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World Campus International


World Campus International organizes short term programs in Japan for students aged 17 and up. Programs can be done independently of each other or in conjunction, making your Japanese studies flexible to your needs, goals, and budget. Study Japanese culture and language in various cities across Japan and participate in not only classes, but also homestays and related cultural activities. There has never been a better time to study abroad in Japan!


4160-11 Arao
Arao, Kumamoto


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Yes, I recommend this program

This past summer, I spent about 6 weeks with World Campus, traveling from Omura all the way to Mito. It’s been over a month since I left Japan, but I still think about it almost every day. I was skeptical at first mainly because of the language barrier but also because of the people I would meet. But as soon as I got there, I was welcomed with open arms and smiles.
Throughout the program, I met not only Japanese people but people from all across Europe and Asia as well as fellow Americans, some of which I still talk to today. The people in each session felt like a family only a few days after meeting. The staff was wonderful and although some were about 10 years older than me, they were so easy to talk to. They were always there to listen and help. I remember not having anything to do in our free day in Tokyo so I went with Nena, one of the staff members, to Koreatown and then we walked to Shibuya and Harajuku, finding cute restaurants and coffee shops along the way. The host families were absolutely wonderful, making me feel right at home. I still keep in contact with some of my host families, like the one from Mito for example. We send each other photos and updates about what we are doing in our everyday lives and whenever I get a text from them, I huge smile comes on my face.
The activities that the staff had planned for us were unforgettable. From climbing over 800 stairs to visit a temple to training like ninjas for a day and participating in school classes, each experience was one like no other. At times, the school visits were overwhelming. I remember the first large school visit I went to. Barely speaking Japanese, I was swarmed by first graders asking if I’d play a game with them outside. Having already promised the 5th graders the same thing, but not knowing what they were saying, especially when 10 voices were talking at the same time, I said yes. We got to the field and both groups went up to me. I didn’t know what to say (literally), so I just joined whatever game of tag the other WC members were playing. But looking back at it now, it was a lot of fun and definitely worth it.
Lastly, there’s the arigato event: a night of dancing and thanking host families and LOC. I never realized how much I liked dancing. Well, I like dancing but I didn’t think I’d like dancing in public. And I don’t want to brag, but I got pretty good at the dances after a while. Along with that, all of the Americans agreed to do the Chicken Dance and we even got the families to join in. I even stepped out of my comfort zone and performed a solo in the Paprika song. I could go on and on, but my review is already really long. Basically, join the program! You will not regret it!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I were to do this program again, I would definitely work on my Japanese. I came there knowing very basic phrases, which made it hard to communicate, especially with certain host families. At times, there would be long silences because we would want to say things, but simply could not put it into words (both English and Japanese). But even if you don't know Japanese, it shouldn't be a deal-breaker. I still had lots of fun and wouldn't regret any minute of it. And, I came back with more Japanese skill, so you definitely will learn as well.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I went on the 2018 Session 3 trip to Mito, Ibaraki; Abiko, Chiba; and Tama, Tokyo. To put it simply, this was the best trip I had ever gone on.

Prior to the trip, I was a fairly introverted student who only had an interest in anime and the nature in Japan like the cherry blossom trees and the green grass you see in a bunch of pictures. After going by myself with only a basic understanding of the Japanese language, I've found a newfound appreciation for the country and its people.

The host families were all very welcoming and I had very unique experiences with each one. In Mito, I stayed with a family of six who lived in a house off the main road in the middle of rice fields. While I was still a bit out of my comfort zone as this was the first time I've ever traveled alone, my family made me truly appreciate the family bond and always made me feel at home even though we had the language barrier! They took me to some of the most gorgeous waterfalls and temples in the area and they taught me all about what their daily life looks like. My family in Abiko lived in a much more urban area where I got to experience more of the city. They love to travel to, and we got to make sushi rolls at home and my sisters always wanted to watch anime movies with me before bed. Finally, my host family in Tama were suburban as we lived in an apartment. I really learned a lot about the community as my brother's school was kind enough to let me sit in with my brother as part of a summer learning program.

