Online Rikuzen Takata Project


Program Dates: August 25 - September 1, 2021, 4:00-8:00 PM US Pacific Time
Open to: US university students
Location: Online
Application Deadline: EXTENDED: August 18, 2021

SDGs x Rikuzen Takata x YOU

US university students are invited to join an eight-day online program with students from Rikkyo University, Hong Kong University, and the National University of Singapore to virtually explore the city of Rikuzen Takata, Japan, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Learn about its journey of recovery, and its vision of creating a sustainable community. Participants will discuss the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and collaborate cross-culturally to present their reflections on sustainable community development.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand social issues in rural Japan through the lens of disaster recovery.
  • Develop a global perspective on community implications of disaster recovery.
  • Explore SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and consider how its targets may be applied in different contexts to develop more sustainable communities.
  • Build connections with peers from the US, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Program Schedule Highlights (*subject to change)


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Program Participation Fee: $90 USD*

This program fee includes:

  • 30+ hours of live online presentations, discussions, and interactive activities
  • Lecturers and guest speakers from VIA, Rikkyo University, and Rikuzen Takata
  • Access to an online learning platform with additional information, resources, and opportunities to connect with peers
  • Mentorship from peers and experts, including Rikkyo University faculty, VIA staff, and Rikuzen Takata community members
  • Opportunities to expand your intercultural communication skills and build friendships across cultures
  • Connections to an international network of VIA alumni who provide support, inspiration, and opportunities to collaborate

*VIA’s fee for virtual programs is $900 USD. However, Rikkyo University provides funding to cover most of the cost, making it possible to reduce the program fee to $90, or 10% of the individual cost of participation. Additionally, we strongly believe in providing accessible and inclusive learning opportunities. If you have concerns about the cost of participating, please contact Program Director Yuki Ueda (yuki|at|viaprograms.org). We will consider financial need-based discounts on a case-by-case basis.

Participation Requirements

In order to join this program, you must be a current student at a US university. Additionally, you will need:

  • Reliable access to the internet
  • A computer or mobile device with a camera and microphone, or headphones with a microphone
  • Ability to use the Zoom video call application
  • To be available to join all scheduled online sessions
  • To be able to complete all required activities (some activities or tasks may need to be completed outside of the program meeting times)

Get a glimpse into the projects of past participants!

Application Timeline

  • August 18 – application deadline (applicants who submit their application prior to the deadline can complete their interview earlier as well)
  • July 12 – August 20 – interview with the Program Director
  • August 20 – successful applicants notified of acceptance
  • August 25 – confirm participation and complete program fee payment

Application Questions

To see if this program is a good match, we invite you to share your motivations, interests, and experiences in this application. This application includes the following sections:

  • Personal Information
  • Contact Information
  • Physical Location
  • Academic Information
  • Referral Information (how you heard about the program)
  • Essay Questions

Essay Questions

Essays should be no longer than 500 words each. If you choose to compose your essay in a separate document and copy-paste it into the application form, please note that special formatting is not supported (e.g., indentation, bold / italic / underline, bullet points, etc).

  • Japan and Other Cross-Cultural Experience – Describe your experience and/or interest in learning more about Rikuzen Takata, a rural Japanese community affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. What are some things that you are hoping to learn or practice by engaging with peers from different cultural backgrounds? Please also share any past experiences and perspectives on cultural exchange.
  • Sustainability and Community Development – Sustainability and Community Development – This program focuses specifically on UN Sustainable Development Goal #11, “Sustainable Cities and Communities.” Read the brief descriptions of the sub-targets of SDG 11, and share which targets you feel a connection to or want to explore further, and why.

Reserve Interview Time

  • At the end of the application, there will be a link to reserve an interview time. Click the link and follow the instructions to reserve your interview time. You will receive an email to confirm the time of your interview.  If your application is not selected, your interview reservation will be canceled. If you have any difficulties scheduling your interview, contact Program Director Yuki Ueda (yuki|at|viaprograms.org).

Ready to get started? Click the Apply button below: