Top 10 Things to Know Before Studying Abroad in Japan

Top 10 Things to Know Before Studying Abroad in Japan

Do you love Japanese culture? Are you ready to study abroad in Japan? Before you take off for a summer camp or a semester abroad, there are a few keys things you’ll want to know about Japanese culture. Although Japan and the United States are close allies and have quite a few similarities, travelers to Japan are often struck with a sense of weirdness or vast difference. Questions like “Why do they do that?” or “Isn’t it strange that this is customary here?” are bound to run through the mind of a visitor to the Land of the Rising Sun. With a little extra preparation, we hope to prepare a novice visitor to Japan with the top 10 things to know before you arrive. 

Never, ever be late.

Punctuality is a cornerstone of Japanese culture. If something is scheduled to start at 8:00am, you need to be there by 7:45am. You’ll notice, especially on public transportation, that people are always running or speed walking to their next destination. Lateness is not at all accepted or acceptable behavior. For example, we have had past participants who would get text messages one minute after the class was due to begin, wondering if everything was OK, with instructions for how they would be rescheduling the class. If you are running even one minute late meeting someone, text or call to let them know.  A good rule of thumb is to always arrive earlier than expected, and setting your alarm or watch early will help you do that.

Get ready to take your shoes on and off all the time.

Whenever you enter into a private space, such as a host family home or school classroom, you will need to remove your shoes. Please always have socks with you as barefootedness is an absolute no-no. Most places have a lobby area in the front with cubbies for you to store your shoes. For your host family stay, you need to bring “house shoes” which are like slippers or flipflops that you only wear inside. The house shoes should not be worn outside.

japanese shoe cubby

It is clean. Like REALLY clean

One of the first things you will notice about Japan is how clean everything is — the people, the homes, the streets–it’s all very neat and tidy!

There is rarely litter, everything is cleaned regularly and graffiti is not a thing they deal with. It’s practically spotless! However, you’ll also notice a distinct lack of public garbage cans. They don’t really exist! You’ll need to hold on to any garbage you create during the day (to-go coffee cups, candy wrappers, water bottles, etc) until you get home and can dispose of it in your own home. Keep this in mind before you hop into line at Starbucks. Under no circumstances should you litter while in Japan. The Japanese take great pride in their country’s cleanliness and this would be extremely rude and inconsiderate.

In addition to clean public spaces, the Japanese are a very, very clean people. Here are just a few examples of how a value on personal hygenie manifests itself in Japan:

  • People shower every single day, sometimes multiple times in a day. You need to be cognizant of your hygiene, always wearing deodorant and showering daily.
  • Wet naps/moist towels are provided in nearly every restaurant and people are regularly washing their hands throughout the day, not just after using the bathroom.
  • One of the most popular leisure activities in Japan is to go to a Japanese bathhouse!
  • Across the country, people wear hygienic face masks which they believe will keep germs at bay.
  • Most places have a special tray for you to put your money in and receive it from, so that you don’t have to hand it to anyone who could give you germs.

Finally, Japanese people keep their homes in nearly spotless conditions. No matter how clean you think your room is, it won’t be clean enough. Your standards of cleanliness are probably much different than your host family’s standards.  Expect that your host mom will still clean up your room — even after you’ve done your version of a full cleaning. This does NOT excuse you from trying to keep your space as clean as possible, however. Your efforts will be noticed and much appreciated. If  you don’t attempt to clean up after yourself, that too will be noticed.

clean streets japan

Everything is smaller.

Being a mountainous island nation, space is at a premium in Japan. This directly correlates with the value the Japanese place on cleanliness and hygiene. Their cities are dense with people and there is little extra or unused space. The average Japanese home is significantly smaller than US homes, and you will need to get used to being in close quarters. That is true of public spaces as well. You will immediately notice that the social bubbles of the Japanese are smaller – by necessity. Trains and buses are likely to be crowded all the time, and you need to just push in!

Their expectations are high – and it’s ok if you fall short!

