Program Description

2016 Participants

Jason Alexander

Colgate University

I am exceedingly grateful for the opportunity to learn in a close-knit community of 62 passionate students, energetic faculty and staff, and Hakodate’s supportive population. For newcomers to Japan and returning students alike, there was much to learn inside and outside of class—8 weeks was barely enough time to fit in all I wanted to do! Just like somehow having the energy to dance up and down to the Squid Dance hundreds of times with local students at Hakodate’s port festival, everyone’s spirit through it the busy weeks has been impressive. Thank you!

Molly Felner

University of Michigan

A rigorous program in a very beautiful location. You will be surprised at how quickly your Japanese will improve. There are many scheduled events that will give you a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and give you an opportunity to participate in fun activities. Hakodate is a great city to study in; the scenery is very beautiful and the food is fantastic. In addition, living with a host family is a great experience. I made friends I hope to keep in contact with for a long time.

Shayan Golafshani

University of Michigan

The friends I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had here at HIF have been incredible. I’ve grown a lot as a person and I’ve learned a lot of Japanese. The people of Hakodate are very kind and it’s a great place to explore the depth of your own mind in Japanese.

Carl Huang

University of Virginia

Best summer experience I have ever had. The instructors are highly professional and experienced. The classes are well-organized and intensive. For graduated students, I highly recommend using the independent study to explore your research interests in Hakodate and Hokkaido in general.

Qingya Liu

University of Michigan

Attending HIF is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. At school, all the staff members and instructors have been extremely helpful and dedicated. My fellow classmates were amazing too. But besides learning the language and gaining friendship, thanks to the different cultural events and homestay, I was able to go out of my comfort zone and experience a part of the Japanese culture that is usually not available from the media. This is definitely a summer I will forever cherish.

Genevieve Simmons

Yale University

Not only was Hakodate a beautiful city to explore and live in, the program’s pace and methodology was the perfect amount of challenging and stimulating. My host family pairing also couldn’t have been better!

Kieren Weisert

Columbia University

This was my first time out of states and I have to tell you that this is a program you need to want every day but also a program that you will grow to want every day. No diminishing returns. I walk an hour to class every day and I don’t even feel it because as previously noted by the Japan Times, this is the #1 tourist destination in Japan! So, in short, get here, eat Melon Pan, go to class, participate in everything, and squid dance your heart out!

Colton Wetzel

Elizabethtown University

I will say HIF has been the best experience of my life. It has something for everyone. I wasn’t much for doing culture classes as I lived far away, but every day I was able to meet the amazing people of Hokkaido and increase not only my Japanese skill, but my appreciation of their culture. Thank you HIF.


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

Contact Us
Transcripts for Alumni
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube