Experience the Inaugural Education Abroad Trip to Japan

By Brianna Rhodes / Aug 24, 2023

Students in front of Hiroshima sign on Japan Education Abroad trip
Image Caption
UMD and Hiroshima University students and staff, along with lecture guests, pose for a photo in Hiroshima, Japan, during a tour of private development structures in downtown Hiroshima.

University of Maryland students traveled to Japan for an education abroad course titled “Japan: The Built Environment, Planning, and the Exploration of Social Justice and Equity” this summer.

The inaugural trip was spearheaded by MAPP’s Hiroyuki Iseki, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Urban and Regional Planning and Design Program, and assisted by Delaney West, doctoral program coordinator and graduate assistant Megu (Meg) Itoh. Together, they provided participants with a unique opportunity to explore sites and historic buildings representing 4,000 years of cultural development in Kyoto and Hiroshima.

The participating students–both undergraduate and graduate levels–learned about several issues relating to planning and the built environment, including social issues that arise in the historic and socio-economic contexts of these two major cities.

During the trip, they interacted with planners, university students, academic scholars and community activists through lectures, dialogues, field trips, a class project and collaborative work.

Take a look at a photo gallery of the education abroad experience in Japan below:

Student looking at colorful poster
Master of Community Planning student, Emma Walker, examines paper crane collections donated to the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima, Japan as part of a tour of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and other downtown attractions showcasing the development and acknowledgement of the history of Hiroshima in a post atomic bomb era. Photo courtesy of Delaney West. 


Students walking through a Japanese gate
Students pass through the Sumiyoshi shrine stone torii in Mitarai in Kure City, Hiroshima, Japan, as part of a tour of the Mitarai Townscape Preservation Area - a once-bustling port city through the Edo and Showa periods. Students were able to see how industrial, political, and societal changes have transformed building and storefront usage in the area. Photo courtesy of Delaney West. 


Students as a tea house
Left to right: Andrew Ross, '25 (undergraduate Computer Science); Jesse Bardsley, '24 (Master of Community Planning); Sofia Castiblanco, '25 (Undergraduate Architecture). Students take in the views at Shusui-tei tea house in Kyoto, Japan, following a lecture on the space titled "The sensibilities of traditional residential architecture in Japan." Photo courtesy of Delaney West. 


Students looking at a map
Jesse Bardsley, '24 (Master of Community Planning) (left); and Sofia Castiblanco, '25 (Undergraduate Architecture) with Hiroshima University student (middle).

Students reviewing maps and informational packets on Mitarai Townscape in Kure City, Hiroshima, Japan. Students toured sake breweries, brothels, temples and storefronts - some of which are remnants of the bustling ports of the Edo and Showa periods - in what is now designated a preservation area. Photo courtesy of Delaney West. 


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