While this was just my experience during my off time in the morning and at night, this doesn't even capture how much we would do as a program group during the day. Whether it be visiting a soy sauce factory or visiting the Girls Und Panzer museum that made the local area famous, it was something new and exciting every day. All of the other participants made me feel like a big family and I still cherish the memories we had.

This program had taken me straight out of my comfort zone and made me a much stronger person. Before I left, I would often deal with anxiety from the smallest things that would make life difficult. After the trip, I've learned just how to navigate the many small challenges such as language, bringing gifts I think the family will enjoy, and trying to give back as much as they give to me. I was able to complete the giant challenge of entering a culture I know little about, yet come out feeling like I could conquer anything thanks to the extremely kind host families, staff for the program who made me feel safe, and the participants for being kind and being able to share my experience with. I've begun Japanese courses at my college and feel ever the more motivated to return and greet my past host families and show them how much I've improved.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The language barrier made me the most nervous before I left! Prior to leaving, I only knew the Hiragana alphabet and a few simple phrases in Japanese such as "Kore" (This) to purchase food, Arigatou / Arigatou Gozaimasu (Thank you) to show my appreciation, and Wakarimasen (I don't understand) as a way to sometimes explain to my host family when I didn't understand a part of their Japanese.

If you're worried about not knowing Japanese, don't be! While I do think understanding some basic phrases and learning some Hiragana would make your trip easier, I don't feel like I missed much by not knowing Japanese. My host families knew about as much English as I knew Japanese, so it was a learning experience for all of us!
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Yes, I recommend this program

In 2018 I joined World Campus Japan for the second time, but that year i decided to say for two sessions - session 2 and 3 (6 weeks in total). Even though I was a participant at session 2 the previous year, I decided to join again, and I don't regret it even for a second. The amount of memories I have, and the experience I got, is priceless.
First of all, I got to meet new people from different countries. At the time I was 19 and felt young. Sometimes I wondered "Ok, so, what if I am one of the youngest there?". The answer is that it doesn't matter! I felt like a part of a huge international family. You get to do so many great things together when you attend the activities, and I promise you, you get to have a lot of fun at the Arigato Event (An event where participants dance, show their culture, and say thank you for everything to the families and community). I got to know many amazing people, and some of them I plan on visiting soon in their countries.
Second of all, the host families. It seems scary at first to stay with people you don't know, but it feels so good after you get to spend time together! I don't really speak any Japanese at all, and we still managed to establish a great connection. I taught them about my country, and they taught me about Japan. It seems like they also rediscovered a bit about Japan as well :) I also tried to teach them English, and I could learn some Japanese. At the end of the program, I could actually understand a bit! I miss all my host families, and I keep in touch with all of them. We exchange messages, and send postcards.
Third of all, the activities are great. I never felt bored, and I made my comfort zone so much bigger than before I joined World Campus. I got to try Ninja Training, met kids at school, visited a soy sauce factory, played with children, went to Oyama Mountain, made my own chopsticks, interacted with students, and so much more. I felt like not only I was learning about the Japanese culture, but I was also learning about myself.
If you have the opportunity to join the program - do it! I can't imagine a better trip to Japan, and a better way to spend my vacation-money. You will feel like a part of a huge family!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You will learn so much, and you will develop new skills, as well as learn new things about yourself.
Yes, I recommend this program

What is it really like to live in Japan? How are the Japanese People? There are many questions like these for people interested in this country on the most eastern side of asia. You might think you know the answers because you read a lot about Japan in school or during your freetime. If you ever participate in the program, you will realise, in a very positive way, that most of the stuff you've learned from books are paper talk.

