Overview

Learn and improve your Japanese skills through full language and cultural immersion at one of Greenheart Travel’s two summer language camps in Japan! We welcome teen students of all skills, including beginners, and you will not only be immersed in a new culture, but you’ll make international friends from around the world.

Greenheart Travel’s summer language camp in Japan is offered in the following two locations:

What do our past students say about the program?

I really enjoyed going to Japan with the Greenheart Travel program. I was able to experience new things that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience – like meeting many new people from all over world or going to different places that tourists don’t normally visit. The highlight of my trip to Japan was being able to learn the Japanese language a lot more than I did in my school’s Japanese class. Being able to learn a language where it’s the primary language of the country is a totally different experience than learning it at home. Overall, I truly enjoyed my time and experience in Japan. I would recommend this program for anyone interested in learning a country’s culture and it’s language. Duke Takeno, Greenheart Travel alum

 

Fukuoka Program

Fukuoka, a city of 1.5 million people, is a very safe and beautiful city in Southern Japan on the coast. It’s smaller size makes it an excellent place for teenagers and first time travelers who may be intimidated by Tokyo’s large size! The Fukuoka school is located very close to the central park and train station of the city, a convenient walk for students arriving via public transportation from their host families. The school has 14 air-conditioned classrooms with wifi internet access in the lounge and common areas.

Eligibility Requirements for Fukuoka

  • Must be between 14 – 19 years old
  • Beginners welcome! No language experience necessary
  • Be in good* mental and physical health
  • Have a genuine interest in learning Japanese and immersing yourself in the culture

Afternoon Excursions

Educational visits and excursions form an important part of the program.  There will be weekly cultural activities like kimono wrapping, visiting a manga school or soba noodle-making! All of these activities are subject to change and rotate on a 4 week basis. If you go longer than 4 weeks, you will be enrolled in a conversation course for your final week.

Please note: Participants are not allowed to go out at night outside the homestay unless accompanied by a chaperone.

Below you’ll find a sample of what your day could involve. It is extremely important to remember that you will not know your exact schedule until you arrive and level has been confirmed when you arrive. Depending on your level, some students have classes in the afternoons rather than in the mornings. During free times, you are welcome to study or socialize at the language school during opening hours.

Regardless of what your schedule is, this program includes:

  • Daily Japanese classes
  • Study and relaxation time at the language school
  • Daily free optional activities – sign up at reception!
  • Optional paid activities during the week
  • Weekly Friday night party
  • Weekly full-day cultural activities every Saturday

Here’s an example:

 

Tokyo Program

Have you always dreamed of living in the world’s biggest city? Then Tokyo is the place for you! As the capital of Japan, Tokyo is the heart of country’s government, business, and cultural activities. With so much to see and do, Tokyo can be a little overwhelming to visitors and we recommend this destination to more experienced students or travelers.

Eligibility Requirements for Tokyo

  • Must be between 16 – 19 years old (no exceptions)
  • Minimum of 1 year Japanese instruction required
  • Be in good* mental and physical health
  • Have a genuine interest in learning Japanese and immersing yourself in the culture

School Details & Chosen Curriculum Track 

The Tokyo school is located near the Shinjuku neighborhood with access to several train stations, a convenient walk for students arriving via public transportation from their host families. Because the school is designed for people with more advanced language experience, teen students will be in mixed classrooms with adult learners. The school has 10 air-conditioned classrooms with wifi internet access in the lounge and common areas.

The Tokyo program offers students the opportunity to focus their study in one of four curriculum tracks — Mixed Activities CourseTraditional Culture, Pop Culture, Conversation. You will choose a track during the application process. All of these activities are subject to change and rotate on a 4 week basis. If you go longer than 4 weeks, you will be enrolled in a conversation course for your final week.

Afternoon Excursions

Educational visits and excursions form an important part of the program. An exciting day by day program of optional weekday activities and required Saturday activities will be given to the participants upon arrival.  All cultural activities are subject to change, depend on the track you’ve chosen and rotate on a 4 week basis.

Please note: Participants are not allowed to go out at night outside the homestay unless accompanied by a chaperone.

Below you’ll find a sample of what your day could involve. It is extremely important to remember that you will not know your exact schedule until you arrive and level has been confirmed when you arrive. Depending on your level, some students have classes in the afternoons rather than in the mornings. During free times, you are welcome to study or socialize at the language school during opening hours.

