The most common question is simply, "What is this all about?"
We are both a student exchange program and a summer activity all wrapped into one program. While each student hosts a visiting Japanese student at their home during the 2.5 weeks of the program, both the visiting student and the host student attend our programs at Pierce Middle School in Milton (separate boys and girls program) free of charge. The program is for American students ages 8-18.
What is hosting? Hosting is welcoming a visiting Japanese student into your home for 2.5 weeks. Give them a place to sleep and make them part of the family. They want to learn about life in America and practice their English skills. They also want to tell you about their country and fascinating culture.
What is the program like? In the program, we are on campus in the morning and we go on a field trip most afternoons. In the morning, the students are separate, as the American host students will be taking part in fun, hands-on workshops to learn more about Japan and Japanese culture. At the same time, the Japanese students are taking English class. Then, they get together for lunch and go on a field trip together to places like the MFA, Fenway Park, Freedom Trail, Plimoth Plantation, Harvard Square, Bowling, Movies, etc.
Who can host? Anyone with a spare bed (you can recommend neighbors and friends to also host). You do not need to be just from Milton or surrounding towns, as we have people participate from all over the Greater Boston area.
Do we need to give the students their own bedroom? No, most students expect to share a room. It is up to you, depending on your situation.
When do we pick-up and drop off our students each day? Students should arrive at the program location at 8:45AM and will be ready to be picked up no later than 4:00PM each day. Carpooling with other students is encouraged (we can help you find a carpool).
Do the visiting students speak English? Yes, but they will be a little shy at first. They have all been studying English for over 5 years, so they understand a lot. They will get better with practice.
Do they need special food? No, many Japanese are quite used to “Western” style food. They may offer to cook a meal for your family.
Do host families need children of similar age as the visiting student? No – younger children especially seem to communicate well with the visitors. We have found that it is a rewarding experience for children (and parents) of all ages.
Do host parents need to be around in the daytime? No – the children are occupied from 9:00AM – 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Remember, this is free for all families who host a Japanese student. In return host parents are responsible to transport the students to and from Explore Japan each day.
What about evenings and weekends? There will be a farewell party on one of the evenings. Otherwise, use your imagination and show them the American way of life! The point is not to spoil them, but to show them what everyday life is like in your household.
Will somebody come to meet our family before the program begins? During the application process our staff will visit your home to meet your family and answer any questions you might have about the program. We will then see you during our June orientation event. At that time you will be able to meet other families who have participated or will participate that summer.
If our Japanese student has health or communication problems, what should we do? We will provide you with a list of phone numbers which will be available 24 hours per day with bi-lingual help. The students come fully insured for health or other related problems. Our director and their chaperone will work with the family to take care of any health related issues.
Can we just participate in the program without hosting? Sorry, we have limited slots available, so we cannot accommodate anyone else in this FREE program unless they are a host.
Can I send two of my children to the program and host two?
YES! If you host two students they must be the same gender. However if you have a son and daughter who both want to attend the program, you may still be able host two students; we need to discuss if it would be appropriate with age and gender.
If two of your children are interested in participating and you are able to host only one Japanese visitor, there is a minor tuition fee for one child. Please note though that space is limited for non-hosting children.
Do you have more questions? Our experienced staff loves to talk about Explore Japan! Email us and we'll respond right away.