NP:J FAQs

Can't seem to find what you're looking for? Have a look at the broadest frequently asked questions below, or try using the table of contents on the right of this page if your query concerns one of those corresponding categories.

What is the role of the lead teacher?

The New Perspectives: Japan (NP:J) lead teacher serves as the liaison between Laurasian Institution and his or her student participants. In most cases, all communication and correspondence to students will be distributed through the lead teacher. The lead teacher is the school group’s NP:J representative.

The preparation that the lead teacher and additional chaperone(s) engage students in before departing will make the chaperone role less demanding when the group is in Japan. Preparing students to behave responsibly and display cultural sensitivity will be an important process to begin long before leaving for Japan. During the homestay portion of the study tour, lead teachers, chaperones, and students will each stay with a Japanese family and attend the same Japanese middle or high school. In most cases, participants will travel to school with a member of their host family. In addition to preparing students for cultural interactions, the lead teacher will also work with students to customize “study days” that correlate the destinations in Japan to the group’s chosen study theme.

Can graduated seniors or college students participate?

Students who have graduated from the 12th grade at the time of the NP:J trip in addition to college freshmen are welcome to participate. In the past, NP:J has had one or two college student participants join their alma mater high school group. Scholarship funding is restricted to high school students, so any current college students who wish to apply would need to be able to pay the full program fee.

Who needs to get a visa?

U.S., Canadian, and Mexican citizens are not required to have a visa for a short-term visit to Japan. Citizens of other countries should check with the nearest Japanese consulate. The process for obtaining a passport (and visa, if required) should begin as soon as the school group is notified of acceptance to the NP:J program.

Where is the homestay?

Homestay locations can range from as far north as Hokkaido or as far south as Okinawa. Sometimes, lead teachers request to be hosted by a particular school or in a particular town on their application. This could be because there is a sister-school relationship between the Japanese school and the American school. It could also be because the teacher has strong ties to the area; it may be their hometown, or they may have lived there for some time.

What do students do during the homestay?

During the homestay portion of the tour, students stay with a Japanese family and attend a Japanese school. Students will participate in daily family activities, sit in on classes, and often participate in uniquely-Japanese cultural activities like tea ceremony, kendo, or ikebana.

Can a teacher opt out of the homestay?

The homestay component is the cornerstone of the NP:J experience and is what sets it apart from other programs offering summer trips to Japan. Students are often nervous about the homestay portion of the experience and gain strength and relief from knowing that their teachers are also staying with a family.

Laurasian Institution believes it is of the utmost importance for U.S.-Japanese relations that host families learn from Japanese-language teachers about the realities of life in the U.S. and in American schools. Japanese families should develop a more realistic vision of the U.S. and become curious about daily life in America. The program’s Japanese language teachers (both American and Japanese) serve as important cultural bridges!

While it is the expectation of the program and the host school that all NP:J teachers stay with host families, the alternative would be to stay in a hotel in the same community as the students or with friends/family, if applicable. Any teacher who stays in a hotel is responsible for food and lodging costs during this week. It is required that all teachers stay close to their students in case of an emergency or any concerns among the students and host families.

When will students and teachers receive information about the host family?

Host schools/communities are finalized in the springtime. While Laurasian Institution encourages host families to submit their information in a timely manner, due to scheduling difficulties beyond the organization’s control, homestay families may not be confirmed until a few days prior to departure.

How can natural families keep in touch during the trip?

The internet is the preferred method of communication between parents and students. Laurasian Institution discourages the use of smartphones during the program, as visiting a new country is an experience in observing, listening, and being aware—particularly during the homestay. Participants are expected to avoid non-emergency calls to or from home, as cultural immersion is difficult with distractions.

The NP:J Facebook page will be updated on the day of or day following arrival. The page will also be updated mainly during the Tokyo and Kyoto portions of the study tour, so parents and friends can keep up with their student’s travels.

Natural parents who expect their child to contact them during the homestay portion of the study tour should ensure their children are aware of free and cost-effective options, such as Viber and Skype. If participants intend to bring cell phones and use them internationally, they should contact their service provider to confirm whether their phone will work in Japan, and what additional technology (such as SIM cards) may be required.

Natural parents should be assured that students are well cared for and that NP:J staff will contact natural parents immediately if there is any reason for concern. In case of an emergency, the family can call the emergency line at 888.310.4164. An NP:J staff member is available through the emergency phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.