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States' 4-H is now offering opportunities for American high school students to spend an Academic year abroad in Japan. This is a perfect opportunity for American youth who want to learn more about Japan through a year-long immersion experience.

Students are placed with a Japanese host family and have the opportunity to attend Japanese school while experiencing every-day life with their hosts. The program runs from mid-August to mid-June and includes:

• Placement with a host family and school in Japan
• In-Japan and In-USA support staff for the duration of the program
• Pre-departure orientation
• Ground transportation in Japan between airport and host family’s home
• Arrival Orientation
• Mid-term gathering
• Accident & Sickness Insurance

States’ 4-H International coordinates this exchange in partnership with a Japanese organization called LEX/Hippo Family Club. To be eligible to participate in the program, students must be 15-18 years old and be current high school students (high school grads are ineligible). Prior study of Japanese language is helpful, but not required.

Here is a glimpse into the school life of our 2015-2016 student: Karina is a student of Mita High School in Minato, Tokyo (near Tokyo Tower). She is currently a member of the “sado” (Japanese Tea Ceremony) club and is taking “kyudo” (Japanese archery) lessons three days a week after school. Her coursework includes math, chemistry, biology, world history, geography, classics, “shodo” (Japanese calligraphy) health, English, and Japanese classes (both group classes and one-on-one). According to Karina,

“the best part about Japanese high school is that everyone is friendly and very welcoming. It’s nice to know that people in my class or grade will help me if I am confused.”

Basic Timeline:

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December 5 Inquiry Form due to States' 4-H
January 15 Application deadline with application fee
March 1 (estimated) Remaining balance of program fee and airfare payment due
Mid August Depart for Japan
Mid August-Mid June Study in Japan and live with Host Family
Mid June Return to USA