Imagine being Japanese for a month -- eating Japanese food, sleeping on a `futon', visiting local shrines and temples, watching Japanese TV shows, browsing the crowded shopping streets and using Japanese yen, and dressing in `yukata' and joining in the summer O-Bon folk dances.
The Labo Summer Homestay program gives US, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian students just this opportunity. Your experience in Japan will give you a second family, and a second country.
Labo's Japanese Homestay program places students age 12 - 18 from North America, New Zealand and Australia with Labo families throughout Japan who have a child of the same sex and similar age. Rather than seeing the country through the windows of a tour bus, or traveling with a group of other tourists, participants have the opportunity to explore Japan as a member of a Japanese family.
- ARRIVAL PROGRAM
- Groups are met at Narita airport near Tokyo and travel by chartered bus to a hotel in Tokyo. Labo's arrival program includes information about travel to host families, an introduction to Labo, and information about communication lines during their visit.
- Labo staff members and Interns from Australia, Canada, and the United States, as well as Labo Tutors and college students are available to provide assistance and support to exchangees throughout their month in Japan.
- Host Family Assignments
- Students may request a specific host family, as long as they are members of Labo. If that family is unable to host, or if there is no request, Labo will select an appropriate host family with a host sister or brother within two years of the age of the exchangee. If a student has other requests, such as a host with certain interests, or in a certain location, Labo will do their best to respect those requests.
Host family activities vary from family to family. Some students will still be in school so a visit to their school is likely. When school is out, activities may include visiting local scenic and historical sites, including shrines and temples, shopping, sports, going to the beach, visiting relatives in the countryside, experiencing various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and helping around the house with chores and cooking. Exchangees are expected to adapt to their host family's lifestyle and schedule. Students with private plans should probably not join this program.
- Travel to Host Families
- Families in the Tokyo area pick up their exchangees and travel by bus, train, or car to their homes. Many students travel by Bullet Train to their host homes in the Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, and northern areas. Some students fly to their host families. All ground travel is accompanied by Labo guides.
- Labo Camp
- All exchangees attend a 4-day Labo Camp with their host sister or brother. The host family decides which Labo Camp they attend, as well as which session of camp. The host family makes all camp arrangements. Travel and camp fees are included in the IN Japan Fee. Exchangees are encouraged to read about Labo Camp before going to Japan. More detailed information about camp is included in your orientation packet.
- Departure from Japan
- On the day before departure from Japan, exchangees travel to Tokyo for an overnight stay. This time is used for last-minute shopping, relaxing, and sharing experiences. Travel and Customs instructions for the trip home are also reviewed. The following day students travel by chartered bus to Narita airport for their flight home. Labo staff assist with check-in and remain at the airport until the flight departs.
- For prices and an application please contact your local exchange coordinator or the Labo office in Sacramento.
Labo's all-inclusive IN Japan Fee covers all costs in Japan except for private purchases. Covered items include: All travel in Japan, hotels and homestays, meals, shipping luggage, Narita airport fee, Labo supervision throughout the summer, and Labo Camp fees. In addition, students receive a US$30 'yen packet' when they arrive, which gives them some Japanese yen to use until they are able to get to a bank. Travel expenses to and from Japan are not included.
SCHOLARSHIPS: Labo offers partial scholarships for students who have hosted a Labo member. Full waiver of the In-Japan Fee is available to students who have hosted a Labo Year-Long High School student.
Participant of IN Japan Program 2004
My name is Andrew Lake and am 17 years old from Canberra in Australia. I found out about Labo through school and was very lucky to participate in their Home Stay Program. Everything from spending time with my host family at home, to going to school, to climbing mountains and singing and dancing around the bonfire at winter camp was just so much fun. Living with another family gave me the perfect opportunity to experience first hand what it was like to live with a foreign family and learn and discover the differences between the Western and Asian cultures and the general way of life. Of all the great experiences, the best thing about my trip was the friendships that I made. Over four weeks I met and made such good friends with so many people that there is not a day that goes past that I don’t think about someone I met.
The bonds that were formed between myself and so many others were so strong that I would have given anything in the world to not have had to return home. We will be friends forever. I had the best time of my life in Japan and returned with so many good memories that I will treasure for life. If I have the chance I will go back to Japan and get involved with Labo again.
IN Japan Homestay for North Americans
• Mid July to mid August (about 4 weeks)
Applications are due March 31 for participation in the Homestay program the following summer. Please contact your Labo Coordinator for an application.
IN Japan Homestay for Young Kiwis
IN Japan Homestay for Australian
Since 1983, over 2000 Australian youths have participated in Homestay Program IN- Japan and 900 Japanese experienced life in Australia! The dates are from mid December to the beginning of January (about 3 weeks).
For participation in the Homestay program the following Dec/Jan. Please contact your Labo Coordinator for an application.
Explore the Roots of Japanese Society
Labo camp could be one of the highlights of your trip to Japan. It is a typical Japanese-style camp, which will be a new experience for you!
The group emphasis of all aspects of life at Labo camp will give you an insight into the roots of Japanese society. You will also take part in outdoor hikes, indoor lodge activites, and a special program for US and Canadian students.
If you are unable to participate in Labo's programs through 4-H or another of Labo's exchange partners, you can still participate in Labo's programs as an independent traveler.
Please click here for a Discover Japan brochure (304k pdf/6 pages)