Japan Empowerment Program (Summer)

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About Program

Every year GPI US sends over 100 participants to various locations throughout Japan. While in Japan our participants serve as group leaders at various high schools and educational institutions to help Japanese students better understand self-empowerment, critical thinking, and English communication.
Each week is spent in a different location and sometimes prefecture. In each location, the group leaders stay with a Japanese host family or in a hotel and spend the week (Monday to Friday) at the participating school. The program is directed by facilitators who work in conjunction with the group leaders to create a positive environment for Japanese students to engage with the various empowerment themes and lessons included in the curriculum.
Our group leaders come away from the program having connected with their peers on the other side of the globe and making a huge impact not only on the students' lives but also their own.

Program Highlights
  • See Japan while giving back to the communities you visit through volunteering
  • Empower Japanese high school students and be empowered yourself
  • Experience a Host Family half way across the world and make new bonds
  • Discover Japan through the perspective of not just a tourist but also the friends you make along the way and the families who take care of you
  • Gain valuable experience in cross-cultural communication and strengthen your foundation as you prepare to enter to look for your next endeavor

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Program Reviews

10 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Benefits 9.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.5
  • Facilities 9.8
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
Default avatar
Noah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Program!

The Japan Empowerment Program is a fantastic way to see Japan! Honestly, my main incentive for applying was to get a free trip to Japan in return for the work we would be doing. However, after completing the program I can honestly say that the work was the best part! You are there to empower students, but seeing how much each and every student is able to grow towards their best selves over the course of just a five day session is truly awe inspiring. While the program has an intense schedule, and I was quite exhausted by the end of the time there, all the challenges were well worth it! GPI US and ISA staff were extremely helpful throughout the entire program and really helped me begin to understand Japanese hospitality and work culture. On the whole, this is a great program that I would highly recommend to any one interested in Japan or the fields of teaching and education.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be prepared to sweat a lot! Japan in the summer is unbelievably hot and humid, and you will be outside more than people usually are in the USA. That said, many places I was in (although definitely not all) did have AC, which provided some respite from the heat. Sweating is also a great excuse to try Japan's sports drink, Pocari Sweat!
6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Just do it!

This was an amazing experience -- many people go to Japan every year. Going with a homestay program like this one exposes you to so much more than you can see alone. You may participate in tea ceremonies, try on kimonos at local festivals, participate in taiko and traditional dance classes, and learn local histories. Even better, there's a new homestay and new city every week, which keeps things exciting and fresh and exposes you to even more, from Tokyo and Osaka to Yokohama and Kumamoto. You'll live and learn surrounded by Japanese culture. You'll make many friends among the other international student leaders, and you'll enjoy teaching the local Japanese students English.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Trust your homestay families to make the experience amazing, and as often as you can, say yes to new experiences (and yes to taking care of yourself - don't tire yourself out early!).
6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Aaron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I can't imagine my life in Japan without the JEP.

First things first, I participated in the Empowerment Program as a Japan-based international student who directly worked with the interns from the US and other international students in Japan. I regularly joined the Japan Empowerment Program each summer and winter. I started out as an Activity Leader/ Group Discussion Lead. As such, I lead small groups of 4 to 5 high school students of the client school and worked with the Program Facilitator and the ISA staff. After just one year, I assumed the position of Empowerment (EMP) Facilitator.

Throughout those five years, each EMP left an incredible memory or experience that I still cherish even now that I am not based in Japan anymore. I met wonderful people - ISA staff, GPI-US interns, facilitators, Japanese teachers of the client schools, ALTs, and best of all, cute Japanese students. They're really cute like kids.

If you're up for experiential learning, friendship, and cultural appreciation, please join this program. By the way, I put 9/10 for fun not because it was "just close to fun" but only because I want you to discover this missing tenth for yourself. Sure, there's an iota of challenge in a few programs... This is also pretty normal in every program where diversity is deemed part of the learning process. How do you deal with cross-cultural understanding if there's no hint of difference? What matters is our focus on building friendship, learning, and understanding.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be nice to see innovative methods applied in some programs. I guess this requires tremendous collaboration between the client school and the company. The company has conducted significant steps over the years.
5 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach in Japan

I am so glad I decided to do the Empowerment Progam! In the program you travel between different cities each week for one month. I was lucky to be able to stay with such kind and heart warming host families during my stay. (To this day I still keep in contact often with them). The families go out of their way to make the week you stay with them so special. In addition, on the weekends they take you to Japan's tourist sites and local delicacies. GPI US inc takes very good care of their instructors, and provides (airfare, accomodation, travel, food, and a stipend). Going on this trip made me realize how much I enjoy teaching high school students, and how lovely of a country Japan is. If I could, I would 100% go back with this program!

6 people found this review helpful.

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