From a young age, Japanese children are held to high expectations, whether it be in their academics, appearance, or athleticism. They tend to be more fatalistic in their beliefs, meaning there is no room for mistakes because you do not get a second chance at something. This also means that Japanese people can be quick to judgement or grudge-holding. This is a country where you really only do get one chance a first impression!

Understand that you won’t be perfect and you may not meet all their expectations. But try your best!

The Japanese also enjoy giving advice, considering it their duty to correct “errors” they see in others. This has a lot to do with their value in conformity and prioritization of the group over the individual (more on that below). You should expect comments about your appearance (weight, clothes, hair style), grades, Japanese ability, etc. It doesn’t mean that they disapprove of you or believe you are lesser because of these qualities. It’s just a different way that Japanese people express their care for you.

ysabel with Japanese friends

Manners, manners, manners

The Japanese are a polite and soft-spoken people. Children are taught respect from a very young age, and are held to high standards. Here are just a few examples of the manners you’ll need to showcase:

  • You’ll notice that people often bow upon meeting one another. The duration and deepness of the bow is proportionate to power and position of the person you are addressing. For example, a friend might get a fast 30-degree bow (nearly a head nod like movement) vs. a grandparent or school principal might get a slow, extended, 70-degree bow. It’s all about position and circumstance. For foreigners, a simple inclination of the head or an attempt at a bow at the waist will usually suffice but it’s always best to follow the example of the Japanese.
  • The way you address someone matters a great deal. Americans tend to be quite casual in their inter-personal interactions, which is in deep contrast with the Japanese. The Japanese add suffixes to names in order to confer respect. Adding “san” or “sana” to the end of names is customary (example: Jane Doe-sana or Joe Smith-san). Usually children are content with just their first names, but you can add the suffix “chan” for girls and “kun” for boys if you like.
  • Drawing attention to yourself as an individual is a huge no-no: don’t blow your nose in public, try to avoid eating while on the go, and don’t speak on your cell phone in crowded public areas like trains or buses.
  • Get accustomed to saying “Gomenasai” and “Arigato Gozaimas” meaning “I’m sorry” and “Thank you very much”. It’s the best way to show appreciation, avoid offending, or apologize for offenses already made. Those phrases said with a genuine smile will take you far in Japan

Japanese people are likely to address you immediately in English.

Until you prove that you know some Japanese, most people are likely to address you in English. This can be hard when you are trying to learn the language or be immersed in it. It’s easy to revert back to your native language when everyone is speaking it to you. But try to always respond in Japanese to show them that you know some and are working hard to improve. They are likely to be excited and proud of you for trying!

host family 2

Eating Etiquette

It would be a good idea to make sure prior to traveling to Japan you know how to use chopsticks. It is the most common utensil used for eating although you may raise bowls to your mouth to make it easier to eat with chopsticks, especially bowls of rice.

Japanese cuisine is based on combining rice with one main dish and several side dishes. Japanese meals are served as small plates, with each dish being served separately. It contrasts with the Western-style dinners at home, where each individual takes helpings from the large serving dishes of food presented at the middle of the dining table. It is not uncommon to get 8-10 different dishes in a meal.

It is considered very rude to waste food. If you are not hungry, only take the amount of food that you will be able to consume.

Many restaurants and homes in Japan are equipped with Western-style chairs and tables. However, traditional Japanese low tables and cushions, usually found on tatami floors, are also very common. Tatami mats, which are made of straw, can be easily damaged and are hard to clean, thus shoes or any type of footwear are always taken off when stepping on tatami floors. When dining in a traditional tatami room, sitting upright on the floor is common. In a casual setting, men usually sit with their feet crossed and women sit with both legs to one side. Only men are supposed to sit cross-legged. The formal way of sitting for both sexes is kneeling.

You might notice that Japanese people are loud eaters. Slurping noodles or making loud noises while eating is actually OK! In fact, slurping hot food like ramen is polite as it shows that you are enjoying it.

