Language Camp in Japan

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  • Overview

    Learn and improve your Japanese skills through full language and cultural immersion at one of Greenheart Travel’s 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 locations:

    • Fukuoka (Ages 14 – 19)
    • Tokyo (Ages 16 – 19)
    • Kyoto (Ages 16 – 19)

    **Please inquire here if you want to enroll for Southern Hemisphere’s summer (winter in Japan). We can take applicants for these dates.

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

  • Program Dates

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

    2020 Summer Start Dates

    Please note these start dates can and do fill up very quickly. It’s best to apply early!

    • May 31, 2020 – Beginners welcome!
    • June 7, 2020
    • June 14, 2020 – Beginners welcome!
    • June 21, 2020
    • June 28, 2020
    • July 5, 2020 – Beginners welcome!
    • July 12, 2020
    • July 19, 2020 – Beginners welcome!
    • July 26, 2020
    • August 2, 2020 – Beginners welcome!
    • August 9, 2020
    • August 16, 2020 – Beginners welcome!
    • August 23, 2020

    These are the days on which you will arrive to Japan and classes will begin the next day.

    Want to study in Japan for longer than just a summer? Check out our High School Abroad Japan program!

    *Please note: Greenheart Travel can also accommodate off-season requests and programs during Australian and New Zealand summer breaks (December-March). 

  • Costs and Inclusions

    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

    Kyoto Program Cost: 

    • 1 week: $1,910
    • 2 weeks: $2,670
    • 3 weeks: $3,440
    • 4 weeks: $4,200
    • 5 weeks: $4,960
    • 6 weeks: $5,720

    Please note, all prices are listed in USD. 

    Packaged into the Price:

    • 20 hours of language classes per week
    • Airport pickup and drop-off upon arrival and departure
    • Host family accommodation
    • 2 meals per day (Breakfast & Dinner)
    • Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
    • Track-specific cultural excursions & activities
    • Weekend excursions to beach or nearby cities
    • Half-day arrival orientation in Japan
    • Online and on-site language level placement test
    • Comprehensive program handbook with cross-cultural communication training and Japanese culture tips
    • Certificate of completion at the end of the program for use on college applications
    • Access to Greenheart Travel Facebook groups to connect with alumni and others on your start date ahead of your program.
    • Greenheart Atlas Program 
    • Greenheart Travel T-shirt & Reusable “No Plastic Please” Canvas Tote Bag

    Our Support and Services: 

    • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from Connor, your US-based program coordinator! He will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Japan.
    • Support services from in-country staff upon arrival to Japan.
    • Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave
    • 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.

    Additional Expenses to Budget for (Estimates):

    • 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

    Payment Details

    • $300 Application Deposit due by the program deadline to formally apply
    • $300 Commitment Deposit due after acceptance within 14 days to save your spot on a certain start date
    • Remaining balance is due 6 weeks before departure to Japan

    Worried about the program fee?

    Our goal is to help make travel accessible to everyone and we are here to help when you are deciding if this experience is financially do-able. Each year we offer scholarships for high school study abroad students! We also have a guide to fundraising your program fee, and many high school students fundraise in their hometown ahead of their program.

    We also offer discounts for applying early (plus there are many other benefits to applying early!) for each start date and for US families that have hosted an exchange student with Greenheart Exchange.

    Please inquire here if you have questions about the program fee, scholarships, or fundraising for your program.

  • Language Levels

    Complete Beginner and Low Elementary students can only begin on certain start dates. Here is the breakdown of the levels and how to choose your start date.

    Complete Beginner Student

    You have never studied Japanese before. You do not know how to read any hiragana. You must choose a “beginners welcome” start date and you can only study in Fukuoka or Kyoto.

    Low Elementary Student

    You have studied Japanese already and can read hiragana but you do not know the concepts listed below in the High-Level Japanese section. You should choose a start date ONE WEEK after the “beginner’s welcome” start dates so that you can skip the very basics like reading hiragana.

    To double-check this on an individual basis, we will send you the link to the placement test and the language school teachers will evaluate the results and confirm if you can start on a non-beginner start date.

    High-Level Japanese Student

    If are familiar and know all of the below concepts and grammar/vocab, you are considered a High-Level Japanese student and you will be placed in a higher class. You can start on any start date if you are a High-Level Japanese student. High-Level Students are welcome to take classes in any location (Fukuoka, Kyoto, or Tokyo).