Being a participant from 2017, I participated in session 1, which is the Kyushu session. These three weeks in the archipelago was one of the most memorable three weeks in my life. Apart from learning about how the real everyday mundane life is in Japan - which is in my opinion one of the best part about WCJ - you also get to see a lot of the landscape, the city life, and a lot more. Things like meeting a authentic Katana sword smith, attending and helping out in schools, trying out different martial arts (including Ninjutsu), and most importantly the wonderful and great host families, really make this program worth your time in the summer. As a bonus, you also gets to know lots and lots of people from all over the world.

What was your funniest moment?
When a friend was reading out loud a letter he wrote for he's host family
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Yes, I recommend this program

When I heard about this program from my friend, I immediately decided to apply. I was excited but started to have my doubts about it a week before my flight. I was going far away from my home and all familiar to me for almost a month. But when I arrived, I realized that I had nothing to be afraid of. I met many amazing people from different countries and backgrounds and we did many interesting and exciting things together. From cooking, visiting interesting historical sites and schools to completing a ninja training and dancing at Arigato events. I've learnt so many things, especially how to work with people from different countries that see things differently than me, how to fit into a community of people even if I don't speak their language and they don't speak mine and also how to be considerate of other cultures and how to work with them. I felt really happy the whole three weeks that I spent with World Campus in Japan and I have many great memories. And I will never forget the great families that I stayed with and all the people I met while being a part of WCJ.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay for longer and try to learn more Japanese words and phrases.


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Alumni Interviews

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

Stijn Bekker

Stijn is a student in his early twenties living in his native Netherlands, with a passion for travelling that awakened in him when he went to Berlin for the first time. After saving up some money for big travel plans, he decided to push his boundaries, and go to Japan for a unique experience.

Why did you choose this program?

In one of my classes at university in my first year, I had a classmate who promoted World Campus. She explained what it was and invited us to a presentation. That year I did not go, but the next year a different classmate introduced me to World Campus again and that year I signed up. I decided to do so because I was very much interested in Japanese culture, but my knowledge was limited to Japanese pop-culture and history. World Campus offered me a chance to get to know things about Japanese culture that I either did not know or only had theoretical/academic knowledge about through personal experience instead of through textbooks. It offered me the chance to get to know Japan a regular tourist doesn't.

Another reason why I decided to join was that I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and push myself. I hesitated about joining that first year because despite my interest in the country, I was too nervous about having to perform once a week and interact with the host families. But I wanted to grow, and just went for it.

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

Once in Japan, the program provider takes care of pretty much everything. However, participants have to research flights and book tickets to Japan on their own. My friend and I didn't fly back home the same day the program ended, so we also had to choose a hotel to spend the final night at.

Once every week there is a personal day. On this day, each of the participants has to decide what they're going to do that day. It is possible to do something on your own, but most likely you're going to do something with a group. In any case, you have to plan and pay for everything yourself that day.

The program provider didn't assist me with buying travel insurance, but that didn't matter. It's much easier if you do it yourself.

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

Three weeks is longer than you'd think. And you do A LOT every day. You're going to be very tired by the end of it. So while you'll probably be fine at first, as the program goes on, you'll have increasingly less energy. There is no way to completely avoid this of course, but it might a good idea to temper your excitement a little bit and watch how much energy you use. You don't want to be a mute in your third week.

The second thing I want to give as advice and what I want to say to others, I'll tell in my answer to the second question below this one.

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

An average day looks as follows:

You wake up in the morning not too early, but you can't exactly sleep in early either. There is a busy day ahead! You'll have breakfast with your host family, shower, brush your teeth and all that morning jazz. After all this your host family will either bring you directly to the meeting point for that day, or bring you to a train station from where you'll take the train to the meeting point on your own.

After all participants have gathered and the counsellors have explained again (at the end of last they you'll have gone over the plans for today together already), you'll do whatever it is that you're doing that day. You might take the train to a nearby town and tour around that town. You might take the buys to a shrine. You might go do some other things. The point is, the program is varied. Then, after you're done with that day's activities you'll go back to the meeting point from where you'll be picked up by your host family or take public transport back to your home station.

The evenings are all for the host families. Chances are that when you get back, it's almost dinner time. Dinner will be god-like, I can assure you that. And after a nice evening together, you'll go to bed, probably at an earlier time than you're used to. At least I did so. Whether due to jet-lag or having had an intense day, I do not know. But you'll need your energy for the next day...

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

I was a bit nervous about the host families, but that was still exciting to me. No, my biggest fear before signing up and going was the weekly arigatou event. Every week the participants and counsellors perform a show for the host families to thank them for their kindness, generosity, and willingness to host us that week. This show involves dancing, a trivia quiz with trivia from all the participants' countries, maybe (depends on how many people from your country participate) a country act where you perform something from your home country (what this is you can decide), some singing, you get the gist.

Now I don't like going on stage. I don't like giving presentations. I have performance anxiety. So I really was not looking forward to it. But then the arigatou event day came, and I was bloody nervous before we went up... But then we did our things and it was. Amazing. I loved it. I felt so good! So happy! So alive! Were we any good at dancing? Of course not. Almost none of us are trained dancers, but that didn't matter. It was fun to do and the host families loved seeing us dance. And all the other acts we did were just as fun and just as liberating. Liberating? Yes, liberating. As I said, I had performance anxiety. And while at the end of it I still had performance anxiety, it was a lot less than before. World Campus cured me for a large part of my performance anxiety! And now I'm actually part of a team that does Japanese dance! I can hardly believe it myself.

World Campus was a literal life changing experience. And, if you're like me, don't worry about performing or being stiff or whatever. You will get over it. Trust me. Everybody who goes is going to be a better person when they come home.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Joakim Gåsøy

Job Title

Joakim is a student from Norway. He enjoys being with friends, swimming, cooking, reading and, most importantly, traveling and interacting with new people through World Campus. He has worked for both the World Campus Japan and World Campus Norway programs as a counselor and video editor, and he intends to support both programs in the future.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Choosing only one memory is nigh impossible, although there is a recent one that comes to mind. The third time traveling to the Nagasaki area in Japan, I had the pleasure of meeting all my three host families from that area. They had arranged a barbecue for me, and I really felt like I was part of a big family. These are the memories that makes me come back year after year.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have acquired many important life skills, but among the most important ones are the teaching skills. Working as a counselor is quite similar to working as a teacher, and through staff training and experience, I have learned how to teach a group of people, both in theory and in practice. For instance, I have learned that I should always be able to reasonably explain my decisions to my students. To me, this is an invaluable tool both in my personal and professional life.

Working as a counselor can also be quite stressful at times, and I have become noticeably calmer and collected over the years working with World Campus. This really helps whenever I face a stressful situation in another part of my life!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I remember one particularly shy student who had little interest in Japan prior to joining our program. He was recommended to join by his friend, and the way he developed during the program was truly magical to witness. From dancing and singing to smiling and interacting with students and locals, he was completely changed by end. Afterwards, he said it was the best experience of his life, and it really warmed my heart.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

The World Campus Japan program is the longest running and most established program, and is the one I would recommend first and foremost. Japan is not only a very safe place to stay, but has a very unique culture that will make anybody experience a culture shock at one point or another, and that is the beauty of our program. The friendly nature of the people of Japan, combined with their modern and traditional culture, makes it a program full of opportunities to develop oneself and create unforgettable memories.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

The programs offered by World Campus are one-of-a-kind. Both the composition of the participants and staff from all over the world, and notably the exclusive activities and home stay, make our programs truly unique.

I am always proud to work with a team of international staff, but especially when a participant tells me we changed their life.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

From my experience with World Campus, I think a clear ambition and the motivation to reach its goal are integral to success. Motivation often goes hand in hand with enjoyment, and everybody involved in World Campus do it because they enjoy it. We all want to make the world a better place, and we do it by making its people improving themselves, and it is something we all love doing.

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