Japanese feast

You’re going to be busy. Downtime isn’t really a thing.

Downtime isn’t really a thing in Japan — they are not relaxers. The Japanese do not prioritize leisure time in the same way that people do in the United States or Canada. The work-life balance tends to be much more skewed towards work (or study). On weeknights, it is customary to not plan activities after work or school. Parents and students will return home and continue working or studying, with only a break for meal time. On the weekends, they allow themselves a little more free time, usually spending it watching TV, spending time outside or with loved ones.

In the context of a short program like our language camps or a long-term program like a semester abroad, you will be busy nearly all the time. You should expect to be go-go-go with little room for alone time or leisure activities. Most of your days will be spent busy with school, commuting, excursions & activities and spending time with the host family. It’s important that you mentally prepare for this type of schedule, since you might be surprised by the rigor and fatigue it induces. But just think, you’re making the most of your time in Japan! You can rest when you’re home!



In Japan, they focus their attention on the group rather than the individual. The United States is a highly individualistic country, so this is a huge contrast that can cause a lot of conflict, especially in regards to interpersonal interactions. The Japanese idea of ‘good for the group above good for the individual’ dictates their way of life and actions. They will always prioritize the group over themselves. For example: when employees go on vacation, they thank their co-workers for helping with their workload in their absence with words and small gifts.

“Saving face” is very important and dictates many actions. Anything that might be construed as potentially confrontational, embarrassing, shameful, is avoided and motivates many Japanese to act in a way that will not result in these feelings. Honne and tatemae are Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires (本音 honne?) and the behavior and opinions one displays in public (建前 tatemae?, lit. “façade”).  Most Japanese don’t discuss what they are thinking directly to others, which makes communication sometimes challenging.

If they think you won’t like an answer to a question you posed, they prefer to not directly respond it to avoid being offensive.  Expect lots of “maybes’, when they mean no. Example: Can I go to Tokyo by myself? Response-“Maybe it is not a good idea and is not very safe.” Always ask to help clean or prepare dinner twice, because they are likely to say no the first time, and then give you the real answer the second time. A good rule of thumb is to be as polite and considerate as possible and just assume they mean the best, because they probably do.


Have you been to Japan before? Comment below with any other suggestions or tips you think we should add to this list!

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High School in Japan

77 thoughts on "Top 10 Things to Know Before Studying Abroad in Japan"

  1. Ilhaam says:

    Hi, my name is Ilhaam and I just graduated from high school. I’m a black muslim and was planning to study medicine in the region of Kanto. A friend of mine dissuaded me because she claims Japan has a history of islamophobia and racism towards dark-skinned people. Could you tell me what you think?

    1. Merci says:

      While racism is everywhere, including Japan, I have heard of people having better experiences in Japan than the latter. Because it is a homogenic society you are certain to stand out and have eyes on you, but a good portion of the time it is because the people are curious. They haven’t seen someone like you before! Of course I cannot say that you may not have any bad experiences, but almost everyone tries their best to be friendly and inclusive. I’d say that if you are serious about going, go ahead and do so.

    2. Misato. aisha says:

      Hello Ilhaam!Hope you notice this message. I’m a Japanese and reverted to Islam in Malaysia last year. In my experience, I’ve never heard any discrimination about Islam in Japan. The number of muslims are increasing here, and the environment is getting improved. In big cities (ex. Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto.etc), you can find easily find Halal food and Masjid. Japanese still aren’t familiar with Islam well, but are trying to be muslim-friendly.

    3. Jack says:

      Hi Ilhaam, BIPOC that go to Japan may feel like that they’re racist, but the actual truth is they haven’t ever really seen a BIPOC person before so its new to them as they have mostly seen their people/Caucasian people from other countries. As they may come off as “racist” to BIPOC people just consider that they aren’t and that there isn’t many BIPOC people in the country so you have to acknowledge that its not their fault, but also tell them that if they do something that is racist to correct them and educate them about it.

  2. Lucia says:

    Hello ! I’m 14 and going into 8th grade , I’ve been wanting to study abroad to Japan the past two years . I just have a couple of question about it . When I get into my freshman year how do I sign up to study abroad to Japan and how many people usually get to go ? Should I also have a certain GPA to be able go ? If I’m not able to sign up in freshman can I sign up in sophomore ?

    1. Haldis Toppen says:

      Hello! Sorry for the delay. For more information on our programs, please reach out to our email travelabroad@greenheart.org. Cheers, Greenheart Travel

  3. TANYA REX says:

    Hello!..My name is Tanya and I am interested in further my study in Japan.Its always been my dream to study abroad.I am 21 currently doing my diploma in Marketing Management and I would like to get my degree with the help of MEXT scholarship.I actually need help to further my knowledge of business.I will be graduating in 2022 with a diploma.
    thank you and God bless

  4. sonia says:

    i really want to go and study in japan but i am a foreigner and have heard a lot of things such as Japanese people having fake politeness or being against Christianity (i’m a christian), and it being hard to make friends and other things, and honestly now im really afraid of going and feel like i will be alone there and wont be able to find Japanese friends or other things, not speaking from an advertising view or just trying to say its good and deny all those factors whats your honest opinion of how difficult or lonely it could be for a foreigner to go to japan to study?

    1. Jonah W says:

      You will have a large community of students and expats to mingle with, and there is a sizable Christian population in Japan currently – there really isn’t much religious discrimination, especially as a foreigner as most Japanese are secular and religion does not play a role in politics or social attitudes. Socializing with native Japanese people is for sure gonna be more difficult, but if you’re going there through a formalized program you’ll just have to put in the effort and the connections there will help immensely.

      In general Japanese people are respectful and friendly to foreigners until you make an ass of yourself or try to go to an izakaya that local salarymen frequent after working hours haha

      If you have the opportunity and above all else, interest in Japan, I highly recommend pursuing it.

  5. Kira says:

    I’m 18 years old this year and I would like to study in Japan as an exchange student, not sure for how long but i would like to experience ‘life’ in Japan as a High School student and even live a local life there, is there any possibility that this idea of mine can happen ? I had the strong interest so.. and I cant really speak Japanese, never have I study it, I also am keen to learning it there if possible.

    1. nana says:

      I dont think its possible due to your age but I think it depends whether you finished highschool or not. If not, it depends on your age and the exchange program (usually if highschool is finished, then they will tell u to apply for university exchange) . If you did, then i dont think its possible…

  6. Ayda says:

    Hello there! I am a 14 year old girl and have to repeat the 8th due to some troubles from depression and bpd (plus my anxiety) I’ve been thinking of going to Japan to study and graduate from one of their high schools but I don’t know how much I’d be. How much time can I stay in Japan for? Can I bring an older sibling as my guardian? After high school is done, can I go to university there?

    1. Artis says:

      I don’t mean to be rude but Japan isn’t the best place for someone who has depression and bpd.There are great things about Japan but it’ll be extremely hard to live in if you have depression anxiety and bpd.However I hope your getting the help you need so you’ll be able to visit Japan one day

    2. Artis says:

      Also you can go to university there however you need a Visa (for the high school as well) but again it’ll be extremely hard if you have depression and bpd (but like I said previously I hope your able to push through this and accomplish your dream)

  7. makenna says:

    Hello! Im am 14 year old freshman and I have been wanting to do this program for the past year or so and I was wondering a couple things…What are some ways that I can get a year of japanese learning? I went online and bought a book called “Japanese from zero” and I was also wondering if that could be enough for learning japanese or if I actually need a program or teacher?

