Overview

Learn or expand your Japanese language skills, explore Tokyo and Kyoto, and experience the culture of Japan on this high school summer abroad program.

Program Description

Study Japanese, live with a host family, and explore the cultural and historical sights of Toyko, Sapporo, and Kyoto. While in Sapporo, receive 32 hours of formal language instruction—provided at three language levels — in small-group, interactive formats. Practice reading and writing hiragana and kanji with Japanese teachers. Have language exchanges with local students.

Focus on communication skills for everyday life and your upcoming homestay. Take time to sample local delicacies, order gyoza and sushi at local restaurants, explore Japan’s natural beauty, and learn about the indigenous Ainu culture of Hokkaido. Visit the homes of local college students to learn about Japanese home life and cook together.

Further enhance your Japanese and deepen your understanding of culture and family life in Japan through the program’s homestay. Learn to cook homemade soba noodles or to roll your own sushi with your host parents and hang out with your host siblings. Take advantage of opportunities to learn the art of Japanese flower arrangement or the tea ceremony. Activities during this time could also include visiting a local school, practicing Zen meditation, or participating in a traditional festival.

Your exploration through Japan continues as you spend several days exploring the temples, markets, and shrines of ancient Kyoto. Hike to Nij? Castle, home to the ancient imperial court, and visit the golden-walled Kinkaku-ji temple. The program begins and ends in Toyko, where you and your group explore the famous sites, museums, and diverse neighborhoods of one of the world’s most populous cities.

Language Certificate: At the conclusion of this program, each participant will earn a language certificate noting how many hours of language classes s/he completed.

Sample Itinerary

Days 1–3
Orientation in Tokyo

  • Learn about the history and culture of Japan
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
  • Visit famous sites and museums throughout the city
  • Explore diverse neighborhoods, navigate the city using public transportation, and sample Japanese cuisine

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 4–12
Thematic Focus in Sapporo

  • Become immersed in Japanese language and culture
  • Attend interactive small-group language classes
  • Learn about the indigenous Ainu culture, meet with local college students, hike Maruyama, and sample local delicacies
  • Participate in a Japanese cooking workshop and visit a local anime studio

During this period, you and your group will stay at a nonprofit center.

Days 13–22
Homestay

  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Japanese family and community
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
  • Visit local schools, experience onsen (hot springs), and practice Japanese calligraphy

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Tomakomai, Bihoro, Yubari, Kamaishi

Days 23–28
Excursion to Kyoto

  • Explore the ancient city of Kyoto
  • Visit local temples, shop in bustling street markets, see pristine Japanese gardens, and experience the traditional art and architecture of Kyoto

During this excursion, you and your group will stay in a hotel.

Day 29
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Tokyo

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Day 30
Departure

About The Experiment

The Experiment in International Living is a nonprofit organization that has been offering immersive experiential learning programs abroad since 1932. Today, The Experiment offers three-, four-, and five-week summer programs for high school students in more than 20 countries around the world.

Programs are designed to equip participants not only with essential cultural skills and, in many cases, language skills, but also with a deeper awareness of and sensitivity to critical global issues shaping the diverse communities and regions we visit. Each year, hundreds of Experimenters come away from their summer abroad with invaluable new skills, connections, awareness, and knowledge that help them to thrive—and lead—in diverse, intercultural environments.

The Experiment is committed to providing participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds with access to The Experiment’s immersive cross-cultural programs through its partnerships, scholarships, and other initiatives.

The Experiment places the highest priority on health, safety, and security. Each program follows a comprehensive structure designed to maximize the well-being of all participants while they engage in dynamic cross-cultural experiences. We have implemented specific risk management strategies that include a 24-hour emergency on-call service and regular safety reviews. We hire and train experienced adult group leaders and maintain longstanding partnerships with in-country offices to support each of our programs.

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