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LanguBridge

About

LanguBridge's 3-7 week summer programs provide language programs for teens in China, Japan an South Korea. We host students from all over the world who are passionate about language learning. LanguBridge provides students with and in-depth experience of the sights, sounds and culture of their host country.

Headquarters

#200 – 4170 Still Creek Dr.
Burnaby BC V5C 6C6
Canada

Reviews

Default avatar
Julia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.
Default avatar
Meg
8/10
Yes, I recommend this 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!
Default avatar
Cameron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Kaitlyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time spent in Seoul during July of 2017 through the Langubridge program was excellent and life-changing. The primary reason that I enjoyed this program was due to how organized and dedicated the staff was to make the trip a positive learning experience. Months before we left our home country, my friends- who were also attending, were put in contact with a Langubridge representative via email. She was very attentive and understanding of any concerns we had, as she always responded with diligence to our countless questions. Prior to being accepted into the program, I was required to fill out application forms. These forms are not only made to assess the habits and personality of the student but are also to better match students with potential host families. The application process was something that caught my attention because it highlighted the effort that goes into making the student homestay program as seamless as possible. As a result of this my host family and I meshed very well together. Another cool thing about Langubridge is that they do their best to accommodate towards the needs of their students. Since this was my first time traveling abroad, I requested that I stay in a host home along with one of my friends that was going on the trip. Keep in mind that Langubridge does not guarantee that every request will be honored, however I was very grateful to have my request fulfilled. There was also a group Facebook page, and group Kakao Talk that was created by our trip leader, she used this to better keep everyone accounted for. Upon arrival in Seoul, my friends and I were easily able to make our way through customs and locate our host parents. My friend and I were made very comfortable with how kind our host family was. We each had our own room, and a super cute dog named Cream! In the following weeks, we attended language and culture classes at Hanyang University. Our group of 30 students was broken up into smaller classes based on skill level and we went from there. Overall, I will say that the classes were extremely helpful as was our professor. Our teacher was very patient and made sure to take the time to explain each lesson in detail so we got the most out of each class. Aside from classes at the university, we also had daily culture trips around the city. Whether it be to the National Folk Museum of Korea, to one of the world's largest theme parks Lotte World, we were given the experience of a lifetime. It was during these trips that our knowledge was extended beyond the walls of a classroom and into the vibrant social life of Korea. One of the most memorable outings we had was going to MBC and experiencing the technological side of Korean culture. I was even able to make friends with Korean students my age and am still in contact with one of them to this day. This coming July will mark one year since being in Seoul, the trip that changed my life as it opened my eyes to the world around me. Being an ocean away from my home, I learned to assimilate and adapt to new surroundings. I learned to be still and observe the beauty of diversity as people thrive in different cultures. I think that's one of the things that makes this program a stand out- that it's SO much more than just Korean classes. I'm forever grateful to Langubridge for giving me the opportunity to study in such a wonderful place, and gain memories that I will hold onto for a lifetime.

What would you improve about this program?
I felt as if this program is extremely refined and well organized as is. Nothing specific comes to mind when asked about improvement ideas!
Read my full story
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Mariel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Doing this program I was able to visit South Korea, a country which I had been admiring for about a year. It was in my opinion a very complete program, I had enough time to learn korean and visit different places in the Seoul city (by myself or with friends and also within the program’s schedule).

As for the places visited within the program’s schedule all of them were interested and there were both modern places (as MBC World, Lotte Amusement Park) and historical and cultural destines (like the gyeongbokgung palace, a theatre where we say a musical play, etc.).

As for the language teaching, the classes where really good and varied, there was a lot of vocabulary since it was an intensive language session, and the classes were fun.

The teacher’s and program staff are really nice and intensely welling to help. Doesn’t matter how many questions you ask, they would answer and helo you politely.

Tips: Since the program is done on summer, the temperature in Korea is pretty hot, so it’s better if you take comfortable and cool clothes.
It is a really safe country, so there’s no need to be afraid.
For transportation, busses and subways are the most used, so if there is any issue with these methods, it is preferred that you communicate that to the program so that they find a way to help.
Most food in Korea is spicy, so if you can’t eat spicy foods, make sure to say that to your host family in advance (for home cooked meals) and always ask to waiters in restaurants to bring you non-spicy foods.

What would you improve about this program?
Personally, I have no suggestions because in my opinion the program didn't have any faults.

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Alumni Interviews

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

Kaitlyn Lebsack

Kaitlyn or Katie is a 2018 high school graduate from Austin, Texas. She participated in the Langubridge Korea Summer trip in 2017.

Why did you choose this program?

I was looking to expand my knowledge of countries abroad through something other than classes. I really liked how Langubridge is very heavy on culture trips and encouraged its students to integrate themselves within the community. We took tons of classes, but we also got to experience the Korean culture upfront through our many trips.

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

The program providers were extremely helpful while we were in and out of school. They attended all of our culture trips as well; they were there if anyone had questions about something or needed guidance. Even when we were not at school, we were still connected with our providers via Kakao Talk. They were no more than a text message away at all times. It was very helpful that they made sure that everyone knew their way home each day, and if not, they were happy to escort you back.

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

For new trip members, I would suggest familiarizing yourself with the area before getting there. In big cities like Seoul, it’s fairly easy to navigate due to it being an international hub. But just because a good majority of the signs are in English doesn’t mean you won't get lost.

I was super lucky to be traveling with a friend who downloaded an app of the subway system in Seoul. We got to know what it looked like, what stops we would be using, and how the whole system worked. This was SO helpful!

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

The average week is pretty “routine” as far as classes go. In the mornings, we would wake up at around 7AM, get ready, and head to the subway station. Once we got to school, we would have class and then a lunch break followed by our afternoon outing.

The outings were to places around Seoul and included things like museums, palaces, and markets. On the weekends, we would go as a group to an all-day trip/event, and on Sundays, we would have free time to spend with our host families.

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

My biggest fear was the border stress that is in the news between North and South Korea all the time. As an American, this is a foreign issue that is frequently placed in the public eye and is seen as a pressing matter. I was pretty nervous about going to a place where I was told such tension existed.

I found comfort in knowing that Koreans live with that pressure every day; they are strong because they don't allow it to hinder them.

Instead, they press on, and live their lives to the fullest – and that inspired me to do the same.

What is your favorite thing about Korea?

One of my most favorite things about Korea was visiting the Jjimjilbang or bathhouse. This bathhouse was where we had the last outing we took as a class. It's probably one of the most memorable, too. I loved it because firstly – it’s a spa, and who doesn't like having a day to relax? Aside from that, it was stepping out of my comfort zone that made this trip memorable.

During this spa trip, I took the time to hang out with some group members that I normally never spoke to, and it was during this time that I grew very close to them. I'm extremely grateful for this particular outing because it allowed me to learn other people’s stories, and gave me time to listen.