The idea of leaving your home country for another country for a few days, weeks, or months might appear exciting to most and terrifying to others. But the truth still remains that, the participants never return home the same.
In fact, most of them return home better, with more experience, improved leadership skills, improved teamwork, knowledge of the culture and language of the visited country, and in this case, Japanese, and so many others.
Japan has a lot to offer to anyone, including students, you can immerse yourself in their culture and never get exhausted. Their language is also another thing, their art schools have a lot to offer and you will be able to improve and learn it in this exchange program.
Does Japan accept foreign exchange students?
Yes, most organizations and colleges accept international exchange students from different countries in or outside Asia.
How much does it cost to be an exchange student in Japan?
The cost of studying as an exchange student in Japan depends on lots of things. High school exchange programs pay totally different fees from undergraduate and graduate exchange students.
The program will also determine the price, then the duration also matters here. There are some student exchange programs in Japan that are fully funded by scholarships, which means that participants won’t pay anything.
How to become an exchange student in Japan
To attend the Japan student exchange program you need to meet certain criteria based on your level (high school, undergraduate, or graduate). Here are some requirements to enroll in an exchange program in Japan;
- Applicants need to be in their 9th to 12th grade (for high school students).
- Applicants need to be between 15 to 18 years (high school).
- Applicants need to research to know if colleges in Japan are partnering with their universities for the exchange program
- Applicants need to be excellent in academics
Student Exchange Programs in Japan
Some colleges and organizations provide exchange programs for international students and their citizens, and we took the time to pick the best. Based on their ability to provide the right education, and fun experience needed in these programs, here is the list;
- LanguBridge Education Center – Japan Summer Programs for High School Students
- Japanese Immersion Summer Program
- The Japan Foundation – Fully Funded Exchange Program in Japan for International Students
- University of Tokyo – Student Exchange Programs
- Travel for Teens – Japan Discovery and Service
- Southern Cross Cultural Exchange
- Greenheart® Travel – Language Camp in Japan
- PUTNEY – Pre-College Tokyo
- Kyoto University – Exchange Students
- Youth for Understanding – Discover Japan
1. LanguBridge Education Center – Japan Summer Programs for High School Students
This is one of the student exchange programs in Japan that is open to high school and middle students of age 14 to 18 years old. It operates the same method summer camping does, while students will be immersed in trips, diverse activities, Japan culture, and will be able to stay at the warm-hearted home of the host family.
There will be language and cultural classes, to enable students to learn more about the Japanese language and culture, and their classes are divided into beginner and intermediate. Because this program is a mixed age group, there will be limited supervision in the program, therefore students are allowed to be independent, and they are even allowed to explore the city on their own.
The price for the program depends on the duration, therefore the longer you choose to stay the more money you will pay, the cost ranges from USD 3145 to USD 6545. The exchange program usually starts on the 1st of July of every year and ends on the third week of August (depending on your option).
2. Japanese Immersion Summer Program
This is another student exchange program in Japan that is meant to educate and improve the world experience of high school students. This program also enables the participants to immerse themselves in the culture, lifestyle, history, fine art, cuisine, and philosophy of the Japanese.
Students will receive a first-hand experience of the land of the rising sun. The program will last for 1 to 4 weeks, and students will also be able to walk the torii gates in Kyoto, learn about Japan’s animation and manga, meet new Japanese people, and also interact with other students from other countries.
3. The Japan Foundation – Fully Funded Exchange Program in Japan for International Students
Just like the name, this is one of the few student exchange programs in Japan that is completely free. Their goal is to educate students in three major categories which are; Japanese-Language Education Overseas, Japanese Studies & Intellectual Exchange, and Strengthening Cultural Exchange in Asia.
If you are an international student that chooses to apply, you need to check for the specified submission office to submit your application, because it is not allowed to submit your application through email or fax.
4. University of Tokyo – Student Exchange Programs
This university offers student exchange programs of varying lengths at both University-wide and Faculty/Graduate School levels. Their university-wide exchange program accepts students from partner universities, and these students can choose between the Type U and Type G programs.
The difference is just that, type U is for undergraduates, whereas type G is for Graduates. So the University of Tokyo is one of the few colleges that offer exchange programs in Japan for graduates.
5. Travel for Teens – Japan Discovery and Service
Travel for Teens is a youth travel organization that has won lots of awards for helping teenagers to explore and learn a lot from different parts of the world. Their trip to Japan will be fun-packed and educational as well, students will be able to visit the rice fields, and the evocative sites of Hiroshima, and even participate in a little art of karate.
Students will also enjoy different Japanese meals like sushi and also visit the world-famous Shibuya crossing, the peaceful temples of Kyoto, and even Mt. Fuji. You see why TFT has won lots of awards, you’ll be immersed in first-hand experiences, it won’t be movies, or what you have heard again.
The cost for this student exchange program is $7145 + $600 Rail Pass + Airfare. The program is for high school students in their 9th to 12th grade, international students are accepted, and the program will last for 17 days.
6. Southern Cross Cultural Exchange
This is one of the student exchange programs in Japan that allows students to become one of the locals and enjoy the culture and lifestyle of the Japanese. Most of the past exchange students in Japan have reportedly said that the Japanese people exhibited enough gentle character towards their few stay in their country.
However, this is not like most student exchange programs, students need to have been studying Japanese for at least 2 years in order to be considered for the program.
The duration of the program is categorized into 4 groups;
- An Academic Year (Departing in April) – $13,450
- An Academic Semester (Departing in April or September) – $11,950
- 3-Months (Departing in Late October) – $9,450
- 2-Months (Departing in Late November) – $8,750
7. Greenheart® Travel – Language Camp in Japan
Just like the name, this exchange program is majorly focused on helping you improve your language, but that doesn’t mean you won’t participate in other activities, you will also be able to explore different places, enjoy their cuisine, and make new friends.
8. PUTNEY – Pre-College Tokyo
Of course, this student exchange program in Japan is for high school students, where they will increase their knowledge through field-based seminars, and elective workshops. These students will also be able to build relationships with other students from around the world.
The program is for students from grades 9 to 12, also Motivated rising 9th graders will be considered. It will last for 23 days, and the fee for it varies.
9. Kyoto University – Exchange Students
This is one of the Japanese student exchange programs that offer two incoming exchange programs; one semester (6 months) or two (12 months) in Kyoto. These participants have to be accepting students from institutions with a university-level exchange agreement.
That means, to participate in this exchange program, at Kyoto University, you have to apply through your host university (which is partnering with Kyoto University).
There are two categories for applying;
- Kyoto University International Education Program (KUINEP)
- Kyoto University General Exchange (GE) Program (enrollment status: GEA or GESR)
10. Youth for Understanding – Discover Japan
This is a 6-week student exchange program in Japan that allows the participants to stay with their host family and attend a local high school in Japan. Students will also be able to attend other occasions like traditional tea ceremonies, participate in Martial arts, and Visit Local Summer Festivals.
The beauty of this program is that more than 150 students receive either a fully-funded or partial scholarship to travel and learn in Japan. There will also be a 3-day mandatory pre-departure orientation, and it will take place immediately prior to the departure date.
The importance of student exchange programs in Japan cannot be overemphasized, there are lots and lots to learn in this short program. Whether it’s their language, their culture, their lifestyle, their food, their martial art, their history, and so many other things.
Student Exchange Programs in Japan – FAQs
How old do you have to be to be an exchange student in Japan?
If you’re applying for this program as a high school student, then you have to be between 15 to 18 years old, and the age of undergraduates or graduates applying depends on their host college.