Western Carolina University

ENGR 365 Global Engineering and Technology

+ SM 350 Global Sport and Culture

5/15 – 6/4, 2019

A Faculty-led Travel Course to Japan in 2019
6 Credits to Ensure Your Eligibility for Financial Aid (Including Pell Program and/or Loans)
Open to all WCU students

Led by Dr. Yanjun Yan and Dr. David Tyler

The entire class will travel together and share activities to achieve the student learning outcomes of both ENGR 365 and SM 350. Both courses are P6 Category World-Culture Upper-Level Perspective courses. By registering 6 credits in summer 2019, you are eligible for financial aid, and get 6 credits towards your graduation (talk to Dr. Yan, Dr. Tyler, and/or your program director for details). The students from various programs will gain rare opportunities to practice interdisciplinary collaborations.







The two travel courses include destinations in Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, etc. across various parts of Japan, and from metropolitan cities to historical towns. The class will visit companies, manufacturing sites, universities, sporting events, museums, and cultural sites in Japan.

The ENGR 365 course will encourage students to experience Japanese culture and appreciate its influence on the engineering and technology practices in Japan within the global context.

Join the travel course in SET at WCU

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Meet engineers and students in Japan

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Experience Japanese culture

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Advance in your career

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Open to opportunities yet to be revealed

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Earn 3+3 credits on one trip

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Broaden your horizons

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Be one of the few students who study abroad!

Enjoy the world as your classroom!









Potential Itinerary


The itinerary is the latest plan representative of our intentions and is still under development. The listed hosts have agreed to meet with the class, but their availability in 2019 may change and we may change our schedule to accommodate their availability or even switch speakers. We may also move things around depending on the situations. Think of this as an idea of what the trip will look like, and the itinerary will be continuously updated when the plans are firmed up.

Here are some potential sites we plan to visit.


Estimated Costs


Disclaimer: The budget below is a good-faith estimate of the costs incurred during this travel courses of ENGR 365 & SM 350. The items can change (to be only lower than the estimate, never higher) as actual costs become known. We have given our best estimate, and we will do whatever we can to minimize the costs while maximizing your experience.

Note: If you qualify, these costs (both the part you pay to WCU at OneStop and the part you pay by yourself) are covered by financial aid (6 credits from WCU in summer makes you eligible for financial aid), and many students reported that they might spend about half of the allowance on meals to get good meals in Japan, and your total actual cost can be lower. Contact Ms. Kelsey Woodford (Email her at kwoodford@wcu.edu or go to the Financial Aid Office at OneStop M-F 8am-5pm) and review the financial aid procedure document for more info.

Note: WCU reserves the right to cancel or alter the course format or to change costs as situations require.

Faculty Expense (two instructors' travel, stipend)$1,545
Ground Transportation (unlimited train JR pass, bus, taxis)$670
Tickets and Admissions$300
Group Meals$76
WCU IPS Administrative Fee$200
Educational Supplies (pocket WiFi that allows internet wherever one goes, notebooks, etc.)$58
Currency Exchange Rate Fluctuation$100
Gifts for Hosts (Omiyage)$30
Health Insurance$32
Pay to WCU$4,310
Airfare (from AVL or ATL)$1,300
New passport, if you don't have one yet$145
Pay by oneself$2,189

Frequently Asked Questions



How do I apply?

The application is located in the bottom section of Application, where there are two Qualtrics survey links (the unofficial one goes to Dr. Yan directly, which helps Dr. Yan to know your background immediately, and the official one goes to WCU IPS, which is required for your admission into this travel course). A short interview will be arranged after Dr. Yan gets your unofficial application and you will be informed soon whether you can join this course or not.

When are the trip applications due?

The application is due on Jan 15.

However, the estimated costs are based on early booking (buying flight ticket and booking some lodging in Jan, etc.), and the later it goes, the higher the costs will be. Meanwhile, booking flight tickets and train tickets requires your passport number. If you want to join this course, you need to get your passport ready by then.

You are highly encouraged to talk to Dr. Yan in person to make a decision on whether you can/want to join the travel course as soon as possible, and then apply early.

Is there an application fee to join this travel course?

No. Application is free. Still, apply for this course only if you really plan to go.

