Summer 2024
June 6 – August 4

Online Information Session

We invite you to attend any of our upcoming information sessions to learn more about the 38th Japanese Language and Japanese Culture Program in Summer 2024. A zoom link will be sent to those who have registered. Each session will cover the same content.

Click here to register for our upcoming Online Information Sessions.

Date & Time (EST) Target Language
#1 Sunday, January 14, 2024 8PM-9PM Everyone including students
& faculty members
(& Japanese)
#2 Thursday, January 25, 2024

<Tentative Schedule>

  • 8:00-8:30 Explanation by HIF faculty & staff members
  • 8:30-8:45 Q&A session (public)
  • 8:45-9:00 Q&A session (individual)

Message from the Director General

The mission of the Hokkaido International Foundation is “multicultural mutualism (多文化共生)”. HIF has been offering diverse programs, such as homestay programs, cross-cultural understanding activities, and services to NPO’s, NGO’s, and other volunteer groups or individuals, that provide an exciting framework for promoting mutual understanding among local and foreign people. HIF also actively undertakes various operations including job assistance, independence support, and information distribution.

One of the two main homestay programs is “The International Cultural Exchange Program (国際交流のつどい)”, which led to the inauguration of HIF. It started in 1979 when sixteen American students came to Nanae-cho (a town adjacent to Hakodate) and lived together with Japanese families. That homestay was the first of its kind, and sparked the development of cultural exchange between regional communities and international students in Japan. The International Cultural Exchange Program is targeted at foreign students who already live in a dormitory or an apartment in other areas of Japan who want to experience real Japanese life with host families.

The other homestay program is “The Japanese Language and Japanese Culture Program (日本語日本文化講座夏期セミナー)”. HIF launched this eight-week summer program for foreign students in 1986. It is an academic program consisting of intensive Japanese classes together with cultural activities and exchanges with local people outside of the classroom that allow students to practice their Japanese in authentic settings. Students have numerous opportunities to learn from talented teachers, host families and local people. The contact students make through their Independent Study provides them with a deeper understanding of Japanese culture that remains for the rest of their lives.

This Japanese Language and Japanese Culture Program has a long history thanks to the cooperation of various people and organizations, including host families, local people in Hakodate, teachers, universities around the world, among others. We believe that these programs have had a positive impact on the Hakodate community over the years. That cannot be done without HIF students. As an ambassador of your family, university, and country, we hope that you demonstrate your talents fully and leave a positive influence on others. Also, please appreciate every opportunity you encounter during your stay in Hakodate and take full advantage of the program. We hope that you enjoy many face-to-face interactions with your host family and friends, build life-long relationships, and make wonderful memories of the summer.

HIF is located on a hill overlooking the beautiful Hakodate harbor. It is surrounded by a peaceful environment that contains historic buildings representing Buddhism, Shintoism, and Christianity.

Thank you for your interest in HIF. Please join us in the summer of 2024 and contribute as a member of our communities.

Hakodate, Hokkaido

Japan's northeastern island, Hokkaido, was sparsely populated until the early 19th century when Japanese people from all parts of the country came to settle the land and create the Hokkaido we know today. Whereas Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and other areas of Japan are known for their intense summer heat and humidity, the summers in Hokkaido are relatively cool and pleasant.

Hakodate is located in southern Hokkaido. Hakodate is a small, quiet, rural town, with a population of about 250,000. Hakodate was one of the two Japanese ports opened by Commodore Perry when he visited Japan in 1854. At that time, Hakodate led Japan's progress towards modernization. The night view of the town from Mt. Hakodate is considered one of the most spectacular in the world.
Between 2009 and 2023, Hakodate has been ranked Japan’s most attractive tourist destination six times (The Local Brand Survey).


Comments from Alumni

  • Name:
    Michelle Bechtel
    Colby College
    Michelle Bechtel photo

    I applied to HIF on a whim, not knowing what to expect. Now that I have completed the program, it's safe to say that applying was one of the best decisions ... more

  • Name:
    Kerra Hinrichs
    University of Michigan
    Kerra Hinrichs photo

    HIF was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. I came into the program with the goal of improving my Japanese, and I certainly achieved that ... more

  • Name:
    Hector Melesio
    Franklin & Marshall
    Hector Melesio photo

    For my first time traveling abroad, I do not think I could have picked a better place to be than Hakodate as an HIF student. Whether it be inside the ... more

  • Name:
    Owen Pietsch
    Swarthmore College
    Owen Pietsch photo

    Eight weeks felt like a very short time to spend at HIF. Our teachers and the staff encouraged us to make the most of our time in Hakodate ... more

  • Name:
    Xingruo Sun
    Colby College
    Xingruo Sun photo

    The summer at HIF has been wonderful for me! I'm so glad that I was able to improve my Japanese so much and met so many wonderful instructors ... more

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Transcripts for Alumni
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