Have you ever considered hosting a homestay student, but didn’t know how? Or perhaps you didn’t think you could while living in Japan? If you’re looking for a cultural exchange program without having to leave your own home, then keep reading.

Providing Cultural and Language Exchanges for Young People in Japan

As a young child, Keiko Ishikawa had the advantage of learning English at an international school. After switching to a Japanese school, she soon realized that she had experienced not only a linguistic advantage but had also benefited from a multicultural environment that was lacking in her new school.

As an adult, Ishikawa realized that not everyone had the resources to study abroad, even if they wanted to, and with a lack of exposure to different languages and cultures, many people’s interest in overseas exchange was tepid at best. That trend seems to be going downward in young people in Japan today. To change that, she created the non-profit organization Chokkura Home Stay (CHS). Chokkura means “for a short while” and Ishikawa wants to provide cultural and linguistic experiences through mini homestays — in Japan. With so many international families, especially in Tokyo, there is potential for young people to broaden their horizons and gain confidence in new surroundings without taking the huge step of going abroad.

Could You Be a Japan-based Homestay Family?

Currently, CHS is making efforts to raise funds for its domestic homestay program. This special summer program requires a fee for students to participate in a 10-day homestay, which includes five days of English language studies with two Oxford University students in Tokyo. To be able to do this, they need help from you! CHS is looking for host families to house students for 10 days from the end of July to the beginning o August.

Summer / Fundraising Homestay Program Details

Homestay dates: July 27, 2018–August 5, 2018
English classes: July 30-August 3, 9am-3:45pm, to be held at the National Olympic Memorial Youth Center in Yoyogi. (Nearest station: Sangubashi)
Participants: 10 Japanese students, 16-18 years old
English level of students: Beginner to Intermediate
Payment to host families: ¥2,500 a day, as an assistant fee

Host Family Eligibility

International families living anywhere in the Kanto area who can speak English and have a desire to share their culture are welcome. Those with Japanese partners or spouses are naturally also welcome, as long as at least one partner is non-Japanese. Families without children and singles are also welcome to apply. CHS will interview and visit the homes of any potential host families to make sure there is a good fit. They would also like potential hosts to house a child or student once before the summer program period if possible.

Usually, host families living anywhere in the Kanto region are eligible, but since the summer program includes English classes in Yoyogi, they prefer families within an hour and a half commute from the class location.

Short-Term Homestay Programs

Families are also welcome to apply to become host families for CHS’s short-term programs. The programs are for children (aged 4 to 18) from three categories: underprivileged children from single-parent families and orphanages, students with a clear vision of studying abroad in the future, and children/students who would otherwise never get the opportunity to study abroad. These programs are ongoing and homestays can be as short as three hours. The other options include overnight stays and weekend stays.

For more information or to apply to be a host family, contact Keiko Ishikawa at NPO Chokkura Home Stay via the organization’s website or their official Facebook page