Regardless of what your schedule is, this program includes:

  • Daily Japanese classes
  • Study and relaxation time at the language school
  • Daily free optional activities – sign up at reception!
  • Optional paid activities during the week
  • Weekly Friday night party
  • Weekly full-day cultural activities every Saturday

School Information

There are 12 skill levels at the language camp divided up into the following sections: complete beginner (Fukuoka only), beginner 1, beginner 2, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced. You will take a placement test before your program to determine your skill level, and appropriate language level placement, and an additional level test the first day of clsas.

Japanese Courses

  • Complete beginners with no experience can only enroll in the Fukuoka program
  • 20 hours of class a week (4 core classes per day in 2 hour blocks)
  • Classes are taught by native Japanese teachers who specialize in teaching a foreign language
  • Lively and informal small classes with no more than 8 students per class
  • Japanese lessons focus on practical communication skills first, including grammar, speaking and listening
  • Excursions & cultural activities included in program fee to get real-world practice

Getting To/From School

Each day, all students will be responsible for commuting on their own from the host family’s home to the school using public transportation. This is one of the few times during the day when students will be unsupervised, but thankfully, the public transportation in Japan is very safe and we rarely see any major issues. Curious what the experience of riding public transit in Japan is like? Check out this blog with stories from our alumni!

The public transportation will either be a train or a bus or a combination of both. In Fukuoka the average commute time is about 20-40 minutes one way, while in the Tokyo the commute time is about 30-50 minutes one way.

We provide students with comprehensive guides for riding public transportation.

Fukuoka School Location:

map of japan

Tokyo School Location:

Program Cost

Fukuoka Program Cost:

  • 1 Week: $1,700
  • 2 Weeks: $2,350
  • 3 Weeks: $2,990
  • 4 Weeks: $3,630
  • 5 Weeks: $4,270
  • 6 Weeks: $4,920

Tokyo Program Cost:

  • 2 Weeks: $2,960
  • 3 Weeks: $3,720
  • 4 Weeks: $4,180
  • 5 Weeks: $5,250
  • 6 Weeks: $6,010

Please note, all prices are listed in USD. Please refer the payment schedule here

What’s Included:

  • 20 hours of language classes per week
  • Accommodation with local host family
  • Airport pickup and drop off to/from designated airport
  • 2 meals per day (Breakfast & Dinner)
  • Track-specific cultural excursions & activities
  • Weekend excursions to beach or nearby cities
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • 24-hour emergency assistance from local staff and long-distance staff
  • Online pre-departure orientation with Greenheart Travel
  • Comprehensive program handbook with cross-cultural communication training and Japanese culture tips
  • Culture & etiquette book and preparation materials
  • Half-day arrival orientation in Japan
  • Online and on-site language level placement test
  • The Greenheart Travel Atlas, an interactive guide to your cross-cultural experience
  • Donation to support the Greenheart Odyssey, an award-winning youth leadership development program
  • Access to the Greenheart Club, an online community for Greenheart alumni to find resources, log volunteer hours, and apply for alumni grants and scholarship
  • Certificate at the end of the program

What’s Not Included:

  • Daily lunch (nearby cafeteria available daily to students for approximately $5/day)
  • Public transportation to and from school each day (varies depending on placement, approximately $5/day)
  • Flight to and from Japan
  • Spending money for souvenirs or gifts

Program Dates

Students with previous Japanese experience can enroll for Tokyo or Fukuoka on any of the start dates, but complete beginners with no prior Japanese experience can only start on the first and third Monday of each month in Fukuoka.

Start Dates and Deadlines to Apply*

Please note these start dates can and do fill up before the set deadlines. It’s best to apply early!

June 3, 2019 March 1, 2019 Beginners welcome on this date
June 10, 2019 March 1, 2019
June 17, 2019 March 1, 2019 Beginners welcome on this date
June 24, 2019 March 1, 2019
July 1, 2019 April 1, 2019 Beginners welcome on this date
July 8, 2019 April 1, 2019
July 15, 2019 April 1, 2019 Beginners welcome on this date
July 22, 2019 April 1, 2019
July 29, 2019 April 1, 2019
August 5, 2019 May 1, 2019 Beginners welcome on this date
August 12, 2019 May 1, 2019
August 19, 2019 May 1, 2019
August 26, 2019 May 1, 2019

*Please note: Greenheart Travel can also accommodate off-season requests and programs during Australian and New Zealand summer breaks (December-March). Please speak to a program manager about dates.

