In the current society, the term “globalization” becomes more familiar to us than ever before. The work of individuals, teams, business units, and companies span geographic boundaries, cultures, and languages. Organizations have operations around the world, and the major economies are tightly interconnected. In the wake of increasing globalization, there is now a growing number of universities striving to nurture their students to become global leaders. The universities in the United States of America and Japan are no exception. Thanks to their close relationship, the two governments are trying to strengthen the educational foundations between the US and Japan. In this article, I would like to introduce a non-profit US-Japan Bridging Foundation, which aims to offer American undergraduate students the opportunity to study abroad in Japan to help prepare America’s young talents to assume future global leadership roles. At the same time, Japanese universities can also attract American students to diversify their network of international students, making their campus community more global.

Here’s a fact for those might not know: Japan is the tenth most popular destination for Americans that study abroad. According to the 2019 Open Doors Report, 12.4% more American students studied in Japan over the past academic year. Many American students believe that Japan is truly the land of opportunities, where they can be exposed to a unique culture with many great things to be explored and increase their chance of finding professional employment. Regarding the Spring 2020 Bridging Scholarship, 230 outstanding students from not only public and national universities but also top liberal arts schools in America, were chosen. This large, competitive pool of applicants affirms Japan’s appeal as a study abroad destination. Thanks to the scholarship, students coming from less affluent families can realize their dreams and be motivated to achieve their goals without the financial burden of tuition. Many former Bridging scholars have been already thriving in global careers.

Once you have grasped a whole picture of what the Japan Bridging Scholarship is and understand its mission, the next step is to gather further detailed information about its requirements and procedure!


Annually, over 100 scholars are granted free travel and living expenses while studying in Japan.

  • $2,500: for semester-long programs
  • $4,000: for academic year programs


• Undergraduate students majoring in any field of study are eligible.
• Students studying in Japan on summer programs are NOT eligible.
• Japanese language study is NOT a prerequisite.
• The applicant must be a U.S. citizen enrolled as a USA college or university undergraduate before and during the time spent studying in Japan.
• The minimum duration of study in Japan must be at least 3 months and must earn credit that can be transferred to home campus in the US.


Bridging scholars are chosen by a volunteer committee and are based on academic potential and financial needs.


• Application form.
• 500-word essay introducing yourself, explaining your interest in studying in Japan, and outlining what you hope to achieve by participating in this program.
• A transcript from your college or university.
• A letter of recommendation from someone who is knowledgeable about your abilities and potential, preferably a professor in your major field.
• Each Bridging Scholarship recipient will be expected to send a brief report about study in Japan to the AATJ office (American Association of Teachers of Japanese) within 90 days of returning from abroad.

About AATJ’s contact: 
– E-mail:
– Web:


Applications are accepted twice a year for Bridging Scholarships.

Fall: submit in February or March; the deadline is May.
Spring: submit in August or September; the deadline is October.

Please also note that the application deadline is NOT a postmark deadline; your application materials should be received by that date, whether they are submitted online or in paper form.


  1. Good news for those who want to apply for Fall 2020 Bridging Scholarship!!! The application is still open until April 10, 2020. Check out this link right now:
  2. If you prefer not to apply for the scholarship online, the application is available as a Microsoft Word fillable form. You can download this form to your computer, fill it out on your computer, save it, print it, and mail it. Type the information in the shaded boxes (boxes will expand as you type); tab between boxes; click your mouse or type an “x” to fill in a Yes/No box.

–> Download the Microsoft Word Form

Overall, global leadership is not simply about improving your English abilities or having knowledge of other nations. Today, global leadership demands soft skills such as management, communication and team-working skills in an environment characterized by risk, diversity, complexity and constant change. Joining the challenging program of the Japan Bridging Scholarship, you will be expected to acquire those skills. It offers you the opportunity to live full-time in a truly global community, in Japan!

Finally, to get an idea about where the Bridging scholars are studying in Japan, please visit this site the Bridging Foundation website!