Summer Language Study Program — 2020
Jun 22-25, 2020 → Jul 26-29, 2020
Get to know the people, customs, and language of Japan through this intensive one-month immersion program. You’ll attend 4 hours of Japanese classes each day, and then engage in a unique cultural exchange by living with a local host family. After your language lessons, you’ll have the chance to explore Japanese art, food, and society by participating in group activities and taking sight-seeing trips to nearby historic locations. Your classes will be small (about 5-12 people) and organized by skill level, so you can expect plenty of individualized instruction.
Japanese people tend to value modesty and politeness. Most families will expect you to take off your shoes and change into slippers when you enter the house. Traditional food usually contains meat, so vegetarianism isn’t very common. But get ready to enjoy some delicious noodles, fish, and fresh vegetables! Based on differences in culture, strict regulation of medications, and other local customs, if you’re currently on any medications, have severe allergies, or have strict dietary restrictions, it’s a good idea to talk to an AFS Program Advisor early on to determine if Japan will be the right experience for you.
Your journey to Japan will begin in Los Angeles, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US. You’ll attend an overnight orientation to get a crash course on Japanese culture. Then you’ll travel with a group to Tokyo where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.
Before long you’ll be ready to head to your language school and community. Along the way you’re bound to find a contrasting mix of traditional culture and modern technology, from ancient pagodas to shiny skyscrapers. In cities, you’ll likely come across Japan’s unique fashion scene, full of trendsetters with colorful clothes and funky hairstyles.
You’ll likely live with a host family in Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, or Nagoya. Your location will be determined by your language skills, as classes for various levels are taught in different areas.
Tradition and family values are very important to the Japanese, as is respect for elders. Nuclear families are common, but you might also find homes with three generations living together. You can expect your host family to keep a tidy house and conserve water and energy.See where past AFSers have lived
During this month-long program you’ll receive approximately 80 hours of Japanese language classes (4 hours per day, 5 days per week). Lessons are offered at a professional school with classes of around 5-12 students. Your Japanese-speaking ability will be evaluated at the beginning of the program and you’ll be assigned to the class that best fits your personal language level. At the end of the day you’ll go home to your host family, where you can practice your Japanese and taste some fresh and delicious homemade meals.
After your language lessons you’ll have the opportunity to participate in many cultural activities such as ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) and shodo (calligraphy) as well as attend sight-seeing trips to nearby historic locations. Otherwise, you’ll have the chance to explore Japanese life on your own; you can discover the culture of kawaii (a word used to describe everything cute and lovable), listen to J-Pop (Japanese Pop music), and look out for the latest fashion trends. Japan is also the birthplace of manga and anime, so you’re bound to run into some devoted fans called otaku.
If you like your meals deep-fried, you’ll love the variety of Japanese tempura. Otherwise, food in Japan usually consists of rice and noodles mixed with fresh vegetables, fruits, and light meats like pork and chicken. Seafood, either raw or grilled, is also very popular. For dessert, you can try traditional wagashi, which includes delicious treats like mochi (a kind of rice cake) flavored with sweet red bean paste. Sushi actually isn’t that common, though you might get to enjoy it on special occasions.
"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.