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World Campus International

About

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!

Website
worldcampus.org
Headquarters

4160-11 Arao
Arao, Kumamoto
864-0041
Japan

Reviews

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Paul George
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I first heard about World Campus through a friend of mine who worked as staff member back in the early 2010’s. I had made a comment how I’ve always wanted to visit Japan, and the way he described World Campus it sounded like the perfect way to do so. After looking into the program, I decided I wanted to get the full bang for my buck and was determined to take all three sessions. After graduating high school, I worked for a few years, applied and dropped out due to lack of funds, and worked until 2019 when I finally had enough to go. I spent almost every dollar I had to join World Campus, and I can safely say It was worth every dollar.

You experience not only the culture of Japan, but so many sights and sounds. I visited cultural sites, schools, cultural fairs, and almost everything in between. And everywhere I went, I felt welcomed by the incredible communities we worked with. And beyond the fact that you’re in the beautiful country of Japan and experiencing the culture first hand, you make connection with fantastic people who will be apart of your life for as long as you live. In the nine weeks I spent in world campus over the course of the three 2019 sessions, I made so many new friends who were either other students from around the world, or amazing community members whose greatest desire was to show us their amazing country and culture.

But more than all of that were the host families we stayed with.

I’ve never experienced such hospitality in my life. Every week, we move cities and stay with new host families who graciously take us in and treat us like one of their own. And frankly, by the end of the week, we were a part of their family. I think that’s the thing I loved most about World Campus. Yes, I got to experience a country I’ve been fascinated with my whole life. Yes, I got to make close friends with people from across the globe. Yes, I came home with enough stories to write a book or two. But more than that, I found a family I never knew I had. In fact, I found several families, all of whom mean more to me then any experience I had (not to say the experiences weren’t phenomenal).
In World Campus, you get far more than just a trip to Japan, you get the most in depth experience you can possibly get. I stayed for 3 sessions, which took me to 9 different cities in Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Osaka, Nara, Kanagawa, Ibaraki, Chiba, and Tokyo, and in every city we saw amazing sights and did amazing activities.

I’d recommend World Campus to anyone who wants to experience Japan in the best possible way. I will always remember my experiences in it, and I’d defiantly say that this program is worth every dollar.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I first arrived in Nagasaki, I was so exhausted by my 30 hour+ trip that I slept like a rock after having met and eating dinner with my host family. The next day, however, during out first orientation, I came down with a sense of crippling anxiety. I wanted to catch the next flight home right there and then and I could feel tear welling up in my eyes. The feeling was lessened when we were rehearsing the Arigato Event (the event show we put on as a thank you to our host families and community for hosting us), but it came back full swing as we were waiting to be picked up.

I decided to ask some of the councilors what was going on and if they could give me advice on what to do. They explained to me that it was (most likely) culture shock, and that it's fairly common. They explained to me that given time, the feeling would fade as I built connections with my host families and the other participants. Their kind words helped me to feel much more comfortable about the whole situation, and needless to say, they were completely right. Within a few days, I was just as comfortable in Japan as I was back at home.
Read my full story
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Tereza
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

At first I was afraid and didn't know, what to expect. As a japanology student I knew a lot about Japan already, soI was starting the program with lower expactations. But I was wrong. It was the most amazing and exciting experience of my life! The people, the opportunities, the community... everything was absolutely amazing and it took my breath away! Living with host faamilies and sharing each others culture and opinions and different perspective is very exciting and it opens your mind. Also getting to know other participant's and their differences, I've learned so many thing about various countries which you would never learn at school. You get to do thing you would normally never have a chance to and you get to know Japan and other countries from it's core- Highly recommend!