Take a look at some of the experiences you’ll have while studying in Japan!

Arrival & Departure

Students are picked up from the airport by either their host family or a language school representative and taken to their host family.

All start dates are listed as a Monday, but students need to:

  • For Fukuoka, students should arrive/depart at the Fukuoka International Airport.
    • Arrive in Japan on the Sunday before the Monday start date between 8:00am and 8:00pm
    • Depart on the Sunday after their program ends after 12:00pm
  • For Tokyo, students can arrive/depart at either Haneda Airport (HND) or Narita International Airport (NRT)
    • Arrive in Japan on the Sunday before the Monday start date between 8:00am and 8:00pm
    • Depart on the Sunday after their program ends after 12:00p

Arriving or departing outside these designated windows will incur additional fees. If you need to extend your program, we can add on additional days for $100/day. Exact start dates are listed here.

Accommodation

All students live with carefully selected local host families. Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:

  • Successfully pass a criminal background check
  • Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
  • Agree to and pass a home inspection

Due to the small size of Japan homes, there is usually only one student placed per host family. Some families have larger homes and can accommodate two students. In this case, they will only share rooms with students of the same gender and will be closely supervised by their hosts. If you are applying with a friend and want to share a host family, we recommend applying early as those placements tend to fill up.

What to our alumni saying about living with a host family?

“The host family was very nice and I enjoyed getting to know them and learning about their culture. The family took me to see Fukuoka tower, ohori park, and tenjin. I made a lot of good friends, and learned a lot at the school. The city was beautiful, and taking the train was very easy and convenient. This trip is definitely something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Thank you so much for coordinating with us and helping me plan the trip, it was great.” – Arian Chandra, Greenheart Travel alum

Application Process

Committing to a language camp program can feel a bit daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible. Below are the steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a Greenheart Travel program.

Once you start your application, you have two weeks to finish.

1. Ensure Your Eligibility: The eligibility requirements, such as age or language proficiency, may be required for certain destinations.

2. Start Your Application Here (Approximately 5 Minutes): Greenheart Travel Application.

3. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you (and your parent(s) if you’re under 18) will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.

4. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): You will need to submit your $250 deposit at this point in the process. A deposit is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee.

5. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This is the most in-depth part of the application process as it helps us get to know you better. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to go abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience. You will also need to upload your passport.

Note: Depending on the volume of applicants or if you submit a late application, you may be required to complete a Japanese placement test and self-introduction form as part of your application. 

6. Acceptance: Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 weeks to confirm your acceptance. If we find something in your application that we have concerns about, we will let you know immediately. 95% of applicants are accepted on the program they apply for.

You’re Accepted – now what?

Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. You should expect to receive a program handbook via email, which talks more about your program, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program. We will also schedule an online pre-departure orientation to answer any lingering questions you may have. You can expect to receive your host family placement 1-2 weeks prior to your start date.

Please refer the payment schedule here.

FAQ For Parents

The decision to send your teenager abroad can be difficult and there are a lot of questions to consider. We understand your concerns and the Greenheart Travel staff is there for you every step of the way! We want to make the process of traveling and studying abroad as fun and painless as possible for you and your child. Here are some of the common questions we get from parents as they consider the program:

What does it mean to be in good mental health in the program eligibility requirements?

Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on an exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all applicants.

Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Debilitating anxiety
  • Eating disorders

If the student’s mental health issue has been resolved (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will ask for a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.

How much supervision is there?

Students are supervised and chaperoned by school staff during the day and by the host families at night. The only time when the student may be unsupervised is when they ride the train or bus to school from their host families home.

We can’t decide between Tokyo and Fukuoka. Which is a better fit for me?

While the structure of the programs are similar, there are a few key differences to consider. The Fukuoka program is open to complete beginners, while the Tokyo program requires 1 year of language experience. The Fukuoka program has a shorter daily commute time, and the city overall is smaller and more easy to navigate. Tokyo is much larger and can be intimidating to people who’ve never lived or traveled in a large metropolitan area. Think of Tokyo as the “older sibling” to Fukuoka. If you already have travel and Japanese language experience, then you might be ready for the adventure of Tokyo. But if you’re more of a travel novice or don’t have experience in big cities, then Fukuoka might be a better fit for you.

Should my child fly using an unaccompanied minor service?

