Hey everyone! I was really lucky to be able to participate in an awesome program over the summer in Japan for almost nothing, and it got me really pumped about what other opportunities might be out there for people
I feel like there's a lot of great programs that people don't know about, and I would really like to hear about what people have done/what I might be able to do someday. And I wish that more people knew about the program that I did.
The program actually goes under the name USA Summer Camp (however you can still participate if you’re not American as long as you can get a visa waiver from your country) but I sttill I like calling it Guy Healy haha. The main draw is that doing this program only costs $150 USD, including airfare, food, housing, transportation, etc. and I was able to do this for 7 weeks in the summer. So honestly even for someone not super passionate about traveling to Japan, you won't have to pay for rent, groceries, etc. for a couple of months.
The basic set up is that you spend the summer doing camps of 3-days each with Japanese school kids (I was only with middle and high school students, but others did elementary camps as well) that focus on having them use practical English, in everyday situations. So this isn’t really teaching English, it’s engaging with them and allowing them to practice. There are structured activities, such as making a play with them and helping them to prepare a speech about themselves, but otherwise you spend time eating, playing games, and just talking with them.
You also get plenty of days off. There are teams in Tokyo and Fukuoka. For me I was in the Tokyo team, but all of our camps took place in the Kanto and Chubu area, However for every off day they would bus us back to stay in a hostel right in Tokyo. I’m not as familiar with the Fukuoka teams. Also for off days they give you some money to cover food. Of course if you want to travel on your days off or shop you have to fund that yourself. There’s also “prep days,” where you’re at the facility where you’ll be doing camp (each camp was at a new facility so you get to see a lot of places) and you get ready for the kids, but most of the day you can just explore the area.
You also have the option of staying with a Japanese host family for a few days as well.
The accommodations range from luxury hotels, camp sites, Ryokans, nature facilities etc. So you get to experience both high end and more homey places.
I have to say too that I really liked my fellow camp counselors, I really liked all of them and I ended up making some lifelong friends (there’s always people who start dating from this program or hook up too, they used to have a rule against this but I guess not anymore!).
The amount of time that you spend in Japan depends on your team, as well as your needs. If you get into the program they’ll ask if there is a date that you need to get back by. The past few years it’s started on July 1st, and gone from 5 ½ to 8 weeks. Part of it is luck of the draw too.
One thing to note though is that during camp days you are not allowed to speak Japanese or tell the kids that you know any Japanese. If they ask you, even if you do you have to lie and say “I know no Japanese,” and if you understand what they’re saying in Japanese you need to pretend that you don’t so that they’ll use English. With your host family or on prep/off days though you can practice your Japanese as you please! Plus my listening got pretty good from eavesdropping on the kids.
Qualifications aren’t too strict, you need to be at least 18 and in a country that has a visa waiver program with Japan. Certain things help though like experience working with children, wanting to go into education/English related jobs, etc. This is a competitive program.
There’s instruction here on the application process: http://www.guyhealyjapan.com/#!applications/c15xr In short there’s a list of questions to fill out via e-mail, it’s fairly short. You’d also need two references to be e-mailed to them as well. For Summer 2016 it’s due on January 20th, so you would still have time to do all of this. Otherwise there’s always next year!
If you have any questions feel free to message me! I’d be happy to tell more about my experience or give advice about applying. ^^
Just to be clear I am not sponsored by anyone, nor am i required to do this. I just want to get the word out about them and encourage people to apply for it.
So yeah! What programs you you all know of?