GPI US provides educational programs in the United States, aimed to develop the life skills needed to succeed in today's competitive society. All of our programs teach leadership skills, cross-cultural understanding, critical thinking, and comprehensive English communication. Our programs maximize the student’s experience by providing interaction through thought-provoking seminars, engaging classes, cultural excursions, conversations with peers, global awareness, and practical discussions with faculty and student advisors.



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Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Program!

The Japan Empowerment Program is a fantastic way to see Japan! Honestly, my main incentive for applying was to get a free trip to Japan in return for the work we would be doing. However, after completing the program I can honestly say that the work was the best part! You are there to empower students, but seeing how much each and every student is able to grow towards their best selves over the course of just a five day session is truly awe inspiring. While the program has an intense schedule, and I was quite exhausted by the end of the time there, all the challenges were well worth it! GPI US and ISA staff were extremely helpful throughout the entire program and really helped me begin to understand Japanese hospitality and work culture. On the whole, this is a great program that I would highly recommend to any one interested in Japan or the fields of teaching and education.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be prepared to sweat a lot! Japan in the summer is unbelievably hot and humid, and you will be outside more than people usually are in the USA. That said, many places I was in (although definitely not all) did have AC, which provided some respite from the heat. Sweating is also a great excuse to try Japan's sports drink, Pocari Sweat!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Just do it!

This was an amazing experience -- many people go to Japan every year. Going with a homestay program like this one exposes you to so much more than you can see alone. You may participate in tea ceremonies, try on kimonos at local festivals, participate in taiko and traditional dance classes, and learn local histories. Even better, there's a new homestay and new city every week, which keeps things exciting and fresh and exposes you to even more, from Tokyo and Osaka to Yokohama and Kumamoto. You'll live and learn surrounded by Japanese culture. You'll make many friends among the other international student leaders, and you'll enjoy teaching the local Japanese students English.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Trust your homestay families to make the experience amazing, and as often as you can, say yes to new experiences (and yes to taking care of yourself - don't tire yourself out early!).
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Yes, I recommend this program

I can't imagine my life in Japan without the JEP.

First things first, I participated in the Empowerment Program as a Japan-based international student who directly worked with the interns from the US and other international students in Japan. I regularly joined the Japan Empowerment Program each summer and winter. I started out as an Activity Leader/ Group Discussion Lead. As such, I lead small groups of 4 to 5 high school students of the client school and worked with the Program Facilitator and the ISA staff. After just one year, I assumed the position of Empowerment (EMP) Facilitator.

Throughout those five years, each EMP left an incredible memory or experience that I still cherish even now that I am not based in Japan anymore. I met wonderful people - ISA staff, GPI-US interns, facilitators, Japanese teachers of the client schools, ALTs, and best of all, cute Japanese students. They're really cute like kids.

If you're up for experiential learning, friendship, and cultural appreciation, please join this program. By the way, I put 9/10 for fun not because it was "just close to fun" but only because I want you to discover this missing tenth for yourself. Sure, there's an iota of challenge in a few programs... This is also pretty normal in every program where diversity is deemed part of the learning process. How do you deal with cross-cultural understanding if there's no hint of difference? What matters is our focus on building friendship, learning, and understanding.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be nice to see innovative methods applied in some programs. I guess this requires tremendous collaboration between the client school and the company. The company has conducted significant steps over the years.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Teach in Japan

I am so glad I decided to do the Empowerment Progam! In the program you travel between different cities each week for one month. I was lucky to be able to stay with such kind and heart warming host families during my stay. (To this day I still keep in contact often with them). The families go out of their way to make the week you stay with them so special. In addition, on the weekends they take you to Japan's tourist sites and local delicacies. GPI US inc takes very good care of their instructors, and provides (airfare, accomodation, travel, food, and a stipend). Going on this trip made me realize how much I enjoy teaching high school students, and how lovely of a country Japan is. If I could, I would 100% go back with this program!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I was a foreign research student in Japan when an opportunity to take part in an Empowerment Program as a Group Leader came up. The perks of the program - homestay experience, teaching opportunities, and cross-cultural convergence - were just too exciting.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

ISA, GPI-US's parent company, was incredibly supportive of me and assigned me to different programs across Japan through which I have gained a great deal of teaching and facilitating skills. In just one year, I was promoted as a Facilitator of Empowerment Programs.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Try every opportunity to learn. Explore various programs. Along the way, you meet people with whom you develop a great sense of camaraderie!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

For a 3-day Empowerment program, we usually spend 5 hours or more. Each session's objective varies depending on the curriculum prepared for that specific EMP. We conduct discussions, cross-cultural conversations, and fun presentations. At the end of each day, we're free to explore the city/ town.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

When I moved to Japan for graduate studies, I thought I would quit after three months. It was also my first time to live independently. But I overcame my homesickness and have realized that there's a lot to explore out of your comfort zone. I have learned to appreciate my family even more.

What did you learn during this trip?

I have learned to focus on mutual interests and go beyond differences. Cheesy as it may sound, love makes the world go 'round. Respect, understanding, and patience matter.