    1. Allison Yates says:

      Hey Makenna! I’m so glad to hear you’ve been interested in this program for a year. It’s best to take a group Japanese class at a community center or community college near you. If that’s not possible, we recommend a private tutor for at least one year. If you have any other questions feel free to schedule a call with us: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/high-school-abroad/high-school-in-japan#/tab/schedule-a-call

  8. Jay says:

    Hi! I have been living abroad for my whole life, even though my parents are Japanese. They recently decided to move to Japan, and put me in a local high school. I’m worried that I’ll not fit in since I don’t act like a Japanese but look like one. Will people be accepting??

  9. Lili says:

    Hi, just wanted to point out that the name suffix “sana” is incorrect. 様 is pronounced “sama.”

  10. tris says:

    Hi! I’m already 19, soon to be in 20. Am I still eligible to apply for a high school exchange? I’m not really up for college exchange yet. 🙂

  11. Karissa says:

    Hello! I am currently 14 and I’ve been wanting to study abroad in japan for my junior year (11th grade). I would like to go for a semester or maybe even longer. But I don’t know the cost of studying abroad. I am saving at this moment. I would like to study in either Tokyo or Kyoto. Also I know Japanese basics such as Hello, Thank you and Good morning. I have plans to learn more about the language just I don’t know if i should get a book, audio book or find a teacher. And if you have any sites that could also help me with studying abroad that would be great.

    1. Sara Thacker says:

      Hi Karissa! So exciting you want to study abroad in Japan! You can find all of the information about our program here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/high-school-abroad/high-school-in-japan.

      We also have short term programs in Tokyo and Fukuoka over the summer too! If you have questions about anything you can set up a time for us to give you a phone call and talk about everything here: https://calendly.com/greenheart-travel-teen-programs-q-and-a/q-a-japanese-speaking-destination/11-01-2018

      We’re happy to help with your questions and help you plan for an awesome junior year! You can email Allison anytime with questions at ayates@greenheart.org!

  12. Hiro says:

    Helo, I’m an international student from Japan. This article is very interesting. This article is written “One of the most popular leisure activities in Japan is to go to a Japanese bathhouse!”, but the purpose of this activity is not only cleaning my body, but also relaxing.

  13. Sharimar says:

    Fatma · November 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm
    Hello .
    I’m from USA, and I’m very interested in studying in Japan , actually i did graduated , so I wanted to study in some universities there. Could you please give me some informations about it

  14. Brandon says:

    Hello and thank you for the informational article! A friend of mine recently proposed the idea of spending a couple years studying abroad in Japan, and we were wondering if we should start by going to a camp to learn Japanese before actually traveling out overseas and what kind of expenses we would be looking at if we did. We are both 19 years old and live in the US, we would be looking at going to college in Japan if we were to decide to do it.

    1. Sara Thacker says:

      Hey Brandon! We do have summer language camps in Japan if you want to learn Japanese next summer 🙂 If you have questions about anything you can set up a time for us to give you a phone call and talk about everything here: https://calendly.com/greenheart-travel-teen-programs-q-and-a/q-a-japanese-speaking-destination/11-01-2018

  15. Lorna says:

    I am not in high school yet, but when i get to highschool id like to study abroad in japan in the 10th of 11th grade. I am in the USA and I would like to know if there is a way i could study abroad during the academic year without having to retake any classes or the whole year

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Hello, Lorna! Thanks for asking! You can reach out to our program manager about this directly. Her name is Allison. Please email ayates@greenheart.org. Thanks again!

  16. Akshay says:

    Hi sir,I’m BE Computer graduate,looking for japan for doing Masters. How should I start? How to learn Japanese. How can I get admission in best university in Japan.

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Hello there! We don’t currently have university programs in Japan. We only offer high school study abroad our summer language camps for teens. You could start by finding a software program or a Japanese tutor to make going to Japan a reality for you.

  17. Fatima says:

    I am a student in Pakistan and I am interested in attending a Japanese high school as an exchange student. I am 14 years old and can you please tell me at which age and under what conditions will I be able to participate? Thank you 😊

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Hello, Fatima! Thanks for reaching out with this question! You can find the eligibility requirements for our summer language camps in Japan here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan#fukuokaprogram, https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan#tokyoprogram.

