Study Abroad

Japan Early Fall 2022

Sustainable Energy in Japan, Early Fall

*** Program on pause ***

Note: This video was made in preparation for the 2020 program, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. 2021 and 2022 iterations of the program were also cancelled due to persistent travel restrictions.

Course Details

This early fall course explores the science and engineering of new energy technologies that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.  After a short but intense introduction to the relevant engineering principles at UW Bothell, the venue shifts to Ehime University in Japan for hands-on project work and on-the-ground study of Japan’s efforts to develop and deploy new energy technologies. 

Japan is an especially interesting case because of the sudden loss of nearly a third of the country’s electric power generating capacity when all nuclear plants were shut down after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in March 2011.  Since then, engineers have scrambled to develop wind, solar, geothermal, ocean, and other alternative sources of energy.  The government is giving special attention to hydrogen, as both a fuel for combustion and source of energy storage, and our hosts at Ehime University are pursuing several interesting projects in this area.

The course begins with two online activities during summer that provide an opportunity for UWB and Ehime University students to get to know each other (tentative).  Face-to-face meetings begin at UWB during the last week of August.  The focus is advanced topics in thermal fluids related to combustion of fuels, renewable energy, fuel cells, and energy storage.  Students will deepen their ability to apply science and engineering principles to the analysis of energy conversion processes, as well as explore broader economic, social, and political forces that are shaping the transition to cleaner, more efficient energy systems.  Introductory Japanese language and cultural content is also included.

In the second week, the class travels to Japan for three weeks of study at Ehime University’s College of Engineering.  Teams of students will carry out laboratory projects under guidance of faculty and graduate students working in Ehime’s thermal fluids and materials engineering labs.  Field trips to nearby utilities, power plants, and related destinations are included, as well as a longer day trip to Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombing that ended World War II.

2017 group in Hiroshima 2019 student working on a mechanical engineering project 

Learning Goals

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze and assess technologies associated with the transition to more sustainable energy.
  2. Identify scientific, engineering, social, economic, and political factors shaping energy transition.
  3. Work safely and productively in a lab as part of an international team, and communicate results for a multicultural audience.
  4. Describe Japan’s short and long-term energy strategy and analyze it within the larger context of the country’s history, environment, and natural resource base.
  5. Navigate daily life in Japan, recognize cultural differences, work with a deeper global awareness and outlook.


Program Dates: August 21 - September 21, 2023, starting with 5 days of classes at UW Bothell, one or two local field trips, and three weeks in Matsuyama, Japan

Program Directors: Steve Collins, Mechanical Engineering, School of STEM,; Hiroshi Miyamoto, Japanese instructor, 

Academic Credits: 4 credits of B ME 446 + 1 credit B ME 493


  • $3,050 program fee, which covers: 5 Autumn Quarter credits; local transportation, housing at the Ehime University guest house, most lunches and several group dinners, cultural activities in Japan;
  • $350 study abroad administrative fee;
  • ~$1,400 airfare;
  • ~$36 travel insurance;
  • Some meals in Japan;
  • Personal expenses at UW Bothell and while abroad.

***The program is eligible for financial aid and scholarships. Specifically, the Gilman Scholarship and the UWB Study Abroad Scholarship are available to help offset the costs***

Information for Applicants

Pre-requisites: Applicants must be currently enrolled UW students with a minimum GPA of 2.75, who have completed a course in engineering thermodynamics (B ME 331 or its equivalent) with a minimum grade of 2.0. While applications from all three UW campuses are welcome, priority will be given to UW Bothell students in the Mechanical Engineering program.

2019 group with Ehime prefecture's mascotStudents should be prepared for an intensive interdisciplinary experience ranging across engineering, economics, politics as they pertain to energy and energy policy, and Japanese culture. Program participants should expect a moderate level of physical activity, especially walking and bicycling, while in Japan. Knowledge of Japanese is not required.

The program is limited to 14 participants. 

The online application asks for a resume, unofficial transcript and a personal statement describing your interest and qualifications for the program. The essay should demonstrate a commitment to learning across disciplines, curiosity about different cultures, and interest in conversing with peers here and in Japan about our collective energy future. 


What's the program like?

Check out blogs from UWB Study Abroad Ambassadors who participated in the program in previous years:

Participants from 2019

Sean Wilson, 2018

Derek Flett, 2017

Urooj Qureshi, 2015

Nguyen Tong, 2013


Program Support

Natalia Dyba, Director of Global Initiatives


Study Abroad Advising

Peer Advisors


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