Greenheart Travel does not recommend this service because the “additional” services advertised by the airlines are already provided to all travelers and are not worth the money invested by you the traveler. At any time, a student can ask an airlines professional for help finding their gate or for connecting flight information, and paying for this add-on UM service is not necessary. We have sent hundreds of semester abroad students internationally, for whom we book their flights, and we never use unaccompanied minor services. If you would like the peace of mind a UM service provides, Greenheart Travel offers more self-empowering alternatives (such as reviewing airport maps, mapping connections, etc) that we believe teach teenagers relevant life skills about traveling independently.

My child is either trans or non-binary. Is Japan welcoming of trans and non-binary teens?

It is hard to generalize Japan as a country, but each year Greenheart Travel sends several transgender or non-binary students on the teen summer language camp. Our staff and in-country partners are very welcoming and accepting of all gender identities, and we will ensure your child is placed in a homestay that is also accepting. We can provide extra support if needed. For one of our alumni’s experiences, read this blog.

Will my child earn high school credit?

Greenheart Travel cannot award high school credit, but through agreements with certain U.S. universities it is possible to gain college credit. Please talk to your school about earning credit for your child’s time abroad. Refer to this blog post for tips on transferring credit and gaining college credit.

How many other students will there be and where are they from?

A majority of our students are American between 14-18 years old, but enrollment ranges depending on the start date. The school can have up to 140 students at a time, although class sizes remain at and 8-to-1 student teacher ratio.

Will my child be required to speak the language outside of the classroom?

Language practice and immersion are the main priority of this program. While we do not require the students to sign a contact stating they will only speak in the local language, it is highly encouraged that they use their language skills when talking to friends, partaking in the daily excursions and at night in the residence hall or host family home. Program staff and chaperones primarily communicate and answer questions in the local language to encourage this immersion culture.

How will this program improve my child’s foreign language skills?

In a traditional classroom, students may learn language skills; however, they are not forced to practice these skills in real world situations. Through language immersion, your child will both learn the practical language skills in a classroom while also being forced to use them with local, native speakers during the excursions and/or host family experience. Studies show that 4 weeks of a full language immersion experience can be equivalent to a yearlong college language course because of the intensity of use.

Why should I choose Greenheart Travel?

Greenheart Travel provides 24-hour support to you and your child throughout the application, program and alumni processes. We are a small staffed non-profit that is accredited with CSIET, so you know you’ll always be talking to a real person on the other line. We are proud to always be available for your questions and concerns and we always answer our emails and phone calls quickly. We pride ourselves on developing a personal relationship with our participants, and love staying connected with them throughout the experience on social media & email. We offer the personal connection and support that many of our competitors do not.

Students who study with Greenheart Travel are eligible for The Greenheart Club, where they log volunteer hours and connect with other participants. They can also apply for grants for a service project they design themselves. See more here.

What are meals like?

2 meals per day are included with your program. The students will enjoy home cooked breakfast & dinner with their local host families. For lunch, students will dine at a nearby cafeteria with their fellow students, and they should budget approximately $5-9 a day for this expense.

What if my child has an allergy/specific dietary requirement?

We can cater to vegetarian needs quite easily. Any other specific diets should be discussed with us to see if we can arrange to have your needs met. In some cases you may need to provide your own food.

What does my child need to pack?

Detailed packing instructions and guidelines are provided in the program handbook your child will receive upon acceptance, but be aware that students will be required to bring their own towels for the homestays. If you want to get a head start on packing, read this blog post.

Can my child bring their medication on the program?

Please check with your child’s physician to make sure their U.S. medication is permitted to be brought into Japan (some ADHD medications have restrictions). If it is, your child will need to get a prescription from their physician and apply for a yakkan Shoumei, which is a import certificate they apply for and receive before they leave for Japan. The certificate must be declared to the officer at customers before you arrive in Japan. Please see here for more details.

What happens if my child gets sick while abroad?

They will be covered by mandatory health insurance. You will receive a policy brochure and insurance card via email 1 week prior to their departure. Specific instructions and suggested doctors are included in the program handbook students receive via email upon acceptance.

Can they apply with friends?

Absolutely! We are happy to accept friends. Please note that due to the small sizes of homes in Japan, there is no guarantee you will be placed together.

Schedule a Call

Have questions or want to talk to the program coordinator, Allison? Set up a time to have a phone call below.

Don’t forget to review the frequently asked questions!