AFS Year and Semester High School Abroad in Japan

Video and Photos

Summer Camp
Exploring Kyoto!
Mito High School Class 1-E
A traditional temple we went to go see with my host family.
A day in Tenjin with one of the other exchange students, Luisa, who I became close friends with.
The view from the top of the mountain overlooking Fukuoka city with my host sister Akane.


In Japan, ancient gods and centuries-old customs meet cutting-edge modern life and an innovative society. From the ritual tea ceremonies, graceful gardens, and sacred shrines to the world's first high-speed train, Shibuya crossing, and sparkling cityscapes, Japan has a wide range of timeless and timely experiences to explore.

Immerse yourself and develop fluency in Japanese language and culture by living with a host family and studying at a local high school. While culture shock is real, it won't take long before you feel at home with your host family and can navigate your new life with ease. In time, you’ll become a cultural insider.

Although the academics are challenging, and social harmony is a cultural priority, the Japanese aren’t quite the perfectionists they’re made out to be – wabi-sabi, for example, is a zen aesthetic and idea roughly translated as an acceptance of life’s imperfections. Still, Japan is a perfect place to expand your horizons and language skills.

Summer language: This four-week program is designed to provide an intensive Japanese language learning experience through both formal study and first-hand cultural experience through living with a Japanese host family. Throughout the course of the program you will receive 80 hours of Japanese language classes at a professional language school. Food is art in Japan, and your host family will most likely prepare some amazing meals. The Japanese diet consists largely of rice, noodles, fresh vegetables, fruit, meat (mostly pork and chicken) and seafood. Many meals are eaten with chopsticks. The program includes 80 hours of Japanese language classes, host family immersion experience, participation in cultural activities, and travel opportunities to historic and cultural sites. You will attend language class with fellow AFSers from several countries across Europe. Classes will be offered at a professional language school and will have 5-12 students per class.

  • Immerse yourself in Japanese language - the best way to become fluent.
  • Live with a host family to deepen your immersion and connection to Japanese culture. If you’re like most AFSers, you won’t want to leave this second family and home.
  • Explore Japan’s stunning landscapes, cityscapes, arts, and more. Savor sushi and umami flavors like ramen.
  • Make connections and memories you'll never forget with other AFS exchange students from all over the world.
  • Become a global citizen. Gain intercultural communication skills. Build your college and career resume. Help create a more peaceful, understanding world.


AFS-USA Scholarships
AFS-USA Grants & Scholarships

The opportunity to study abroad should be available to everyone, regardless of their financial means. Annually, we award scholarships to about half of our study abroad students.

$1,000 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

Current high school students are eligible! Specific age requirements may apply, so we encourage you to please contact AFS ( for more details. Students must also be in good academic standing (recommended GPA of 2.5 or above). Basic Chinese language skills are preferred, but not required. For more information, you can also visit the program page:


based on 18 reviews
  • Growth 9.6
  • Support 7.5
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 8.1
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 16 - 18 of 18
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Yes, I recommend this program

Japan for 11 months

I went to Japan for 11 months through AFS, and it was a wonderful experience, and I truly believe that I am a better person from doing it. It was extremely difficult to adapt to the culture and the language, and I don't believe that it is for everyone. I had no trouble with my host family, but some things that were done in their house shocked me, like the extreme gender stereotyping going on. Also, the school I went to was wonderful, but as an all-girls private school, it was difficult for me to adapt. On the whole, I think my view of the world has changed through my experience and I have friends in Japan that I would like to keep close to me. I think that everyone should have a chance to go to a foreign country and learn about the different cultures because more understanding leads to more peace.

What would you improve about this program?
I would put more emphasis on culture shock, and I mean REAL culture shock, not just that the Japanese take showers before bathing.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Lemons and Lemonade

I think about the experiences I had during my time and how they changed me and changed my views on life. I experienced things during my stay both good and bad that affected me deeply. Between the numerous bad times and occasional depression some would ask if it was worth it. But I would say it was absolutely worth it. I never had more fun, learned more things, or grown more as a person than I did during my year in Japan. I think the experiences that feel the hardest at the time can become the most defining aspects of our character. And I am only a stronger person for having gone through it. I think, in a way, that everyone finds something that benefits them from going abroad. Whether it be the relationships we forge, the knowledge we attain, or the lessons we learn, it is something that stays with us for life and something grander than ourselves that we are forever a part of.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Tough year, but worth the struggle

Studying abroad in Japan is not for the faint hearted; the culture shock is very difficult, even if you are prepared for it. Every last person in my chapter switched families at least once, and we were often exhausted and homesick. That being said, and despite me feeling that 90% of my days in Japan weren't so great, the 10% of days that turned out well were worth it. I felt alive, like I'd conquered the world, I felt what true happiness really is like. I learned to open my heart up everyday and try again, and I learned how to love people even if they couldn't love me back. You can survive, you will grow so much, and learn, and become stronger. It's worth it.

What would you improve about this program?
Support for students on the Japanese side of the program could be a lot better. My liaison stopped communicating with me only 3 months after I got there and I had trouble finding someone to talk to.