This Global Prep program takes you to Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. Hokkaido’s capital city, Sapporo, is famous for its delicious cuisine and for hosting the 1972 Winter Olympics. During your two weeks abroad, you’ll have the chance to see some of the sights while learning the language from native speakers. You’ll also get together with local high schoolers to experience what teenage life is like in Japan. If you’re looking to spend your summer engaged in a rich cultural adventure, then this is the program for you!
Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13 and 14 year old’s aren’t eligible to enroll for certain Global Prep destinations. If you wish to participate and will be 13 or 14 years old at the date of departure for the program, please contact AFS for more information about specific program eligibility. Please also keep in mind that due to regulations mandated by the airlines, 13 and 14 year old participants will be considered Unaccompanied Minors and additional charges will apply.
On this program you are likely to learn about these Sustainable Development Goals:
Sample Program Itinerary to Japan
The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.
Your journey to Japan
Your journey to Japan will begin in Los Angeles, where you’ll meet the other members of your group. Then you’ll travel together to Sapporo and be welcomed by AFS Staff or Volunteers. You’ll have some time to get comfortable and learn the essentials of Japanese culture at an arrival orientation. As you settle in, be sure to taste the famous white chocolate shiroi koibito cookies, which are made right in the city of Sapporo!
Your Japanese Language Classes
Your language lessons will focus on basic Japanese, which means that beginners are welcome! Together you and your friends will learn some useful kanji (Japanese characters) and practice your pronunciation. You may share classes with other AFSers studying abroad in Japan, so you can expect to make lots of new friends. You’ll also have the chance to attend regular high school classes like math and history, where you can observe the Japanese language at work! In between classes, you and your friends can participate in extracurricular activities like sports and the tea ceremony club.
Your Intercultural Project
In the afternoons, you’ll work with local Japanese students on a joint project, bringing together your unique cultural insights and shared experiences. Past projects have focused on a festival called Ritsumei-sai that the school holds in the summer. To prepare for this campus-wide celebration, students worked to come up with creative activities for their peers like skits, dance performances, and even obstacle courses!
You and your group will stay with a chaperone in a dorm near the Ritsumeikan Keisho High School campus. You can expect to share a room with other students of the same gender. Your dorm will be shared with regular Japanese students who attend the school, so you’ll have the unique opportunity to get to know them and take part in their daily activities. Breakfast and dinner are served right at your dorm, and you’ll get to choose from a mix of Japanese and western dishes. Authentic Japanese lunch will be provided at the school after your morning language classes.
In the afternoons after class, you’ll be able to visit local sites in Sapporo like parks and museums. Going out into the community will help you practice your language skills and experience first-hand the cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan. On the weekend you can explore the city and surrounding areas with your “Japanese buddies,” typical Japanese high school students who will accompany you on your trips. In between trying local cuisine and picking up souvenirs for your friends back home, you’ll be able to grow close with your Japanese guides. On your excursions, you and your buddies might visit nearby lakes, mountains, or even the site of the 1972 Winter Olympics.
What's included in your program fee?
- Round trip international airfare chaperoned by an American staff member
- Accommodations, meals, and transportation
- International secondary medical travel coverage
- Access to a 24/7 Emergency Duty Officer
- Visa Support
- Please review the Terms and Conditions for complete guidelines.
What’s not included in the Program Fee?
“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 developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Japan.
In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.