    • How to read hiragana
    • Daily greetings
    • “X ha Y desu” sentence pattern
    • How to make question sentences
    • “[noun] no [noun]” phrase
    • Numbers 1-1000
    • Saying the time
    • Pointing words “ko”, “so”, “a”, “do”
    • The particle “mo”
    • Negative sentences “ja nai desu”
    • The sentence ending particles “ne”, “yo”
    • Verb conjugation
    • Present tense verbs
    • Particles
    • Time reference
    • Inviting friends to places (“~masenka?”)
    • Word order
    • The topic particle “ha”
    • Frequency adverbs

    If you have questions about which start date to choose, please inquire here to be put in touch with us!

  • Host Families

    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.

    Having a Japanese host family will allow you to get to know the culture!

  • 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:

    *What does it mean to be in good mental health?

    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.

    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. Each student will be addressed on a case by case basis.

    These include, but are not limited to:

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

    If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (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.

  • 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 the 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 Course, Traditional 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

    *What does it mean to be in good mental health?

    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.

    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. Each student will be addressed on a case by case basis.

    These include, but are not limited to:

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

    If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (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.

  • Kyoto Program

    Kyoto is one of Japan’s most historic cities full of shrines, teahouses and markets. Picture yourself biking along narrow streets and strolling across bridges in this city of 1.5 million, often called a “city with a small-town feel.”  Just a few minutes’ walk from the Gion district, this location is perfect for history lovers! The school has 9 air-conditioned classrooms with wifi internet access in the lounge and common areas.

    Eligibility Requirements for Kyoto

    • Must be between 16-19 years old (no exceptions)
    • 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.  Students will choose one of the following tracks:

    • Traditional Culture
    • Pop Culture
    • Multi-Activity (mixture of both traditional and pop culture)

    Depending on your chosen track, 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.

    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. Host families live between 15-45 minutes from the language school by bus.

    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 the reception!
    • Optional paid activities during the week
    • Weekly Friday night party
    • Weekly full-day cultural activities every Saturday

    *What does it mean to be in good mental health?

    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.

    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. Each student will be addressed on a case by case basis.

    These include, but are not limited to:

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

    If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (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.

  • School Information

    There are 12 skill levels at the language camp divided up into the following sections: complete beginner (no beginners allowed in Toyko), 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 class.

    Japanese Courses

    • Complete beginners with no experience can only enroll in the Fukuoka or Kyoto programs
    • 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 and Kyoto 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: Shinjuku Neighborhood

    Kyoto School Location

  • Activities

    During your time in Japan, you will take Japanese classes for 20 hours per week (usually 4 hours per day). The other time is either free time spent with the host family, or there are lots of planned activities for students as well.

    Educational visits and excursions form an important part of the program.  Students will choose one of the following tracks:

    • Traditional Japanese Culture
    • Pop Culture
    • Multi-Activity (a mixture of both traditional and pop culture)

    Here is an example of some of the activities offered at our Fukuoka camp, but please remember these vary based on track, location, and week you are there:

    Tuesday – Yamakasa Rehearsal Watching
    Friday – Shakey’s (Pizza Party)
    Weekend – Trip to Shikanoshima
    Tuesday – Casual Conversation Lounge
    Thursday – Movie Night – The Beast and the Boy
    Wednesday – Mukashibanashi Lesson
    Friday – Daijayama Dancing and Dragon Festival
    Monthly – Volleyball Practice with Pharmacist Team

    Other activities include kimono wrapping, visiting a manga school or soba noodle-making – depending on your chosen track. 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.

    Most activities are free and if an activity requires an extra cost the student will be aware before they register for that event.

  • 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 Sunday, but students need to:

    • For Fukuoka, students should arrive/depart at the Fukuoka International Airport.
      • Arrive in Japan on the Sunday 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 start date between 8:00am and 8:00pm
      • Depart on the Sunday after their program ends after 12:00pm
    • For Kyoto, students can arrive/depart at either airport in the nearby city of Osaka – Osaka Itami International Airport (ITM) or Kansai International Airport (KIX).
      • Arrive in Japan on the Sunday start date between 8:00am and 6:00pm
      • Depart on the Sunday after their program ends after 12:00pm

