Winter departure: Participants must be between 15 and 17,11 years old on the day of departure.
Summer departure: Participants must be between 15 and 17,4 years old on the day of departure.
The AFS Program
After your host parents greet you with traditional hospitality, it shouldn’t be long before you feel at home in their open, friendly community. By going to a local high school, you’ll be totally immersed in a new language and customs, and what you learn during the day will be reinforced at night when you spend time with your host family. This is your chance to break out of your comfort zone and join in this diverse and ever-evolving culture.
Your high school
The Japanese place a high value on education and academic achievement. Students often bike from far away to get to school, and work hard once they arrive. This stimulating environment provides excellent language-learning opportunities, since all classes, including English, are taught in Japanese. Schools have classes Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to around 3:30 pm, and some have classes on Saturday morning too. Like teenagers in most parts of the world, Japanese high schoolers wear uniforms. An optional school trip is often the highlight of the year, giving many students the chance to visit popular tourist sites in Japan or sometimes even overseas.
After the school day ends, you’ll participate in a tradition called souji, when everyone gets together for 30 minutes to help clean the school and grounds. After souji, you can choose from a wide range of available clubs and activities. Students make friends and learn about Japanese culture by joining a club. Most clubs meet all year and students generally join as least one club.
For more information on fees and scholarships.
“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
“Transformed” is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.