• View of Mt. Fuji from Kyoto

    Capstone in Japan

  • Tokyo at night

    Capstone in Japan

  • Ancient large tree

    Capstone in Japan


The program is a capstone experience unlike any other! Participants will visit many of Japan's famous sites, from the natural wonder of Mt. Fuji, to ancient palaces, to a manga museum! Students will become familiar with Japan's rich culture and history as well as modern technologies while riding on a bullet train (speed of up to 200 mph) and exploring ultra-modern Tokyo.


Course Leaders

Ali Kashef, Professor

Department: Technology
Phone: 319-273-2596
E-mail: Ali.Kashef@uni.edu

“The internal reward I get when I see I have changed the students’ lives for the better is priceless.” - Ali Kashef

Ali has been leading study abroad programs for 18 years and has taken students to China, Hong Kong, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Spain, Iceland, and Italy. Ali loves to explore the world and has visited more than 20 different countries. He believes that when students travel abroad, they develop certain skills that are difficult to teach in a regular campus environment in addition to having life-changing experiences. 

Ali Kashef was an outstanding leader! He made our trip fun while also being informative! ...Ali is an amazing individual who truly took the time to get to know each of us and made sure everyone was safe, having fun, and making smart choices. I love Ali and there is no doubt that I will keep in touch with him! - Olivia, summer 2018 study abroad participant


CAP 3102/TECH 3102 Living in Our Techno-Social World (3 credit hours)

This is a discussion-based course, much like a seminar or symposium in which students become active participants in their own learning, as opposed to a lecture format in which they passively accumulate course notes from lectures. The instructor will make every effort to help students to achieve the course goals by facilitating class interaction, visiting places, providing questions for in-depth discussions, and maximum students’ involvements in the discussion. The instructor will also be available “on the sidelines” to personally help the students plan the course projects, presentations, etc.

This Capstone course follows the Active Learning model where the students are presented with real-world issues and are challenged to accept much of the responsibility for their own learning. Please choose to have fun and fully benefit from this course by actively involving in the structured activities. To view the course syllabus, click HERE.

Participation in the program requires attendance of several course meetings throughout the spring semester. Tentative meeting dates and times are listed in the course syllabus (see above link).Contact the course leader for more information. 


  • In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program's course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing by the start of the summer 2019 term). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study.
  • Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
  • Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken this capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.


Tentative Program Dates: Tuesday, May 14, to Friday, May 24, 2019

Sample itinerary is subject to change.

Day 1: Arrival in Tokyo

Day 2: Visit to the Imperial Palace 

Built on the grounds of the former palace of the Tokugawa shogun, this new structure has been home to Japan’s royal families since 1868. Afterwards, we will visit Nakamise, a shopping street where you’ll find traditional Japanese snacks and souvenirs. Stop by the Akihabara Electric Town, famous for its plethora of electronic shops. 

Day 3: Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan

We will take in the scenic views at the 5th Station, the highest starting point for hikers. Afterward, we will then go to Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and take a cable-car ride. Next, we will visit the Owakudani Boiling Valley, an active volcanic zone rich with hot springs. Finally, we will cruise along Lake Ashi on a pirate ship replica.

Day 4: Full-day tour of Nikko 

We will start the day with a visit the Toshogu Shrine, the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for 250 years. Afterward, we will stop by the Nikko Tamazawa Imperial Villa which served as a summer palace. Here, you can find an interesting display of what life was like for the royal family in this beautiful building. We will also visit Lake Chuzenji and the Kegon Waterfall, created from volcanic eruption more than 20,000 years ago.

Day 5: Full-day tour of Tokyo 

The tour will start with the Meiji Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, the first rulers of modern Japan. Afterward, we will go to Harajuku, a bustling neighborhood famous for its innovative fashion. Next, we will stop by the Shibuya Scramble Crossing, an intersection where people pour from all directions to try to cross. You may even recognize this street from films such as “Lost in Translation” and “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift!” We will end the day with a panoramic view of Tokyo from the Mori Tower.

Day 6: Travel to Kyoto via bullet train

Upon arrival, we will visit the Toji Temple, built just after the capital was moved to Kyoto in the late 700s. Afterward, we will visit the Fushimi Inari Taisha, where 10,000 torii (shrine gates) arch over a network of trails leading up to the sacred Mount Inari.

Day 7: Explore Kyoto

We will start the day with a visit to the Golden Pavilion. This Zen temple features two top floors completely covered in gold leaf. Japan has named this shrine a National Special Historic site and National Special Landscape. Our next stop will be the Ryoanji Temple, home of Japan’s most famous rock garden. Originally an aristocrat’s villa during the Heian Period, the site was converted to a Zen temple in 1450. Afterward, we will go to the Kyoto Manga Museum where you can browse an enormous collection of manga. The tour will end with a visit to the Kiyomizu Temple. The temple’s magnificent location served as inspiration for American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Day 8: Free day in Kyoto

Day 9: Day trip to Osaka

Upon arrival, we will visit the Umeda Floating Garden, a fascinating skyscraper that possesses a “floating” observatory on the 39th floor. Here, we will enjoy a spectacular view of the city before making our way to the Osaka Castle. The castle was first built in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, intended to be the center of a new, unified Japan. After being destroyed several times throughout its existence, the present temple was built in 1931. During the war, it miraculously survived city-wide air raids. We will visit the Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori shopping areas before boarding our bullet train to Tokyo.

Day 10: Free day in Tokyo

Day 11: Depart for home

Housing & Meals

Students will stay in hotel and hostel accommodations arranged by the Study Abroad Center and paid for before departure. Most meals will be purchased on-site. Only breakfast is included in the cost of the program.

Program Costs

Capstone in Japan

Estimated Program Cost:


* estimated total cost of participation, actual amount depends on type of housing accommodation selected, actual airfare purchase price, personal spending habits, and other factors

Click Below to View Detailed Budget Sheet:

Cost of studying on-campus*

*per semester, estimated, will vary per person

Tuition & Fees:


Room & Board:




Personal Expenses:






Source: https://admissions.uni.edu/costs

Dates & Deadlines


App Deadline: 
Friday, February 15, 2019
Program Dates: 
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 to Friday, May 24, 2019

The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:

  • Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
    • If your cumulative GPA is between 2.40 to 2.49, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (28 Gilchrist):
      • A letter of reference from your academic advisor supporting your pursuit of study abroad
      • An essay, which should explain why your cumulative GPA is below a 2.50, include how your cumulative GPA is stable or improving, a detailed plan for improving your academic performance a strong academic and/or personal interest in your study abroad location and/or course, and a compelling academic rationale for studying abroad.
  • Must be over the age of 18 years old
  • Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
  • Must be in good standing with the University
  • UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements if applicable.
  • Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
  • All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
  • Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.