Bridging Scholarship Enables U.S. Students to Study Abroad in Japan

Although studying abroad in Japan can be expensive, do not allow this deter you from picking Japan as your study abroad destination country. The United States-Japan Bridging Foundation offers the Bridging Scholarship, which is one of many study abroad scholarships and financial-aid alternatives available to students who wish to study abroad in Japan.

The foundation provides study abroad scholarships, mentorship, and networking opportunities to American undergraduates passionate about Japan. If this sounds like you, learn how you can apply for the Bridging Scholarship the right way in this guide.

Bridging Scholarship
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About the Bridging Scholarship

The Bridging Project, often known as the Bridging Scholarship, provides scholarships to undergraduate students from the United States who are enrolling in study-abroad programs in Japan.

Applicants must be undergraduate students majoring in any subject of study and participating in any recognized exchange or independent program in Japan to be eligible to apply for this scholarship.

The United States-Japan Bridging Foundation provides this Bridging Scholarship, which is administered by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ), to assist students studying abroad in Japan for a semester or an academic year.

Since its inception in 1999, the Bridging Scholarship program has given more than 1,400 scholarships to students from around the country who are studying in Japan, through contributions from a number of corporations, private foundations, and individual donors.

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Academic-year scholarships provide a cash stipend of $4,500, while semester scholarships provide a cash stipend of $2,500. The purpose of these stipends is to cover travel and living expenses, with the understanding that beneficiaries will be responsible for tuition payments.

Winners become members of the Bridging Scholar community, which includes access to the organization’s broad alumni, donor, and supporter network. Mentorship options, both in-person and online, as well as professional and networking events, are all part of the foundation’s programming.

The Bridging Scholarship strives to attract a diverse cohort of students for the Fall program, and a large amount of financial help has been set aside for students from underrepresented communities, including but not limited to:

Eligibility Requirements

The Bridging Scholarship is open to undergraduate students majoring in any subject of study. However, knowledge of the Japanese language is not required.

Applicants must be citizens of the United States and must be enrolled as undergraduates at a college or institution in the United States prior to and during their study abroad.

In addition, they must study in Japan for at least three months and gain credit that will transfer to their home campus in the United States.

Then, before to their departure, Bridging Scholarship recipients will be requested to engage in an orientation program via Zoom.

Following receipt of award, each grantee must provide a suitable headshot for the online directory, as well as a thank you note to foundation contributors.

They must also submit a brief report on their studies in Japan to the AATJ office within 90 days of their return from abroad.

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Following their time in Japan, recipients must submit to the foundation a one-page testimonial, complete with images, detailing their experience.

Required Documents

Applicants must prepare the following documents to apply for the Bridging Scholarship:

1. The Bridging Scholarship Application Form

Students must complete an online application form at this link. Candidates are advised to fill out the form with extreme care and attention to detail.

2. An Official Transcript

Applicants must submit an authentic transcript from their university’s registrar to the AATJ. The transcript can be posted in PDF format or emailed to in any electronic format supported by their colleges. Files must be smaller than 8 MB in size.

3. Letter of Motivation

A letter of recommendation should be submitted as an email attachment (PDF preferred, Word accepted) to by the person who has been asked to write the letter – someone who is knowledgeable about the applicants’ abilities and potential, such as a professor or instruction in their major courses of study.

The motivation letter will highlight the applicants’ experience and commitment to their responsibilities.

4. Essay

In this case, candidates must write 500-word short essay. Specifically, students must answer this question: “How has your background (race, cultural heritage, gender, disability, family, work, school, socio-economic background, and/or other experiences) contributed to who you are today?”

Additionally, applicants must explain why they want to study in Japan, possibly in relation to their backgrounds.

Also, they must explain what they intend to gain from participation in a study-abroad program and how they see their post-graduation/career ambitions.

The Bridging Scholarship Application

To be considered for the Bridging Scholarship, applicants must complete an online application form. A printed application, on the other hand, can be obtained from the AATJ office by phone, fax, or email, if desired. Bridging Scholars are selected by a volunteer group based on their academic potential as well as their financial requirements.

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Then, finalists must submit to the AATJ a copy of their valid Japanese visa as well as a statement from the host study abroad program confirming that the program will be in operation before the award can be disbursed.

In the event that students are unable to get visas or if their study abroad programs are cancelled, they will be unable to defer their scholarship awards to future cycles, but they are invited to reapply for the scholarship.

Students, on the other hand, may reuse the original application.

A concise report on his or her experience studying in Japan will be required of each Bridging Scholarship recipient within 90 days after returning from overseas, and this report will be sent to the AATJ office.

Once again, these reports will be useful both for students who plan to study abroad in Japan and for professors and advisors who are assisting students in selecting appropriate programs for their studies in Japan.

Closing Date

The deadline for completing and submitting applications is May 1. Finalists for the award will be announced on June 15. Please keep in mind that your application must be submitted by the deadline. If you do not submit your application by the closing date, you will be disqualified from the program.

Contact Details

For further information on the Bridging Scholarship or the application procedure, please contact Susan Schmidt, Executive Director of the Bridging Project Clearinghouse, at or

The Bridging Scholarship Official Website

Visit the official website of the Bridging Scholarship at for more information on the Bridging Scholarship or to apply for the program.

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