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Oskari
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

For a long time Japan has been on my mind. It is a country that has rich tradition, beautiful nature and interesting popular culture. These and a few other reasons led to me wanting to visit the said country.
And so I did. Last summer I finally managed to find time to accommodate a trip abroad and I have absolutely no regrets. I stayed in Japan for a total of 6 weeks out of which three were with World Campus Japan program and while the solo travel allowed me to see some places the program was not able to (like the top of Mt. Fuji), there's only so much you can experience by relying on your own decisions in a foreign country. This is where the program shines. I could just trust the staff and locals to have made their very best to provide me with experience like no other - one that truly let's me get a look at the Japanese society from the inside, whether it's in the form of living with them or visiting the governing facilities.
And this brings me to the one thing that I personally found the most important part of the whole program. Yes, you can visit many places and see many sights on your own - you might even be able to meet up with other tourists visiting from around the globe, but the one thing this program really provided me with was a family in Japan. With each city visited I got one more reason to re-visit this country as the host-families became so much more than just a place to sleep. Three cities visited, three families gained and soon, with Christmas almost knocking at our doors, it's time to prepare some cards and small presents for my new younger siblings on the island country just across one small Russia.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
While homemade takoyaki was quite an experience, as far as the unfamiliar things to eat go, it has to give the first place to natto-tuna-soba that I got for dinner in one of the host families.
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Johnny
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From July 24 to August 12, 2019 I participated in the World Campus Japan program. During my time I explored Mito, Abiko, and Tama with the program, but I also got to see Tokyo and Asakusa with my host families. Although my time in Japan was rather short, it was the best three weeks of my life and I think about it everyday.

When you participate in the World Campus Japan program you get to experience Japan in an entirely different way, almost as a local. You get to experience home stay, which is the most exciting part of the entire program. You get to experience home cooked Japanese meals, which are delicious. You also get the chance to see how your host family lives, what they do for fun, etc. Even though I only stayed with my host families for a week, I bonded with them all and I still talk to them to this day even though I've been home for two months now. I'm going back to Japan in a couple of months and I've already made plans to visit all of my host families again and I can't wait to see them.

My review of World Campus Japan wouldn't be complete without mentioning the participants, the counselors, and the program director. My group was rather small, I think there were around twelve of us. We were from all over the world and after spending three weeks doing almost everything together, you get incredibly close with each other. I still speak to some of the participants to this day and I hope that someday we see each other again.

The counselors in the program were amazing. The other participants and I noticed how hard that they worked for us and we all greatly appreciate it. The counselors have a tough job of running the town/cities that you visit and organizing it all. They also have the job of translating the language so people who can't speak Japanese know what's going on. The counselors are also there for you if you need to talk to them about anything. They are incredible.

The entire program wouldn't be possible without Hiro, the program director. You have your interview with him before you get accepted into the program and you will be communicating through him all the way until you arrive to Japan. When I participated in the program, it was my first time traveling abroad. Hiro makes everything as simple and smooth as possible. If you have any questions or issues, you can go straight to Hiro and he'll help you. Just like the counselors, he is incredible.

World Campus Japan is an amazing program that everyone should participate in. You get to make connections in Japan that can last a life time as well as making friends with the other participants. If I could do it all over again, I would.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers participating in this program would be to try everything that you possibly can. You don't know when you're going to be returning to Japan, if at all. So try to immerse yourself into the culture and try everything that comes your way.
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Heidi
10/10
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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Alumni Interviews

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

Paul George Newman

Paul was born and raised in Colorado, in the small town of Northglenn. He's had a fascination with Japan and its culture since he was a child, and traveling with World Campus was a perfect opportunity for him to do so.

Why did you choose this program?

I heard about World Campus through a friend of mine. He's a lighting expert who worked on a few of the theatrical shows at my high school.

I happened to be helping him out one night when I let slip that I've always wanted to go to Japan. He told me about a program he had been a part of for a few years, and that program was World Campus.

He had worked with the creator of the program, Hiro, in another program called Up With People, and the way he described the program and talked about how much he trusted and respected Hiro gave me full confidence that World Campus would be the best way for me to experience Japan first hand.

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

The total cost of the program covered housing, activities, food, and transportation between cities during the sessions. The total cost didn't cover extra expenses (souvenirs, medicine, food outside our activities/outside what our host families make, etc.), transportation to and from Japan, and travel in between sessions

So, if someone were participating in two sessions, transportation would be provided for between cities in each session, but it's not provided for them getting from the endpoint of session 1 to the meeting place of session 2 (although, all of the staff members were very active and willing to help anyone set up proper transportation and potentially traveling with them).