When will we hear back if we are selected to go on the study abroad trip?

Dr. Yan will review the applications and may invite students for a short interview. Following the interview, students will be notified about whether they are accepted to the course or not.

Is this class only for engineering and technology majors?

Definitely not. This class is open to all students interested in learning more about other cultures. Engineering and technology is ubiquitous in our daily lives, and its accelerated development in the last decade makes it even more relevant to everyone now than ever.

How many students get to go and how are they selected?

A single course is generally capped at 10 students, who are chosen through an application process that includes academic criteria, a student questionnaire, and an interview with the primary instructor. Note that the proposed budget is based on 6 students per course. When there are more students, the budget per each student will be lower.

This year since two courses are traveling together, the overall cap is 20 students and the budget is based on 12 students in total.

Can I still take this class if...

Can I still take this class if I don’t go to WCU, if I’m graduating in May, or if I graduated already?

Yes, you can. You just need to apply to WCU as “transient student,” and there’s a $50 charge to the Admissions Office to do that. For more details, see the Admissions Office’s information about transient students. For WCU grads, your 92 number will basically be reauthorized for summer session and you’ll be registered/billed for the course just like anyone else. For non-WCU students, the process is a little more involved, but it’s mostly just paperwork.

Costs and Financial Aid (Pre-Trip)

I have a question about financial aid. Who do I contact?

Contact Ms. Kelsey Woodford in the student financial aid office
Email: kwoodford@wcu.edu; be sure to email from your Catamount email and include your 92 number
In person: Stop by the financial aid office at OneStop in Killian Annex and ask for Ms. Woodford
You can also review the Financial Aid procedures document to get more info

Are there scholarships available to help pay for the trip?

Potentially there are some study-abroad scholarships from multiple organizations, but at this moment there is no such scholarship (free-money) from WCU. One option is to check with WCU’s Office of International Programs Services (IPS). They have a list of common scholarships for which students may qualify.

When are payments due?

A $1000 non-refundable deposit is required by the end of January. All remaining travel costs are due by mid-March (unless covered by financial aid; Financial aid payments are made 9 days before trip departure).

Is there a payment plan or do I pay all of the money upfront?

Details will be provided once the number of students is set. For money going directly to WCU, you will pay $1000 by Jan 30 and the balance by mid-March. The airplane tickets will likely be bought in Dec, Jan, or no later than Feb. Your food money won’t be spent until you’re overseas.

To whom do I make the check out for the trip?

As the trip approaches, Dr. Yan will explain where payments should go. It is paid at OneStop.

What extra things will I need to budget for while traveling (e.g., food, gifts, etc.)?

The following are examples of items that have NOT been included in the budget:

  • Gifts – buying souvenirs for yourself or for others
  • Extra activities – what you do in your free time
  • Excess food or drink – an allowance of certain amount per day is included in the budget for meals. This covers basic eating in chain restaurants, but if you’re going out to mid-level restaurants (or better), or ordering more expensive drinks during dinner, you’ll go over the budgeted amount quickly.
  • Excess travel – The amount budgeted for travel will be enough to get you to/from all required activities. However, anything you do on your own time will need to be covered by you.

See the budget for a list of what is covered, which will help you determine what isn’t covered.

Course Contents

Does this course count toward liberal studies? As an upper level perspective?

This ENGR 365 class counts as a P6 (World Cultures) course in the liberal studies curriculum.
This class counts as an upper level perspective (ULP) for non-E&T majors. For E&T majors (EE, ECET, BSE, ET), it only counts as a ULP if you’re double majoring in something else too, otherwise it does not count as an ULP.

Where does this count for the E&T degree?

All the E&T degrees requires a P6 course, and this class counts as a P6 (World Cultures) course.

In the ENGR 365 / SM 350 trip, for some E&T programs, the ENGR365 course could be counted as a technical elective, on a case-by-case basis. Please talk to Dr. Yan and your program director for details.

What are the course objectives?

