Asian Studies Program


Summer Internships in Japan

As a result of a partnership between Berea College and the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP), each year a select group of Berea students has the opportunity to spend a summer working on a 240-hectare organic dairy farm and tourist lodge in rural Yamanashi Prefecture, located just a few hours’ travel west of Tōkyō, Japan.  This is a great way in which to fulfill the College’s Active Learning Experience (ALE) requirement.  Read what Aja Croteau ’16 wrote about her experience as a KEEP intern in summer 2014 by clicking here.

What is KEEP?

KEEP is a non-profit economic and community development project rooted in the Christian principles of Paul Rusch (1897-1979), a Kentuckian and longtime missionary to Japan. Based in the Yatsugatake Highlands of central Japan just north of Mt. Fuji,  KEEP’s four foundational ideals are “food, health, faith, and hope for youth.”  Historically, KEEP has worked to put these ideals into practice by promoting agricultural and environmental education, youth leadership, and international peace-building through programs based at its farm complex.  Yamanashi Prefecture and central Kentucky share a common equestrian tradition; the Mt. Yatsugatake Horse Show held each summer in Hokuto City is famed throughout Japan.

Who can apply?

Any student who meets the following criteria is eligible to apply for the KEEP Summer Internship Program:

  • Is not an F-1 international student
  • Has completed two regular terms of study at Berea
  • Has a minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Is not on academic, labor, or social probation (exceptions may be made)
  • Has personal and/or professional interests that relate to KEEP’s mission and activities

Housing, meals, and transportation to/from the airport in Japan will be provided by KEEP.  There are limitations regarding Berea College funding for international internships if you have received Berea funding for a previous international experience.

The students selected will be expected to participate fully in the life and work of KEEP by taking on supervised labor assignments tailored to both their academic and professional interests and KEEP’s needs and resources.  For example, interns might assist KEEP by participating in the daily operations of the dairy farm, sharing their cultural traditions and English language skills with Japanese youth, or working with visitors to KEEP (e.g., dairy tours and demonstrations, nature walks, serving at meals).   Interns will work full-time for ten weeks, departing for Japan in mid-May and returning in mid-July.

How can I apply?

Applicants should nominate themselves for consideration by submitting an application (available here) along with two faculty recommendations as email attachments to by December 31, 2014.  The subject line of the email containing the application should be “KEEP Application—Lastname.”  Recommendations should come directly from the faculty member’s email account.  

Application materials will be reviewed by a committee made up of the Academic Program Chairs from Agriculture and Natural Resources, Asian Studies, Sustainability and Environmental Studies, the Director of Internships, and the Education Abroad Adviser.  Successful candidates will receive notification of acceptance by January 15, 2015. 

The four students selected will be asked to meet as a group with the Director of Internships and the Education Abroad Adviser to review the process necessary for participation in an international internship, which includes an application to the Center for International Education (CIE) by February 15, 2015 and an internship proposal to the Office of Internships by March 15, 2015.



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