Bridging Foundation Response to COVID-19 and Bridging Scholars FAQ

Bridging Foundation Response to COVID-19 and Bridging Scholars FAQ

The Bridging Foundation joins our community in the U.S. and Japan in supporting our scholars during this challenging time.  Please see the information and FAQs below, on how we will continue to do so.

Operations and Staff Contact

The Bridging Foundation is continuing to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our student scholars, staff, board, visitors, and the public at large.  In consideration of safety and operational continuity for our mission-focused work, the Bridging Foundation staff will be teleworking until further notice. Our offices are currently closed. Staff are available by email, and will respond to messages during regular business hours in Eastern Daylight Time.

Please contact Ed Spitzberg, Interim Executive Director at or Jean Falvey, Deputy Director at if you have any questions.

Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 Bridging Scholarship Program Grant Recipients

We want to support our Bridging Scholars and their safe return home now that their study abroad programs in Japan have been cancelled.  Since Bridging Scholarships are designed to help students who may otherwise not have the financial means to afford to study in Japan, we want to ease any additional financial difficulties the students could encounter on top of the disruption and disappointment they are experiencing with the suspension of their study abroad programs.

Please visit this page for the latest information and updates as available.

Please contact Susan Schmidt at and if you are a current scholar or applicant with any questions.

Fall 2020 Bridging Scholarship Application Round Still Open

Applications for Fall 2020 Bridging Scholarships have closed. The deadline for receipt of applications was APRIL 10, 2020.  Decisions and scholarship grants will be announced by summer 2020.

We are hopeful that study abroad programs will resume normal activity by this fall. In the event that a student’s study abroad program in Japan will not resume operations by September, we will work with the student to defer their grant according to our policy above.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. If I’ve already received funds and my program is cancelled, do I owe you a refund?

Bridging Scholarships are designed to help our scholars cover expenses associated with studying in Japan.  We realize that many of our current scholars have had significant expenses, and helping you with them is part of our mission.

So if you have received funds already and have documented expenses for non-refundable travel or lodging, no need to refund.  Please send Susan Schmidt documentation of those expenses.

If you have not spent your entire scholarship, and are not deferring (see below), we just ask you to refund the balance. Again, please contact Susan for any questions about your specific situation.

  1. What if I’ve already spent the award on non-refundable flights or lodging deposits?

Nope! Again, just document those expenses and send them to Susan. If you’ve spent part of your award and aren’t deferring, you just need to refund the remaining balance.

  1. I’ve received a scholarship but haven’t used any of the funds yet. May I defer my scholarship to next year?

Yes.  We just need you to inform us in writing (an e-mail to Susan Schmidt is fine) by April 30, 2020.

You will then have until April 30, 2021 to inform us you intend to attend the program and use the funds. If you have a received the funds already, you do not need to refund them unless you do not attend a program by April 30, 2021.  If you have not yet received the funds, we will hold them until you attend the program, up to April 30, 2021.

  1. I have received a scholarship but I no longer wish to attend. What happens to my scholarship?

We understand in this uncertain time that your choices may have changed. In that case, if you have received funds, you need to return it to us.  If you haven’t, we will retain the funds.

In either case, you need to let us know in writing, to Susan Schmidt.

  1. I want to apply for a Bridging Scholarship, but I’m not sure what the status of my school’s exchange program will be in the 2020-21 academic year yet?

Yes! We encourage all interested students to apply.  We plan on having some flexibility to accommodate this fluctuating situation.

6. OK, I have a question and need to contact Susan Schmidt.  How do I contact her?

Susan is happy to answer your questions and help you via email at and