I've participated in World Campus 3 times now, in 2014, 2016, and 2018. I really can't overstate how meaningful of an experience my time with World Campus has been.
When I first signed up for World Campus, I was only 18, and I had never even been on a plane by myself before, let alone left the country solo. I was excited, but I was also incredibly nervous. Would I make friends? Would I be safe? Would I get along with my host families? As soon as I arrived at the airport in Japan, I knew I would have nothing to worry about. Hiro greeted me warmly after walking me through every step of the traveling process, and as soon as I met my host family they treated me like I was one of their own children. All of the other participants were immediately warm and welcoming to me, and I realized that I had no reason to feel shy. I, an American, immediately made lifelong friends from places like Norway, Poland, Denmark, Canada, China, Sweden, and the UK.
The close bonds I made that first year have lasted and remained just as strong as they were when we met. I am so close to the host families that I stayed with during World Campus that when I returned to Japan for a year long study abroad in college, I spent the New Year's holidays at their home, welcomed in as part of their family. The kindness and bond I felt from my host families is like nothing I have ever felt before; it truly feels like family to me. Even with my imperfect Japanese, we stay in communication even now.
The cultural experiences World Campus hosted allowed me to make friends with Japanese people my age, as well as become close to members of the local community. I got to try things like traditional taiko drums, naginata, making sushi, and going to fireworks festivals. These are things I could never have tried at home, or even going to Japan as a tourist. That's the best part of World Campus to me; you're not just a tourist seeing Tokyo, you're experiencing Japanese culture and daily life the way the Japanese do, as well as being part of a family.
No matter if you can speak Japanese or not, and even if you've never been abroad before, I would recommend World Campus to everybody. It's a truly incredible program that has changed my life and the lives of other young participants, and I wouldn't trade my memories of it for the world.