holds on their accounts, and program dismissal.
To assist students in the processing of their financial aid, GEO will communicate with the Office of Financial aid those students who plan to utilize financial aid for their specific study abroad program through their application with GEO. Please note there is no guarantee to students that their aid can be utilized for their specific study abroad program.
If you plan to use federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans to finance your study abroad you must:
• Mark “Yes” to “Do you plan to use Financial Aid to finance your program (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans)?” in your profile in MasonAbroad.gmu.edu.
* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students: https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/financial-aid/eligibility.
VA Benefits: The Veterans Administration determines if a program is eligible to receive VA benefit payments based on the participants VA education program. Use of benefits is dependent on type of benefit and type of program. If you plan to use VA benefits to finance study abroad contact your program officer at MasonLed@gmu.edu to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form." You will complete that form with Mason’s Office of Military Services. To contact Military Services be sure to email them directly at Military@gmu.edu.
Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.
For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:
GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:
Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.
Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.
Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.
Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.
Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:
- Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.
- Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.
* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.