LanguBridge Summer Language Program in Tokyo, Japan

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About

Study Japanese in Tokyo with LanguBridge! Our 3-, 4- and 7- week programs are designed to improve Japanese language skills for students of all levels and provide a broad range of cultural activities such as traditional tea ceremonies, calligraphy and trips to the district of Asakusa. Students can choose more intensive language courses, optional excursions or housing with a host family to supplement their daily classes. Spend your summer with LanguBridge!

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Questions & Answers

The likelihood of being accepted depends on multiple things: When you apply, Your age and how you filled out the necessary documents for the application. Before you're accepted they also require an Interview but I think this doesn't impact your acceptance much. I recommend applying as early as possible to ensure your chances and being honest with your application!

We will arrange airport pickup and drop off on the scheduled dates. The airport is Tokyo Narita Airport.

Reviews

9.25 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Growth 9.8
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Julia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Langubridge Summer 2019 E (Tokyo, Japan)

First things first, this is probably the best experience I’ve ever had in my life. I learned so much about Japan (it was my first time there) and learned how to be more independent and do all sorts of things that I couldn’t do at home (San Francisco).

I signed up for the program 2019, which was the youth immersive program with a home stay. My favorite part about this whole trip was my host family. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous to meet them at first, but all things went well! We had emailed a few times before I went over to Japan, and I had read up on the profiles that Langubridge had provided me with.

They were so caring, kind, and always made me feel so happy! They took me to several places, like Tokyo Disneyland and Shin-Oktoberfest (Tokyo’s Koreatown). My host mother cooked the best food and my host father was such a comedian! I had a host sister (21) and a brother (18). I was 16, so I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be mature enough for them, but I felt like I just fit right in. I hope sometime in the future I’ll be able to come back and visit them.

I didn’t mind that the commute to the building where the classes were held took an hour and thirty minutes every morning because I cherished every part of it. Even the times where I couldn’t figure out the way and accidentally went to Yokohama instead of Chiba (I came back home late after notifying my host mother, but she was completely fine with it and was just hoping I was safe). A few of the times the signs are confusing, but if you need help, there’s always a worker nearby that could help. Even if you can’t speak any Japanese, you can show them the name of the place and they’ll lead you there with no problem. Sure, it’s often very crowded and there’s many line switches, but it’s all part of the experience. My favorite part about the trains were the funny commercials they had above the doors.

The classes were held in Shinjuku, next to the red light district that was completely off-limits to us students. Classes started at 9 (I think..?) and ended at 3 (I can’t remember that well...). We’d have some breaks in between, and lunch would be for an hour. We’d also have a different curriculum in the morning compared to the one in the afternoon. Classes were also separated into Beginner and Intermediate (on the first day of school, you take a placement test to see where you fit in). This was a bit of a con for me, because if you weren’t in the same class, there wasn’t much interacting with other students. Other students got closer in classes (since we spent 75%) of the time there, and only interacted sometimes at field trips. But nonetheless, we were all friends, just a few closer than others.

On field trips, we usually split into two groups and go to different places. On the first day, you decide which place you want to go to (one of my choices were between Harajuku and Akihabara). You can also hangout with friends after classes, although there isn’t much time because of long commuting times and getting back home in time for curfew. But to be honest, my curfew wasn’t that bad and I always got back home an hour early or so (except for the time I got lost). Another con was the constant permission slips we had to get signed to hangout after classes or with friends on the weekends. On the slip we had to write the names of the people we were going with, the decided curfew, the place we were going, and a signature from our family.

Overall, this trip is the best experience I’ve ever had. I met a lot of great people and went to so many different places to try new things. I went out of my comfort zone but it was all worth it. I wish I could’ve had more time to stay with my host family and new friends, since that was the only time we would be all together (other students were either from France, Luxembourg, Australia).

The ending ceremony, of course, was the saddest part of it. Some of us had the opportunity to go on stage and talk about our experiences. We took last-minute pictures with friends and host families, and waved goodbye to them as our charter bus left the parking lot. By the time we were all in the bus, all of us were bawling our eyes out (no joke, I have a picture of all of us being so sad, lol).

