Become One of the Family
During their time in Tokyo, students live with a Japanese host family. This allows them to learn about Japanese society through immersion in the most basic social grouping in any culture: the family. Students improve their language skills, discuss current events, participate in holiday gatherings, and enjoy everyday activities with their host families. It is not uncommon for students to keep in touch with their host families after leaving Japan. Indeed, some alumni are still close with their Japanese families decades later, inviting them to their weddings and introducing them to their children.
Each host family is unique. Students have lived with small children, retired couples, large extended families, or just a single person. Homes may be old and traditional or modern and Western. Some host families speak fluent English, and some know only basic words and phrases. Learning to adapt and be flexible is an integral part of the experience abroad, and most students consider their home stay to be one of the highlights of their time in Japan.
Students are interviewed upon arriving in Japan and matched with the host family that best suits their lifestyle and expectations. Families furnish breakfast and dinner, and students typically have private rooms. In special circumstances, alternative living arrangements are allowed. Arrangements must be proposed during orientation and approved by the Resident Director and Program Coordinator in Japan. Contact our office for more details.
Japan Study provides train passes with enough money to cover most travel expenses during orientation. Additionally, students are reimbursed for the cost of commuting to Waseda during the school year. Students commute to campus in a variety of ways (train, bus, bike, foot) depending on where their host family lives. The average commute to Waseda is about an hour, but can be as little as fifteen minutes or as long as an hour and a half.
Students have the opportunity to travel during school breaks. Because of Japan's extensive public transportation system, getting around is simple and affordable, especially with student discounts. Many students use their vacation time to explore Japan and have visited places such as Kyoto, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Osaka, and Okinawa. Some students also elect to visit nearby countries (e.g. Korea, China), and it's not uncommon for groups of Japan Study students to travel together.