The objectives of this ENGR 365 course are aligned with the objectives of the Liberal Studies Program at WCU, as shown below. Upon completion of this course, the students will be able to

  • Gain factual knowledge about global engineering and technology practices. Collect, interpret and use information related to engineering and technology practices within local, national, and international contexts. Apprehend the impact of engineering and technology solutions in a global, economic, environmental, societal and global context.
  • Reflect upon the principles, generalizations and theories of global engineering and technology practices beyond United States. Articulate the importance of cultural disparities and similarities when developing engineering practices. Understand and is committed to address professional and ethical responsibilities including a respect for diversity.
  • Critically examine complex issues of a global nature in contemporary engineering and technology practices. Recognize contemporary issues. Understand the nature and importance of interrelationships and interdependence between and among individuals, countries, and regions.
  • Identify, formulate, analyze, and solve broadly-defined engineering and technology problems. Apply knowledge of global engineering and technology practices to prepare project statements with clear project goals and objectives. Analyze project requirements to propose potential designs, determine the available resources, and apply practical constraints.
  • Contribute as a member of a multidisciplinary team to create a project schedule and plan. Function on multidisciplinary teams effectively as a member or leader. Organize and participate in effective team meetings. Develop and document the solution to engineering design challenges as part of a team. Propose clearly-defined metrics to evaluate the performance of a solution.
  • Communicate in an engineering environment through technical writing, verbal communication, and delivery of presentation. Develop organizational and communication skills that facilitate active involvement in, and contributions to projects in a wide variety of disciplines. Apply written, oral, and graphical communication in both technical and non-technical environments effectively; and identify and use appropriate technical literature.

Please read the syllabus to learn more about the assignments and grading for the course.

What kind of school work is involved before the trip?

Before the travel, the students will meet about once a month in spring on logistics, orientation, and some light lecturing. There will be reading (and related assignments) due before the travel so that students are prepared and will make the most of their time while traveling.
Please read the syllabus to learn more about the assignments and grading for the ENGR 365 course.

What will be required of us while on the trip?

During the trip, the students are required to actively participate in all visits and cultural activities, take notes and photos during each visit, respect oneself and others, follow schedule and directions, and work as a team.
Please read the syllabus to learn more about the expectations of students in ENGR 365 while on the trip.

What does the post-trip work entail?

After the travel, the students in in ENGR 365 will do case studies on chosen topics and a report on the materials collected before and during the trip. A comprehensive final exam that integrates course contents, similar to early assignments in format, will be given in the end. The post-trip work is set to be due on Blackboard near the end of July to give you enough time to finish, and your overall grades of this course will be determined in early Aug.
Please read the syllabus to learn more about what is required upon the completion of the travel.

Credit Hours

How many credit hours will I receive for this class?

You will receive three (3) credit hours under the ENGR 365 course number, and another three (3) credit hours under the SM 350 course number. So altogether, you get 6 credits.

The three credit hours of the ENGR 365 course are determined based on the contact hours and course contents. A student can not elect to receive zero or less than three credit hours by doing fewer or none of the coursework nor to receive more than three credit hours as there are no further coursework to warrant it. The same rule applies to SM 350.

Are the credit hours too few?

The ENGR 365 course is for three credit hours. We understand the common concern that if a student wishes to be eligible for summer financial aid, s/he needs to register for at least six credit hours of WCU courses in summer. That’s partially why we include another 3-credit course, SM 350, from WCU into our travel course proposal, you will then automatically be eligible for summer financial aid consideration. Also, SM 350 is a very relevant course to understand Japanese culture, technologies, management, and business. Note that the actual amount of aid depends on your financial need situation and please contact the financial aid office to find out your specific situation.

Are the credit hours too many?

With 3 credits from ENGR 365 in the P6 category, I plan to take more courses in P6 in the future or if I have already gotten some credits in P6, are there too many credit hours, especially in P6?

First, in terms of the 140 hour surcharge rule, summer credits are excluded (details at surcharge.wcu.edu). “2. Excluded are credit hours earned through: f. credit earned in all summer sessions;” You will never need to pay the surcharge for later courses due to any summer course.
Be aware, though, the automatic registration system sends out emails as soon as one’s total credit hours surpass 90 hours without removing the excluded courses. It is a staff member in the registrar’s office who does the exclusion manually, and please contact your adviser and the registrar’s office if you have any questions.

