Youth For Understanding USA
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What kind of exchange experience do you want?
I want to spend a all program lengths  studying in Japan, or maybe all regions. And I'm looking for something with a traditional exchange  and I definitely want to show off my need for  any language skills. Can I go whenever?
  • All around the world.

    all regions
    Africa & Middle East
    Asia & Pacific
    Eastern Europe
    Latin America
    Scandinavian Countries
    Western Europe
    North America
  • Pick a place, any place.

    Say what?

    Any language requirements?

     Any  Yes  No
  • What I'm into.

    a traditional exchange
    a gap year option
    college & university programs
    language classes
    a connection to the Arts
    sports & outdoors
    a volunteer program
  • How long I want to go.

    All program lengths

    When can I leave?

    May to September
    December to March
Show me my options >


Scholarships Available

64 - Chevron Culture and Travel Prog...
7 - Epson America, Inc. Internationa...
385 - Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Stud...
266 - Japan Business Society of Detr...
254 - Japan-America Friendship Schol...
97 - Japan-US Senate Youth Exchange ...
304 - Kikkoman National Scholarship
44 - Kikkoman/FCCLA Scholarship
262 - Kikkoman/Folsom, CA
33 - Kikkoman/Walworth County, WI
360 - Mazda Canada Inc.
146 - Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. ...
257 - Okinawa Peace Scholarship Prog...
251 - Sony Corporation of America Sc...
368 - YFU Community Grant
384 - YFU Financial Aid Fund
Show All

Age Requirement

2019 January term: April 2, 2001 to April 1, 2003. All other programs: April 2, 2002 and April 1, 2004. Students applying for the summer program who do not meet this age requirement will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis. Students applying for a semester or year program who will graduate from high school before the start of their program will not be considered for admission.


Japanese. Previous language study is not required. A Japanese correspondence course is included in program tuition for long-term program participants.

Host Family Placement

Students to Japan may be placed with a host family anywhere in the country, including the Okinawa Islands, in either a rural or suburban setting. Students are usually not placed in large urban centers.


The Japanese school year begins in April. School hours are generally weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m. and half-days on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Many high school students participate in after-school clubs, sports, and other activities. YFU exchange students are placed in 10th or 11th grade.

East and West. Tradition and innovation. Industry and family. Shinkansen (bullet train) and tatami (straw mats). As a YFU student in Japan, you'll discover a land of contrasts.
Learn more about Japan.

Summer Program: Discover Japan

Japan comes to life when you arrive for your six-week stay with your host family and attend a local Japanese high school. Attending traditional tea ceremonies, practicing martial arts, and visiting local summer festivals are just some of the activities that YFU students to Japan may experience during their exchange. School is in session during our summer program in Japan, so students will attend classes at their host high schools. Students have the opportunity to attend and audit classes but are not officially enrolled in the school during their stay in Japan, so students will not receive report cards or evaluations of their performance.


Orientation: All students applying for a summer program must be available for a mandatory 3-day Japan Pre-Departure Orientation, which takes place immediately prior to the departure date. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for experience overseas. All students will participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May or June, and an arrival orientation in Tokyo. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.


Scholarships: Over 150 YFU students studied in Japan last summer on full and partial scholarships! To find out more about scholarship opportunities, please visit our scholarships page.


Tentative 2019 Summer Program Dates:

All programs except Japan-America Friendship Scholarship (JAFS) program: June 25 - August 9

Japan America Friendship Scholarship (JAFS) program only: June 29 - August 13


January Term Program

Explore Japan during the winter months with this unique YFU program option. Students participating in the January term program will live with a volunteer host family, attend a local high school, and get to know Japanese culture and customs through daily life in their community. 



Academic Year and Semester Programs

School: Students will typically be placed in the first or second year at a Japanese high school. Most schools are quite large, averaging 500 to 1,000 students.  You will likely study subjects like Japanese classics or contemporary Japanese language and you may also attend elective classes that include subjects such as art and calligraphy. You can choose to attend club activities after school such as karate or judo. 

Japanese schools are generally conservative and therefore the dress code in Japan may be stricter than you are used to. In Japanese schools, students do not have unnaturally dyed hair or eccentric hair styles. Piercings, earrings, necklaces and rings are not allowed in schools. Students cannot wear makeup, perfume, or have visible tattoos. Female students cannot wear skirts above the knees or high heels. Male students should not have a beard or long hair. Schools in Japan almost always require uniforms. The cost of a school uniform is included in the program tuition. 


Orientations: All students applying for the semester or year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation, which usually takes place in mid-July or early December. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas. All students will participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May/June or during the winter for spring departures. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.



Tuition Includes

-Placement with a carefully selected host family
-Enrollment in a local Japanese high school
-Airport transfers
-Domestic and international travel
-All pre-departure and post arrival orientations
-Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
-Support from a YFU Japan Area Representative while on program
-Comprehensive insurance


Additional Information

Visa Information: Information regarding visas and other immigration processes will be provided upon enrollment. 


Additional Costs: Students are responsible for paying any school fees (including books, transportation, and optional school trips), as well as all fees related to obtaining visas. Program tuition does not include personal spending money.


Important Information:

Due to cultural differences, local customs, and school regulations, vegetarians, vegans, students with strict dietary requirements, homeschooled students, and students who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have not been successfully placed in the Japan program. Please note, Japanese schools typically will not allow students to bring any sort of medication into the school. Please check the Japanese Embassy website for more information regarding this topic. Smoking in Japan is illegal for those under the age of 20. Violating this, or any Japan law, may be terms for immediate dismissal from the program.


Students to Japan may be placed with a host family anywhere in the country, including the Okinawa Islands, in either a rural or suburban setting. Students are normally not placed in large urban centers, but often are placed in small towns, where they have an opportunity to become an integral part of their host communities!



Programs Code Departure Return Full Tuition
Spring Year


mid March

early January

Fall Semester
Spring Semester


late August
mid March

early January
early August

January Term

1615 *

mid January

mid February



late June

mid August


* Programs also available to graduates