  18. Kira L Kemp says:

    Hello my name is Kira and I am 16 years old. I’m really interested in the language camp program in Fukuoka ,Japan and I was wondering if I could go next summer because I’m going to be really busy this summer. Plus I know a little bit of Japanese😅 but not a whole lot.

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Hello, Kira! Thank you so much for your comment(s). We love how excited you are about going to Fukuoka. I’ve replied on your other comment with more details. 🙂

  19. Allison Yates says:

    That’s wonderful! Yes, you can study on your own and choose a beginner specific date: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan#startdates

  20. lily says:

    I can speak a little by the way

  21. lily says:

    hi i am a 14 year old just starting to learn Japanese i was wondering if it would be possible not to no the language a lot and study if not please can you give some advice and tell me how to learn Japanese as my school doesn’t teach the language. 😊😊

  22. M Arfan says:

    I am a single parent of 3 children under the age of 12 years old we are British Citizens want to visit to Japan can my my children will get places in the school in Japan while we are staying Japan for 6 months holidays

    1. Chase Chisholm says:

      Hello there! At this time our programs in Japan are only for high school students.

  23. Mario says:

    What if I’m in my third year of high school for the us and missed deadlines for scholar ships and applications.
    as well as almost being into my second term aswell

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Thank you for your comment Mario. Unfortunately we are not able to extend the deadlines for Japan, so if you have missed the application window, then you will need to wait for the next intake. You can see the deadlines and dates here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/high-school-abroad/high-school-in-japan#dates The Japan program has strict eligibility requirements, so I would also recommend reviewing those before submitting an application.

  24. Lyn says:

    I’ve been wondering to study in Japan does the result matter…? Currently im studying at secondary student and i would like to study at Japan right after i finished my secondary school …oh… and…my Japanese is self learnt.

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      HI Lyn, thank you for your comment. We do not offer any programs for adults or university students at this time. We only have programs for high schoolers.

  25. Joshua Raymond Duran says:

    So is it a prerequisite to have some prior knowledge of Japanese before applying to do the program? If so where can I receive Japanese courses that’ll you’ll recognize, as my school doesn’t have Japanese language courses?

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hi Joshua. Thank you for your comment. Our summer camp in Japan is open to beginners and no prior knowledge is required. Our high school abroad program requires a minimum of 1 year or study or a level 4 on the JLPT exam. If you are looking to receive credit for your time abroad, you will need to discuss options with your US based schools as they will ultimately be the ones who process and accept the credit. Many schools do not offer Japanese, and we have seen students receive more general elective type credits for their time abroad in those cases.

  26. Fatma says:

    Hello .
    I’m from Morocco, and I’m very interested in studying in Japan , actually I will graduate this year , so I wanted to study in some universities there. Could you please give me some informations about it , and do they demand the toefl .
    Lastly, I want to ask you , if the fact that I’m a Muslim and I’m wearing hijab will affect me in some ways ?

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hi Fatma. Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately we do not offer any university programs in Japan at this time so I cannot provide you with any information on that. If you graduated high school within 1 year from your start date, you are welcome to apply for our summer camp in Japan. You can learn more about that program here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan

  27. Madison says:

    Hello! I’m Madison. I am very interested in the Japanese language camp for 2018. What time do I have to apply by and is it too late?

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hi Madison! That’s great to hear that you are interested in studying in Japan this coming summer. We actually just opened the application a few weeks ago, so you still have plenty of time! You can see the start dates and deadlines here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan#costsampdates

      We look forward to seeing your application!

  28. Tori says:

    Hello (again),
    I have one more question. Will a 1-3 month option ever be introduced? Due to the different starting points in the American and Japanese school year, a lot of American students have June and Early July off when Japanese schools still have school (I think. I am far from well educated on this topic) I think it would be easy to go for that period of time to learn about the Japanese school system without missing important things in school.

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hi Tori. Unfortunately we do not have any plans to offer a short-term high school abroad program at this time. You are welcome to look into our Japanese summer program which runs May – August. There is more information about that here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan

  29. Tori says:

    I am in an advanced math class (3 years above my grade level), Science class (1 year above grade level) and French class (1 year above grade level). Would I be able to stay in these classes, or would I be in the grade level class? Also, would it be possible to take French classes there? I know these probably seem like simple questions, I have only recently started researching about actually studying abroad. Sorry!

    1. Hope says:

      Hey Tori! Your course load will depend on the availability of classes at your Japanese host school. It’s rare to have an option of a French class, though. Typically the host schools tend to place exchange students in classes with Japanese students of the same age. Thanks for your interest!!

  30. Brian says:

    Hey there! Im Brian and i’m thinking about studying abroad in Japan next year. My reasons are for seeing the world and learning Japanese. I did the standard Spanish courses and high school but never liked the emphasis on conjugation and gender, but i really feel like learning a different language is an experience I want to have. Are there many opportunities to only study language there? Do i need to take Japanese courses prior to it? is it more/less money than US university? Lastly Im 6’5, so am i just gonna be some sort of giant to them and get weird looks? :”D

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hey Brian, it’s great to hear that you are so passionate about traveling to Japan! It’s a great language and culture to learn about! We offer both long-term high school abroad options for a semester or year, or a short-term summer program for a few weeks. We can accept beginners on the summer program, but not the semester or year program. All the costs and what’s included are listed on our website at the links below. Yes, you probably will be taller than the average Japanese person, but it might make you feel like a celebrity! 🙂

      – High School Abroad: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/high-school-abroad/high-school-in-japan
      – Summer Camp in Japan: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan

  31. Raya says:

    I want to study abroad when i get a few years older (I am in middle school as of now) and i would like to know if you have any suggestions for where i should study Japanese for a year? Also could you give me an estimate of how much money i will be spending, i would like to spend an academic year there.

    1. VB says:

      If you can wait till you get to college, you could always join an exchange program, where you get to study in Japan as an exchange student for a semester or so. Great way to immerse yourself in the culture, and learn the language as well!!

  32. Omasan Edegbele says:

    Hello, I’m interested in doing the semester or year abroad in Japan. Time is running short for me to apply, and I really want to go but I’m not sure how ill be able to make up my credits? Would I have to speak that over with my school? Or are there any online programs that would help me with that? This is the main reason why I cant really apply for the program yet, it would be really nice if I got some feedback! Thanks.

    1. Megan Arzbaecher says:

      Hi Omasan —

      Thanks for your comment and it’s great to hear that you are so excited about studying abroad in Japan. The deadline to apply for fall dates is March 25th and for Spring dates it is October 12th so there is still time to apply for the spring. You will need to speak with your school and counselor to figure out how they handle transfer credit for international exchange students. Every school is different so setting up a meeting with your administrators would be the best next step for you. I hope this helps!


  33. Kaitlyn markham says:

    Hi my name is Kaitlyn and I’m doing the summer language program in like a year or two. I’ve read through the program and everything and I know I’ll get additional info when I apply but I’m constantly worried about transportation. Since I’ll probably be going for two weeks how do I get around? And if I take train most likely, do I buy a pass or just buy tickets? One thing I’m also worried about is I saw that you can be a beginner for some of the dates but I don’t know what you consider a beginniner. I’m currently teaching myself japanese during summer and when out of school. I feel like if I continue, by the time I’m ready for the program I think I’ll have a decent amount but I still don’t know if I should know more.
    Please help!! Thank you so much.

    1. Megan Arzbaecher (Japan Program Manager) says:

      Hi Kaitlyn —

      It’s great to see how ambitious and passionate you are about studying abroad! For the listed beginner start dates, those are for absolute beginners who have never studied the language before. Lots of students do self study like you, and they will typically test into an upper beginner or intermediate class.

      For the summer camp program, you will commute from the host family’s home using public transportation like trains or buses. Although it’s normal to be worried about the transportation, most of our students are nervous about it before arrival and then once they see how it works and purchase their transit pass, they feel much more confident! Since you are looking so far ahead of time, you don’t need to worry too much about those details yet. We’ll be sending you lots of information and orientation materials after you apply and get accepted to help you ease into the planning process.

      We look forward to receiving your application in the future! Keep up the great study work 🙂

  34. Aivry Palys says:

    is this going to be around 2020 because that is when i am supposed to be a high school Japanese student. Can you use American money instead of yen/ can you exchange American money for yen? Thank you 🙂

    1. Megan says:

      Hi there —

      Yes, it is very likely that we will still be offering this program in 2020. All program fees are paid in USD since we are an American organization. You will be required to pay for things in Japan in the local currency, so yes, you will be required to convert money when you arrive in country.

  35. Naomi says:

    HinIm currently about to finish school (In our country its secondary school but others high school) and after that we can either work or further our studies well I’d like to further my studying in the field of justice or law enforecent / a little bit of psychology now I’m currently 16 so I have one free year I’d like to have a cultural experience thats one to remember so I’m wondering in I can sign up for one of the progra that suits me best.

  36. Jhuenelle Clayton says:

    Hello! I’ve been having urges to study abroad for a while, I’m in Middle school now and have been intrigued by other countries for a very long time. My best friends and I have been looking into Japan, and we are VERY interested. What can we do to get a better understanding of the language and culture? We’ve been on apps but those aren’t going to help much. How much time will we be needing to be able to fully have confidence in our knowledge? Thanks Alot!

    1. Megan says:

      Hi there!

      While you’re a little young to enroll in one of our Japan programs now, it’s great that you’re already thinking about how to prepare! I would recommend studying the language through a tutor or apps like DuoLingo to start getting used to the language. Our summer camps allow beginners, so you don’t need to know a lot of the language, but our high school abroad programs have higher requirements.

      I would also recommend reading Japanese books or watching Japanese movies to get a better understanding of the culture. And finally, keep up to date with blogs we publish on our website written by alumni so that you can picture what your day to day life might be like while studying in Japan!

      I hope this helps!

  37. Diane Gomez says:

    My dream is to study in Japan for at least 3 months of half a year but I don’t know how I’m suppose to do things and also I was wondering if there is any scholarships that could help me with the money so I can achieve my dream I’ve been in love with Japan since I was 4 and I have been always telling my mother that I wanted to go to school there now that I am 16 I still tell her but we don’t know how student exchangements work

    1. Megan says:

      Hi Diane!

      That’s great to hear that you are so interested in studying in Japan. If you’d like to go abroad for a semester or year, I would recommend looking over our high school abroad program in Japan. Please check the eligibility requirements since the Japan high school abroad program is competitive and we don’t have much flexibility with those. You can learn more about it here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/high-school-abroad/high-school-in-japan

      If you ineligible for the high school abroad program, I would recommend looking into our summer language camps since they are more flexible and open to people of all skills levels. You can read about those here: https://greenhearttravel.org/program/teen/language-camps/fukuoka-japan

      Yes, we have scholarships! Also listed on our website, you can look over those here: https://greenhearttravel.org/resources/scholarships

      I hope this helps!

  38. Stacy says:

    Where do you take JLPT test.
    And what is the best place to learn Japanese near me , if my school doesn’t have it.

    1. Hope says:

      Hi Stacy, You can find JLPT locations here: http://www.aatj.org/jlpt-us. You should check out local community colleges for Japanese classes. You should also look into getting a personal tutor. That along with self study will give you a great foundation. Have you had a chance to talk to anyone about the program yet about any other questions?

  39. Spencer says:

    How much japanese should I know before going?

    1. Jill GHT says:

      Hi Spencer, for our study abroad program we require students to have at least 1 year of Japanese language instruction or receive a level 4 on the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). When were you hoping to study abroad?

  40. Brian Anthony says:

    I am so welling to do this.

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