    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.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    Greenheart Travel has been sending teens to Japan for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    • 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs
    • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from your program manager, Connor.
    • Connect with alumni and others on the program via our Greenheart Travel only Facebook forums, before you even leave!
    • We try and make our program fees as inclusive as we can. We include things like medical insurance so you don’t run into any hidden fees down the line.
    • Greenheart Atlas Program. The Greenheart Travel Atlas is a cultural training interactive guidebook alongside five videos where you will find three main topics covered: Personal/Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, & Environmental Awareness.
    • Our alumni recommend us! GoOverseas.com Reviews // GoAbroad.com Reviews
    • Hands-on support and personal attention every step of the way
    • 24/7 emergency phone number to reach a staff member at any time
    • Pre-departure “Culture Shock and Adjustment” Webinar before you leave
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs
    • We are a non-profit, mission-based organization
    • Continued support throughout your time abroad

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!

    Greenheart Global Impact Grants (GIGs)

    Greenheart GIG Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country after they return home. A GIG is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.

    Greenheart Alumni Program

    We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!

    Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference

    Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.

  • 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 $300 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.

    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. At this point you will be required to submit a second $300 commitment deposit that also goes towards the total amount (it’s not extra). This is your commitment to your start date and once we receive it is when details will start to be booked on your behalf.

    You should then expect to receive your Greenheart Travel 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.

  • FAQs

    I am a parent with questions, where do I go?

    Please head to our Parent Handbook page. You’re also welcome to set up a time to chat with us about your child’s program abroad here. We’re happy to chat with you about this big decision!

    I identify as LGBTQ+. How will I be supported?

    It is hard to generalize Japan as a country, but each year Greenheart Travel sends several LGBTQ travelers 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.

    Greenheart Travel welcomes travelers identifying as LGTBQ+, and is committed to helping you find the best program for you. We can provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests. 

    Please read more here.

    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.

    After I complete my program, how can I continue studying Japanese?

    A great next step is doing our High School Abroad Japan program! You’ll go to a local Japanese high school for a trimester, semester, or academic year.

    I can't decide between Tokyo, Kyoto 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 and Kyoto programs require 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 and Kyoto. 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.

    Will I earn high school credit?

    Greenheart Travel cannot award high school credit directly, 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 I 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 contract 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 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, you will 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 travelers and love staying connected with them throughout the experience on social media & email. We offer a 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 I have 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 should I 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 I bring my medication on the program?

    Please check with your physician to make sure your U.S. medication is permitted to be brought into Japan (some ADHD medications have restrictions). If it is, you will need to get a prescription from your physician and apply for a yakkan Shoumei, which is a import certificate you apply for and receive before you 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 I get sick while abroad?

    You will be covered by mandatory health insurance as part of your program with Greenheart Travel. This is packaged into the program cost. You will receive a policy brochure and insurance card via email 1 week prior to your departure. Specific instructions and suggested doctors are included in the program handbook students receive via email upon acceptance.

    Can I 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 in the same host family.

    What if I don’t like my host family? Can I request a new one?

    No. We do not change host families based on preferences. However, if issues arise once you are on the program, we will handle them on a case-by-case basis and may make changes if necessary.

    Are flights included?

    Flights to Japan are not included in the program fee. Students are responsible for booking their round-trip airfare to Japan. We will collect your itinerary to organize your arrival and airport pickup.

    Should I 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.

    Will someone pick me up at the airport?

    Yes! Either someone from our in-country partner staff or your host family will be waiting for you when you land.

    Do I need vaccines?

    There are no required vaccinations to travel to Japan. We follow the CDC’s guidelines for travelers to Japan: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/japan

    Will I have a cell phone and internet?

    We give you tips and advice for communication while abroad during your program. Students are not required to get a local Japanese phone number. They usually rent a pocket Wi-Fi and get in touch with each other via email or applications using that Wi-Fi.

    All host families (and most every person) in Japan have internet in their homes. There is also 4G internet widely available throughout the country.

    When should I apply?

    We recommend you apply as early as possible as this is our most popular teen program and start dates (especially for beginners) fill up very quickly.

    For Summer 2019 our programs in both June and July filled up and we could not take all of the applicants who wanted to go.

    The sooner you can apply the better, as acceptance, gathering documents, etc. can take a long time. Read more about why applying early is a good idea.

    Can I speak to current students or alumni?

    Yes! Check out our blog or you can join our exclusive teen programs Facebook group to talk to current and past students.

    We also have a list of mentors (teens and parents) that are past participants open to chatting about their experience with potential new participants. Please inquire here if you want to be put in touch with a mentor.

  • Schedule a Call

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

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