World Campus - Japan Program

Video and Photos

Playing igo with host family member
Playing igo with host family member
Going down the river
Going down the river
Day out with host familie
Day out with host familie
Sports and fun
Sports and fun
Group events
Group events
Culture
Culture
Learning and contact with locals
Learning and contact with locals
Group visiting an old samurai house
Group visiting an old samurai house

About

World Campus International, Inc. offers you an opportunity to take part in short-term, non-traditional study abroad programs in Japan. You can choose to sign up for 3 weeks or 6 weeks programs. Participants will have the unique chance to gain international experience as well as increase their personal and professional networks, all while enjoying the backdrop of Japanese culture, daily life and business through various activities.

What does having this kind of "unique access to Japan" mean?
1) A great chance to see Japanese cultural sites, eat delicious food and learn about Japanese traditions.
2) An opportunity to experience an authentic Japanese lifestyle by staying with host families.
3) A way to learn about modern Japan through interacting with local politicians, business people and teachers.
4) An opportunity to share your culture and volunteer your talents in activities with ordinary Japanese citizens, school children, disabled people and the elderly.

Questions & Answers

The answer is no BUT before you actually participate you think it is not possible to go along with or to engage in a conversation with a person/ family which speaks Japanese only. Actually, at WCI you are trained how to fit into all environments whether you know how to speak their language or not.

Reviews

9.86 Rating
based on 43 reviews
  • Academics 8.9
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.8
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 43
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Paul George
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Experience of My Life

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

Best experience of my life

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

Worth more than being a tourist?

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

A Truly Life Changing Experience

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

Best Way to Spend a Summer

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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Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Trip of My Life

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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Adriana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience Japan as a local

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.
Henry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Real Japan

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