Global Prep — 2018
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
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!
Your journey to Japan will begin in New York City, 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 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.
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.
"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.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.