In short, world class programs was probably the greatest decision I ever made. I learned, I had so much fun, and experienced a country as a student the way I felt was most fitting. This trip was amazing, I reccomend it to everyone.
In a longer format, if you are having second thoughts, please keep reading.
As a high schooler who wouldn't normally just ship themselves off to a country to learn and experience the world, with parents who were concerned about my safety and overall happiness and experience, and with the abundance of choice when trying to find a program that covered all my wants and needs while staying in a reasonable price range I could afford, I felt lost and just overwhelmed by what I was filtering through to find the perfect summer trip.
World Class Programs was everything I wanted, and more. The program staff were professional and genuinely cared for our wellbeing, our safety, and our experience. Not only did they make sure we had everything we needed, they also went out of their ways to make sure that we were able to do activities we were interested in or experience or learn things we were interested in. Through the trip their effort and dedication was obvious and helped to reassure us that if we needed anything (even a trip to the McDonald's to cure homesickness) they were ready and willing to do their best to get us what we were after. Even before the trip had even begun, they were attentive and were willing to talk with us face to face over video call, and chat back and forth, about any and every concern or question we had. The WCP staff truly created a safe and welcoming environment for its students. Parents - if you are unsure, trust me when I say that your children are safe in World Class Programs's hands, and they will have the time of their lives.
Our living arrangements were excellent. We had a nice comfortable and simple set up that took the stress off. The space was clean and orderly and our air conditioner was a blessed piece of machinery.
The classes were well organized and well executed. I learned so much about Japanese history and language from the staff. Not only were they well informed in our classes they were ready for any questions we had. The best part for me was that our classroom was not just a room, it was Japan. As a group we visited castles, both reconstructed and original, and explored the streets of what some would only read in a textbook. We explored and learned with very hands on techniques that helped reinforce what we were learning. When we learned Japanese language, it was never boring. We were out on the town using our language skills and learned phrases with real locals who were extraordinarily kind and helpful, in shops, and restaurants, and even just around the city. We even learned a few dialect differences between cities that were interesting and just information I would have not learned otherwise.
While the trip was academic, it did a great job of feeling like it was all fun and games. The academic to entertainment ratio was perfect. The detail and effort put into our weekend activities and trips was plain as day. We visited so many cities and even a few not listed on the webpage. As a group we shopped in the buzz of Osaka's dountonburi, experienced authentic and delicious Japanese cuisine, traveled like a local using the trains, participated in Hiroshima's emotional and beautiful peace festival to commemorate the atomic bomb drop, enjoyed the quiet and serenity of traditional Japanese gardens, we visited Nara and shared the streets with deer, saw Himeji's feudal castle and explored the grounds, visited and participated at shrines all around Japan, stayed in ryokan in the beautiful Kyoto, experienced a tea ceremony while wearing traditional Kimono, and of course spent time exploring Tokyo's streets.
I truly cannot say enough about this program. In the full three weeks I spent abroad I can honestly say that I wish that I could have stayed longer, I love japan even more now that I've experienced it through this program. The staff were amazing, and my roommates were sweet and I will miss them. By the end of the trip all of us, staff included, were one big family, without them it would not have been the same. My experience was truly, and I cannot say it enough, the best I have ever had. Literally the only bad thing about this trip, was that it eventually had to be over.
You won't regret World Class Programs. Take it from an alumni.