Program Description

2019 Participants

Emily Branam

Swarthmore College

This program for me was about self discovery more than anything. I was given the opportunity to know what I’m like without the confidence of my native language backing me up. When that happens, you realize there’s so much you can say without saying anything at all. While learning Japanese through this program and being immersed with my host family, I not only learned about Japan and Japanese culture but also myself. I would absolutely recommend it to any language student!

Ismail Can

Swarthmore College

Throughout my time at HIF, I feel that I made many wonderful memories, whether that be with my fellow classmates, my professors, or my host family. Struggling everyday to speak Japanese as often as I could, I slowly noticed myself improving my writing, speaking and listening abilities. Overall, I am glad that I was able to attend this program and make so many wonderful friends along with experiencing what it is like to live in Japan.

Dabbour, Jawad

Franklin & Marshall College

HIF was one of the most incredible experiences ever. Being immersed in a homestay in Japan, alongside other students and a staff willing to help you, it really helps to change your mindset to one that thinks in Japanese and truly helps to make you better at not just the Japanese language, but the various unique cultural differences and traditions that happen in Japan that makes for an even more amazing experience.

Ernestina Hsieh

Yale University

I feel so lucky to be here. From the fluidity of transportation from home to school or culture classes to the involvement of HIF students in marching in the annual Minato Matsuri, each aspect of HIF is intimately thought out with students' experience in mind. In a matter of weeks, I became wholly immersed in another family's life, sharing meals, singing in the car during long drives, and going to their kids' school festivals. Through home stay, classes, and exploration with friends, doing HIF gave me the opportunity to embrace another culture's traditions and language.

Plearn Janvatanavit

Wesleyan University

At HIF, I was able to not only improve my Japanese, but gain a better understanding of the culture. I am so grateful to be able to live with such a kind and considerate host family, meet friends who share the same passion and explore this beautiful city. In this program, there is always something fun to try and I feel very safe under the care of my teacher and the staff members.

Keanna Lundy

University of Denver

The HIF program has exceeded all my expectations and has become one of my most valued experiences. It provided the opportunity to be immersed in the local culture while being challenging academically. The time I spent with my host families and new friends was especially meaningful to me. I doubt I could have met the people that I did without HIF. The relationships and memories I made in Hakodate have become irreplaceable.

Randy Tran

University of Washington

HIF gives you the tools, resources, and support to help you not just succeed, but to exceed! There are plenty of opportunities to go above and beyond in your studies, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself and appreciate the culture around you. Spending time with your host family, going out making Mochi with your peers, singing your heart out at a local Karaoke place after receiving a bad grade, they truly set you up to have a memorable experience here in Hokkaido! So look forward to embracing the challenges and partaking in a new community.

Michelle Wan

Emory University

HIF has been a great experience for me. The program provides you with lots of opportunities to get involved with the community and try various cultural activities. The class pace is fast but very achievable. The teachers and staff are also always there for you and do their best to make sure you have the best experience possible. My favorite part of my time in Japan has been the new relationships I’ve formed. My host family has been so patient and kind towards me. They’ve gone above and beyond for me, taking me to various places and introducing me to new foods. I’ve also made amazing new friends. The other students are all very encouraging and supportive of each other as we all strive to improve our Japanese.

Yiyang Zhong

University of Washington

The HIF program is wonderful in respect of not only improving your Japanese language skills, but also on your understanding Japanese culture as a whole. It provides you chance to talk to local Japanese people (host family) and makes you feel more comfortable talking with Japanese users. It was an incredibly awesome experience to me and I recommend this program to students of any level of Japanese with willingness to learn more about Japanese culture.


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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