Second, in terms of the P6 credits exceeding the required 3 credits for graduation, more credits will only show your interests and efforts on world culture without hurting your progress towards graduation or in any other way. Your experience will be shown in the course titles on the transcript, and employers typically are very interested in and appreciate such unusual courses.


Will I need a passport and/or a visa?

Yes, you will need a passport. If you do not have a passport, apply for one at any post office. The cost is $145 altogether (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/fees.html). Allow for 6-8 weeks . If you have a passport, make sure that it is valid until Nov 2018 (6 months from the day we leave USA). To get the best deal in flight ticket, you should have your passport ready in Dec.

With a US passport, you can enter Japan to stay for less than 90 days without a visa. If you hold other countries’ passport, please find out whether you need to apply for a Japanese temporary visit visa. You are free to use any agent. The service fees may differ at different agents, beyond the consular fee.

What do you recommend we pack? How much?

We’ll talk about it as we get closer to departure, but…

Whatever you do, pack lightly! Plan to take a carry-on and a backpack – no checked luggage.

  • I can’t stress that enough (but I’ll try).
  • The website One Bag is a good resource that goes into detail about one-bagging it for trips abroad.
  • This YouTube video on bundle packing that shows how to get 16 garments into a carry-on.
  • Scan through Lifehacker.com’s packing-related posts to get more tips. Some are geared more toward frequent business travelers (like this YouTube video, which is way beyond my packing abilities), but the tips still might be helpful.
How much cash should we have on hand while in Japan?

In Japan, Japanese Yen is the official currency that is traded with US Dollars. In the estimated budget plan, the student responsibility includes your own meals. Some extra spending money is also recommended. The credit card issued in US can be used at airports and may be accepted at the local stores in Japan.

Will I need to convert money to have on hand while in Japan?

There are banks or kiosks to do the monetary conversion while in Japan.

Our students used to use some local companies in NC to convert the money with a small fee and if they don’t use up all the converted money, they can convert it back to USD after the trip without an extra fee.

Will we be flying as a group or by ourselves?
  • We don’t include flight costs in the required payment to WCU OneStop because of students using frequent flyer miles, leaving from a different city, taking different itineraries after the course, etc. The flight ticket price is added in the budget, though, to give you an idea on the overall cost and allow it to be covered by financial aid.
  • For the flight over, we will try to go as a group. Ideally, the class will meet and buy the flight tickets together so that all the concerns can be addressed in real time. Last year, we got a really good deal on the flight tickets that were three days early from our original plan and we switched the order of our destinations! This wouldn’t happen without a thorough discussion on all the options in the flights and itineraries. If some student cannot make it to the meeting, Dr. Yan will provide them with the flight numbers and the whole class should get to the Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan around the same time. If you cannot fly with the group for some reason, talk to Dr. Yan and we’ll look at options on how to meet us there.
  • For the flight home, students are encouraged to fly back to the US together. If some student decides to travel elsewhere a bit before going home, the student is responsible for that independent travel after the course and WCU is not under any liability then. After the course, Dr. Yan may stay in Japan for a few more days, but she will accompany the student group to the airport for the departure.
How will the roommates be paired? / What will the living situation be like?

The lodging choices are made based on location, reviews and prices.

  • You will be given the option to choose your roommate(s) ahead of time. Those who do not have roommates in mind will have ample opportunity to meet others taking the course during the spring semester and will be able to match up accordingly.
  • In Japan, a double room means a room with a single queen size bed that sleeps two people, and we will use such rooms. A room with two beds are called a family room, which is too costly to be used for our course. When we visit universities, dorm rooms may be used, if available. Another option of lodging is the traditinoal rooms with Tatami mats and floors.
  • No coed roommates are allowed.
What medical examinations/immunizations will I need before going?

None is required to join this travel course.

Please maintain your routine immunization, and you may also check out the Health Information for Travelers to Japan for more details.

What medicine for personal use can I bring to Japan?

Please follow the instructions at the following links:



Note that the no product containing the designated pharmaceutical ingredients (see linked table)(57KB), which is sold in foreign countries/regions with advertisement on enhancing cerebral function and other mental effects, shall be imported, unless use of such a product is complying with doctor’s prescription or instruction. However, it would be permissible for foreign travelers to bring such a medicinal product into Japan by his/her self, in the purpose of self-medication during his/her stay.※
※This regulation comes into effect on January 1, 2019.

Regardless of the description above, you cannot bring prohibited drugs and controlled drugs into Japan.

Who are we going to be with in Japan?

The two courses (ENGR 365 and SM 350) are in a single faculty-led travel course package with 6 credits, and the students will be enrolled into both courses automatically with 6 credits towards graduation and are eligible for financial aid.

There is another faculty-led travel course, JPN 493 Special Topics in Japanese, led by Professor Soichiro Motohashi, that will share similar itineraries with us from Tokyo up to Hiroshima. Then JPN 493 will visit Naruto for a few days, while ENGR 365 & SM 350 will go to the Kansai area (staying in Osaka) and do more activities there (meetings, day trips, etc.).

We will not join tours that are rushed by a guide.

Should I use a phone in Japan?

Needless to say, owning a phone in Japan will be very useful and give us all the peace of mind. So, how can you use a phone in Japan?

1. If you activate the international roaming service of your cell phone, you can maintain your regular phone number. However, it can be expensive. Please contact your cell phone provider to understand the terms and rates.

2. If your phone uses a SIM card that can be taken out to put in a new SIM card, or if you have an unlocked phone that uses a SIM card, you may purchase a local SIM card at the airport or in town in Japan. There are SIM cards that can be used for a month with the certain amount of minutes, and you can purchase and load more minutes after that if needed. The local SIM card will give you a Japanese phone number. You and your family can purchase a calling card to call each other for several cents a minute.

3. If you do not want to activate your roaming service in Japan and your phone does not use a SIM card (for example, the SPRINT phone uses CDMA without a SIM card, and the prepaid phones typically don’t use SIM cards), you may purchase a second phone that is simple and inexpensive to use the local SIM card, only for voice-call or message purpose. Such a simple phone typically does not allow you to use apps, and please still bring your regular smart phone to Japan to use apps with WiFi.

If you decide not to use the cell phone service in Japan, please still bring your phone, as free WiFi is available sometimes, or the class may share a rental pocket wifi device for about $50 to connect up to 10 devices, so that you can get in touch with your family and friends using the social app (such as WeChat) while in Japan.

Also, please keep the phone numbers of the instructor and the contacts at activities (which will be provided when the activities are confirmed), in case you ever need to use a public phone to get in touch with us.



It is imperative that you fill both Qualtrics forms (the one that goes to Dr. Yan, and the official one to WCU IPS).

Step 1: Student questionnaire to the instructor

Click the link of this brief questionnaire to fill it online. It helps Dr. Yan learn more about you and your interest in the course. Once submitted, the data will go directly to Dr. Yan.

Step 2: Student application to WCU International Programs office (IPS)

The official application form required by WCU IPS can be found at the link below:
Look for the purple text box “Student Application, APPLY NOW” at the top-right cornder of this page, and click the text box to enter the Qualtrics survey.

The information of this trip required on the Qualtrics survey is provided below:

Course prefix, number, and name (e.g., HESA 600 – International Education): ENGR 365 – Global Engineering and Technology & SM 350 – Global Sport & Culture
Course destination (country, cities): Japan: Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, etc.
Travel Dates (mm/dd/yy to mm/dd/yy): 05/15/2019 to 06/04/2019
(On the old form course duration (eg. 10 days): 21 days)
Leading instructors’ names: Dr. Yanjun Yan and Dr. David Tyler
Leading instructors’ emails: yyan@wcu.edu; dtyler@wcu.edu

Note: In the space for your email address, use your @catamount.wcu.edu address. Also, do not leave the physician contact information section blank. If you have a regular physician, fill in their name, address, and phone. If you don’t have one, put in WCU Health Services at 828-227-7640.

Dr. Yan will review the applications and invite students for a short interview. Following the interview, students will be notified about whether they are accepted to the course. It is important to submit your applications as soon as possible. Of course, if you have any questions filling out the forms, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Yan.


You may check out the student resources at the WCU IPS website for further general information about studying-abroad:

For Your Information: Student Checklist for WCU Faculty-led Travel Course (2018-2019)