Beautiful Sapporo is the capital of Japan’s north island, Hokkaido, and the fifth-largest city in Japan. Well-known for beer, ramen, and skiing, it first became an international point of interest after the 1972 Olympic Games. It also plays host to the famous Snow Festival, held in February each year, in which artists demonstrate their flair by building fantastic sculptures from snow and ice.
There are a few different types of study abroad programs in Sapporo.
For those interested in learning Japanese, there are plenty of options in Sapporo. Courses can last anywhere from two weeks to several months. Learning the language has the added advantage of giving you an insight into Japanese culture, and some of the courses offered can be combined with an internship.
One option for study abroad in Sapporo is to take part in the summer institute held by Hokkaido University. Courses are taught in English and allow researchers and students worldwide to come together and learn from Hokkaido, for three months from June until September.
Hokkaido University in Sapporo offers a direct exchange programme to a number of affiliated universities in 49 different countries, including many in the U.K., U.S., and Australia. Participants who are enrolled in a university in their home country are able to take part in half or full-year courses in Sapporo after two years of study. In the past, classes have been offered on topics ranging from tourism to thermodynamics.
The Japanese language is a key topic of study in Sapporo, especially as there aren’t as many English speakers as in larger cities. However, aside from the language itself, there are a ton of interesting subjects on offer in Sapporo.
The traditions and culture of Japan are of great fascination to outsiders, and studying in Sapporo can be a good way to explore this. Language schools are one way of doing so, as you can take part in cultural activities alongside your study, or Hokkaido University offers relevant classes such as Japanese Studies.
Art & Film
Japan is known the world over for its unique styles of art and film, from Hokusai’s famous painting of The Great Wave off Kanagawa to Manga and Anime. Students taking part in the summer institute are able to take a course exploring Japanese film and literature, and in the past, the university has offered classes on Japanese popular culture.
Science & Technology
Japan is generally accepted to be a world leader in technology and engineering, from reliable cars to futuristic robots. Those taking part in exchanges at Hokkaido University have plenty of options of classes in the engineering and science disciplines.
That tricky Japanese language is always a factor when thinking about studying abroad in Japan. In general, it’s always useful to have a few key words and phrases under your belt before you go.
As the capital of Hokkaido, Sapporo is perhaps slightly more likely to be able to cater to English speakers than the more isolated or rural areas in the north island. There is also an expat community in Sapporo, so there will be people with whom you can communicate.
However, it is not as big nor as cosmopolitan as the larger Japanese cities like Osaka and Tokyo, so it’s not the case that most of the Japanese population will speak English. In fact, it might be hard to find those rare people that are able to speak English to a relatively high level.
If you are thinking about studying abroad in Sapporo, it would definitely be a good idea to think about taking some Japanese lessons at one of the local study centres, to enable you to better communicate with the locals.