I recommend this program to anybody who’s interested in doing a home stay and learning Japanese. You’re deeply immersed in the culture that you end up speaking Japanese before you know it. My advice is that you should spend as much time as you can with your host family AND your friends. Talk to everybody and tell your host family all the places you want to go, because they usually have a schedule when you first arrive at their home. If you do end up choosing this program and get accepted, I hope you have a lot of fun and I wish you lots of luck! Eat at the convenience stores and do as much as you can within the short three weeks!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment I had was meeting my host family. During the opening ceremony, we introduced ourselves on stage and said our host family’s surname. Then, they would come up and give you a hug, then take a picture. I have to admit, I’m an extremely shy person and choosing to do a home stay was completely out of my comfort zone. They were so kind and very interested and everything I did, so they ask a lot of questions about whether you have stuff back at your home similar to Japan. I was shy for probably about the first week, but as I hung out and interacted with them more, I felt more comfortable.
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Meg
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

LanguBridge Tokyo E Summer Program

During the winter of 2018, I looked up Japanese Language Programs for High School Students and found this Program. I wasn't sure whether to sign up for this Program or the many others you can find across the web but I am so glad I chose this one. What interested me most in this program was the Home Stay aspect, staying with a family and acquiring language knowledge through a more natural setting. Through this program I was able to meet friends I still talk to and a family I hope to never lose contact with. I noticed through the very few other reviews that hardly any negatives are mentioned in them, I thought this was odd so I'll try and talk about both the good and the bad.

The staff: The staff in the program are very supportive, there will likely be at least two English native speakers that will be there to help you every step of the way. Throughout the Program, there were some misunderstandings between me and the Teachers as they were not native speakers but the trip leaders helped me out each time to avoid any problems. I was very grateful to most of the staff, they helped the trip become less stressful and so much more enjoyable.

Other students in the Program: I arrived at the airport the first day worried that meeting 20 strangers would be super awkward and that I would leave having made no friends but I was so wrong. I am extremely shy, talking to complete strangers was something completely out of my comfort zone but luckily the program leader connected everyone to a Facebook group chat so we could talk to each other beforehand. It made everything less stressful. I made some friends I hope to never lose. You have multiple opportunities to talk to people from the other class. Multiple times after class and even once during the weekend I hung out with my friends in Harajuku, Akihabara and Ueno Park. Hanging out with everyone were some of my fondest memories.

Host Family: I loved my Host Family, They have become like a second family. If I had known how great they were I wouldn’t have had any doubts to go to Japan with this Program. They helped me so much over the three weeks. In my family, I had two younger brothers (13,15), an older sister (16), the Parents and grandmother, aunt and cousin also stayed over for a couple of nights. They brought me to a summer festival, I got to see my younger brother’s baseball games and we even got to eat out a couple of times. My favorite moments were playing card games with my host siblings, even though there was often a language barrier, they were encouraging, loving and everything I could have asked for in a family. We’re still in contact.

Morning and Evening Transport: The transport is long unless you’re lucky but the shortest my year was 45 minutes, mine was close to over 2 hours and that was one-way. It is likely that after a week the excitement of traveling alone will have worn off. I found myself later having memorized the scenery which ultimately aided in not getting lost later. Though since the commute was so long I got lost It was part of the experience. It was in those moments that I felt I grew the most and became more independent. Some of the things you could do on the commute are: Brining a book, Studying the previous day’s lesson or just looking out the window. I would go on my phone and listen to music offline to avoid wasting my data. Many days I found myself unable to do anything because of rush hour. Rush hour was an experience, to say the least. Locals will push you to get in, there is hardly any space to move so I would recommend that you stand in front of the seats as it is always less crowded there.

Classes: The classes were my least favorite part of the trip. Though I didn’t dislike them and they allowed me to meet amazing friends, I quickly fell into a routine and I found myself becoming distracted. I wish the program had had a higher level class as I was not a beginner. I was put in the intermediate class but the level was still quite low. Overall though the lessons were interesting and we often had field trips which added an element of change to the routine. We went to Akihabara, A local shrine, Asakusa and an animation museum.

Tips: Some tips I have for future participants are: First, BRING SUNSCREEN!! I left it at the bottom of my suitcase and ended up with a really bad sunburn which didn’t leave until after the end of the trip. Second, don’t be scared to talk Japanese with your family and practice. They don’t expect you to be fluent or even know much more than a greeting. They chose to be hosts because they want to help you! Finally, don’t worry so much. It’s truly an amazing experience and whether or not everything ends up the way you wanted/expected, you’ll certainly leave having learned something. You’ll leave with unforgettable memories and new bonds which will make the whole trip worth it.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My most nerve-racking experience was getting lost in an unfamiliar station after the train stopped. The train had stopped a couple stops before my stop, and I didn’t know why. I couldn’t read Japanese on the sign and wasn’t good enough at speaking to ask anyone. This freaked me out because I had to be in class an hour later and I didn’t know where I was. I overcame this moment of anxiety by calming myself down. The school staff is very understanding about coming late because of train-related issues. I contacted my team leader, and he proposed a couple of solutions. I used all my resources and used the little Japanese I knew to ask the station attendant where my train was and found my way back, a little late, having now learned what to do when I got lost. Overall this experience was nerve-wracking but didn’t make me enjoy the trip any less!
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Cameron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I learned a lot