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

I'd defiantly say to polish up on some of your Japanese, especially basic phrases and statements (Thank You, Excuse Me, Please, Thank You, etc). I'd also say to look into some of the customs of the country. I learned by accident that rolling bamboo chopsticks between your hands after breaking them apart is considered exceptionally rude. Be sure to look into electronic connections as well; Japan uses the same kind of outlets and wattage, but they don't have grounding sockets that are in America outlets, so I had to get a special adapter for my computer charger that made it fit in a two-prong outlet.

Also, plan for anything and everything. Too muchh supplies are far better than too few. I brought home souvenirs for my family and friends, and I really wished I had packed a foldable duffel bag so that I didn't have to buy one in order to fit all the things I wound up coming home with. Some of the things you think might be too mundane might come in handy (I connected with some of my younger host siblings by letting them play the Nintendo Switch I brought), and there might be things you'll need that you might under pack for.

Lastly, I'd say to go with the flow on everything. Try everything that's offered to you, volunteer for every opportunity, take every risk or challenge presented before you with full grit and vigor. By the end of your trip, you'll return home with a thousand different stories, and the ability to say you faced Japan head-on and had the time of your life.

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

You'll wake up generally early, especially on a day where the group is doing activities, as all meet up between 8 and 9 on most days. So take into account breakfast with your host family, and cleansing yourself.

After everyone meets up, we get debriefed by the councilors on the day's activities (rehearsing for the Arigato Event, visiting a museum, going to a cultural fair, etc). We also have lunch at some point during these days.

After the day's events, we are picked up by our host families (or we make our way home if we are asked to take public transport), wherein the rest of the evening and dinner is spent with them.

A week typically follows the schedule of...
- At the beginning of the week, we meet our host families.
- A few days of activities.
- A Host Family day where you spend the day with your host family.
- On some weeks, a free day where you can do what you want (within reason, and within the wishes/abilities of your host family).
- Close to the end of the week, the Arigato Event.
- The day we leave and say goodbye to our host families (or each other if it's the end of a session).

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 honestly meeting and staying with the host families.

For me, there was a basic, underlying fear about needing to impress or not wanting to impose in a stranger's house. This fear waned fast though. By the end of my adventures, my host families became the best part of my trip.

They volunteer to host you because they want to get to know you, integrate you into their family. And even with the families I stayed with had volunteered for World Campus before and hosted participants before (about half of mine), I found they were just as scared as I was, and typically for the same reasons.

I couldn't have asked for better host families, and I will never forget the time I spent with them.

What are some experiences that where different than what you anticipated?

I'll do an experience for each week I was there.

1 - I didn't expect the Nagasaki Peace Museum to be as moving to me as it was. I'll admit, I cried at one point during the tour (and even harder when we met a survivor of the atomic bombing).

2 - I had an absolute blast meeting and working with a Katana smith. I knew this activity would be fun, but I didn't expect it to be as exciting as it was.

3 - For week three, I got to experience a type of remembrance ceremony with my host family, and it was unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. It was also very nice to meet and have lunch with the extended members of my host mom's family.

4 - I used (and got lost on multiple times) public transportation in Japan on my own this week. I'd defiantly say it was one of the strongest learning experiences I had whilst in Japan.

5 - I knew the Ninja Village would be gimmicky fun but I was surprised at just how much fun it was in a group setting. Between the rope climbing, river crossing, and VR ninja challenge, I found grew closer with my group more than anything.

6 - When we visited the university in this city, It was a much more inclusive and interactive process then what we've had thus far in school visits. I walked away feeling like a student in a way, and it was crazy fun.

7 - We visited the beach and the ocean on our last day of activities for the week, and it was the first time I got to visit the coast my whole trip in Japan. I had an amazing time exploring the beach we were on and catching some small crabs in the low tides.

8 - We went to a festival on after activities one day, and we saw an incredible fireworks display that lasted about an hour and a half, easily twice as long as any display I've seen before.

9 - I went to Hello Kitty land on our free day this week, and believe it or not, it was absolutely incredible. It blew all of my expectations out of the water.

Staff Interviews

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

Joakim Gåsøy

Job Title
Counselor

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.