Japan stirs up images of wild, snow-capped mountains topped with ancient temples, delicate cherry blossoms twirling through the air, and shiny cities that are monochromatic, yet full of color. While studying abroad in Fukuoka, however, the sights will quickly take a backseat to the tastes. Known throughout Japan for their take on ramen noodles (and many other culinary feats), Fukuoka will dazzle you not only with their gastronomy, but with their options and opportunities for international students as well. So grab a cup of sake (or tea, if that’s your thing) and study abroad in Fukuoka, Japan!
What you need to know more about studying abroad in Fukuoka, Japan
Fukuwho? You may not have considered study abroad programs in Fukuoka, what with heavy hitters like Tokyo and Kyoto in the mix, but that would be a grave mistake—this city has just as much to offer international students as those bigger cities up north. Fukuoka is a hub for international students, with upwards of 10,000 attending universities in and around Fukuoka each year.
Popular subjects to study. Fukuoka is the economic center of the Kyushu region of Japan, and a few major Japanese companies have headquarters in the city. Studying business here offers plenty of practical advantages (and maybe even job opportunities) so you’ll Kill Bill both your finals and your job search.
Japan is obviously an ideal location to study Japanese or Asian studies, and what’s more, Fukuoka is perfect for those who have absolutely no experience with the language. There are a ton of programs that cater to novice students who know nothing about Japanese other than that it’s something they want to learn!
Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. Three month programs are by far the most accessible in terms of quantity and cost, but don’t rule out long term programs (like semester or academic year)...after your first few months in Fukuoka, you’ll be wishing you had more time. Pro tip: be mindful of which time of year you choose to study abroad in Fukuoka if you do go short term—typhoons start hammering Japan in August and September, and you’ll be able to see cherry blossoms in late March and early April.
Attending universities vs. other program types. While there’s a long list of options of universities for international students in Fukuoka, this city doesn’t necessarily have the same notoriety as bigger cities; therefore, a third party program (like the many awesome ones listed here) will probably be easiest when planning to study in Fukuoka. However, students with strong Japanese skills may want to look into applying directly to one of the many universities in Fukuoka! Note: knowing the words to “Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto” doesn’t count as strong Japanese skills.
Life Abroad in Fukuoka, Japan for International Students
Studying abroad in Fukuoka will, without a doubt, be one of the most unique experiences of your life; Japan is westernized, so the standard of living is the same as at home, but speckled with a culture that is endearing, puzzling, and usually split-your-sides funny. You’ll be telling stories about this place for years (and about the toilets and their many buttons in particular).
Homestays are highly recommended for both cost and cultural immersion (your host family will love almost literally nothing more than teaching you how to use chopsticks the right way), but dormitories and private apartments are available through some programs for students looking for a little more independence while studying in Fukuoka.
In Japan, ramen isn’t just a staple in a broke college student’s diet—it’s a dangerously delicious culinary masterpiece, and Fukuoka does it really, really right. Don’t pass on the soba either, and don’t stick your chopsticks directly into your rice for safekeeping (it’s an incredibly rude gesture!).
Be sure to check out the Shinkansen, the 200 mile-per-hour bullet train that will take you all the way to Tokyo (with one change of train). Fukuoka itself has extensive public transportation including buses and subways, so no excuses for being late to class.
GoAbroad insider tips for study abroad students in Fukuoka, Japan
Despite how charming Japan and its citizens are, it’s a tad unlikely that you’ll escape culture shock; therefore, a willingness to learn and patience are both essential in this country. The language barrier will be frustrating, and even hand gestures and body language are different in Japan, making charades just that much more difficult. But hang in there—you’ll be feeling like yourself in no time.
You might’ve heard recently about a rogue little nation called North Korea. Even in Japan, there is absolutely no reason to be worried, so please don’t change your study abroad plans because of what the news may say. Anyone from Japan will tell you the exact same thing!
Eating, reading, and fast trains speeding—studying abroad in Fukuoka, Japan will leave you saying “Kon-nichiwow!” Trust us.
Want to learn more? Read our comprehensive guide on studying in Japan!