I went to Japan through Langubridge program for cultural immersion and I had a great time. My host family, which consisted of a 4 year old, a 8 year old, and an 11 year old, was awesome and they always helped me out, cared for me, and were very understanding when I made a mistake in Japanese. It was really fun to be in a host family with young kids because they always engaged with me right away! Additionally, they took me to so many places that helped my understanding of the language. Not only that, but they helped me meet people that I could keep in touch with and I still talk to some of the friends that I made. And I still talk to my host family a lot and we even send each other care packages. Additionally, the classes were really great and we had a lot of chances to make friends and to learn applicable and important Japanese conversational skills, such as interacting with Japanese people and asking questions. Also, I felt like the field trips from the school allowed us to not only learn about the language, but to learn about the culture. I learned a lot of valuable things on the field trips that I still use today. This program really helped me become more of an independent person because even when just eating lunch with your friends, you have to find out how to figure things out on your own in a foreign country and in a language that I was not fluent in. I had a lot of great memories from this program, some of my favorites being going to summer festivals and eating ramen with my host family. I also built a lot of really strong bonds with people, which I really value from this program. Even after the program, it helped me become very independent, more curious about things, and it made me want to travel a lot more and see how people in other countries live. Some tips that I would have for future participants are that it is very helpful to learn at least basic Japanese before going. Also, to build strong bonds with your host family by offering to help and things like that so that you know you can as them any question if you're confused. Also, it is really helpful to go into the program very open minded because you will be able to try a lot of new things and meet a lot of people, and you will be able to enjoy it more if you have an open mind.

Kalia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Youth Immersion Tokyo E Program

If you're looking for a little bit of language and culture experience for the first time, I definitely recommend Langubridge.

Since I went through the Tokyo E program, that is mostly what my review will be about. If you are wondering about how to begin applying, you have to sign up and pay 85 dollar for the sign up fee and then they will send you all the application materials. The application is quite simple, fill in your basic info, write a paragraph about yourself, add your preferences for your host family, get two recommendations, and email/mail it. After that, you will receive an email about an interview, and most likely it will be a video chat interview through google. You learn more about Langubridge there and you can have a parent(s) present to ask questions if needed.

If it is your first time abroad and you do not know a lot of Japanese, then I really recommend going through the Tokyo E program. They provided a lot of support and very organized activity, you will not feel lost or anything because they are there to help and the home stay families are very well prepared.
They send us pre-departure guides before we arrive to Japan and those are VERY helpful: it includes possible gifts you could give, what happens when you are at the airport, what to expect when you get there, basic phrases, etc.

The Tokyo A, B, and C programs, I would say, are for older, advanced students who know more Japanese, have probably studied abroad before, and want more free time. From what I see, I think the Tokyo E program is like a High School schedule where you have set classes and a set routine. You wake up, eat breakfast, take the train to school, attend classes, eat lunch, attend class, and then take the train back home to spend the rest of your time with your home stay family. The only time to your self is probably at night. You occasionally get homework, but it is not meant to be burdensome like school, so homework is pretty easy. If you are dorming, I think you probably would not have to worry about an early curfew like you have to do with a host family and would not have to return straight home.

Once you receive your host family information, do not be afraid to contact them about living arrangements or if you want to do anything in advance so they can plan for it. Ask them what they have planned for you so you can help them plan things you want to do. I regret not contacting them, therefore I often just stayed home with my home stay family and did not get to experience as much as I wanted/could have; of course we went out on weekends though. Bring lots of spending money, you will be tempted to try lots of food and buy lots of things. I think $300-$500 would be just about you need, as long as you are not a huge spender.

The classes were held in the LABO building, located in Shinjuku. You are divided up into two groups, beginner and more advanced Japanese class. One sad thing is that once divided, you will not be able to interact much with the other class because you have different activities. The classes are quite enjoyable and helpful. The beginner class I took was quite helpful with teaching us basic phrases, sentences, words, hiragana, and katakana.

There are these things called LABO parties and they are super fun. My host family only took me to one, but it was super fun. Depending on your LABO group, you could meet other Japanese students your age or younger or older. Unfortunately for me, I did not go to a LABO party where there were other teens my age, but it was still super fun. The age group ranges a lot and each LABO party-group has different amount of people. There could be 10 in one group and 30 in another. You will learn more about what LABO is on the second day of coming to Japan.

The home stay families are all very nice and well prepared. You may end up with a family that speaks a lot of english, or one that speaks very little. Either way, the houses are very nice and comfortable and the families are welcoming. It helps to know/speak Japanese so you can bond with your family more, but since I could not speak much Japanese, I could not talk to my host family as much as I wished I could have. If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me any time. Oh, remember to take lots of photos! & vlog if you can, even if you feel weird, you will regret not capturing the moment later, so do it!

What would you improve about this program?
I have no suggestions since the program is already pretty good.