Welcome to a nation like no other! Japan is the world’s third largest economy, and a trendsetter in culture, fashion and technology. Japanese culture is widely known for its traditional arts as well as its contemporary pop culture. It’s a country where old meets new in a totally unique way.
High School Classic
High School Classic is the traditional high school exchange programme, chosen by most of our students. It is the perfect programme for those who long for a genuine high school experience abroad and who are willing to embrace all the surprises it can bring. Here’s how it works: based on your profile, we find you a suitable host family and school, and the best part is, it can be anywhere in Japan, from the bright lights of its giant metropolises to its lovely countryside! If you’re open to adventure and are willing to let yourself be surprised by your exchange experience, this is the programme for you.
Order our free brochure!
Order our brochure now and read all about STS High School, our destinations and a very special period abroad that could be the adventure of your life!
Right now you will get the Christmas edition of our inspiring brochure, complete with printable STS Christmas cards!
Sushi and sashimi
The Japanese cuisine is one of the country’s greatest attractions. Traditional Japanese food is famous around the world for being healthy – and very tasty! Tako-yaki, sushi, sashimi, and tempura are examples of delicious food you should try when living in Japan.
Japan is made up of thousands of smaller islands with four major ones, Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Tokyo is the capital and the second largest city in the world. The climate varies a bit across the country, but overall, there are four clear seasons. The cherry blossoms in spring and bright colouSHred leaves in fall are exceptionally beautiful!
Learn the language
Japanese is the only official language and to be able to embark on a high school year here you need some basic understanding for the language. However, all Japanese must learn English as a foreign language, meaning you will be able to communicate in English to a certain extent.
Population: 128 million Area: 378 000 km2 Language: Japanese Capital: Tokyo (35 million) Religion: Shinto, Buddhist Currency: Yen Government: Constitutional monarchy
The Japanese school experience!
Life as an exchange student in Japan will be a fascinating experience, full of new impressions. The Japanese school year begins in April with two or three semesters, depending on the school. There are six years of primary school, followed by three years of junior high and lastly, three years of optional high school, called kōkō.
Most Japanese students choose to attend high school. This is also where all exchange students will be placed. It’s up to the school to decide what year of high school that suits you and which subjects you can study. Some examples are social science, math, chemistry and biology.
Dress code and titles
Almost all schools have their own uniforms. How it looks and how often you need to wear it varies from school to school. However, you will be expected to have a neat appearance at all times. Your classmates will be friendly and so will your teachers. Just remember that you will not use your teacher’s first name, but call them Sensei (meaning teacher).
Some prior knowledge required
For obvious reasons, you need some previous knowledge of the language to become an exchange student in Japan. You should be able to read and write Hiragana and Katakana and pass a language test. Once you’ve passed the test and been accepted to your Japanese school, we highly encourage you to communicate in Japanese as much as possible. You will quickly improve your language skills and before you know it, you might even start dreaming in Japanese.
Japanese host families
All host families are carefully selected. You should know that entering a Japanese home is a true privilege. In Japan, most exchange students change host family every third month, but you will stay in the same school. This gives you an even greater opportunity to get to know Japanese culture from various perspectives.
Throughout the whole year, your area representative will keep in close contact with you and the host families, to ensure that everyone has a good experience.
The key to the culture
Some families might seem a bit shy in the beginning, but you will quickly get to know them and learn that the Japanese are very polite and warm-hearted. It is important to bear in mind that not many host families speak English. Learning Japanese will be your key getting closer to the culture.
Celebrate with the family
During the whole year, there will be many Japanese holidays to celebrate with the host family. For example the Japanese Shogatsu New Year. The New Year vacations are, according to tradition, the best time to thank the Gods (kami) who look after the harvest and to welcome the ancestral spirits who protect the family.
Who can go: 15–18 years on arrival
Departure month: March/August
Language requirements: Read and write Hiragana and Katakana + language test
Visa: Yes. Additional cost
Choice of destination: No
Prep course: STS Welcome Camp, included
School year: August–April
School day: Usually 08.00 – 15.30
Subjects: Depending on school, often optional
Trips in the country: Universal Studios in Osaka och Kyoto. Additional cost
Cultural exchange is such an amazing experience – no one involved will ever forget it. I am so extremely grateful to my parents who gave me this opportunity / Stephanie
Free time in Japan
What will you do after school? That depends on where you live and what your host family likes. If they are into sports, you will probably be taken to an event, maybe a baseball game, since it’s a very popular sport in Japan.
Tea ceremony and No theatre
There are many interesting cultural offerings too. There are lots of art exhibitions, both modern and traditional. When you live in Japan, you have to take the chance to experience a tea ceremony or No theatre. For the manga and anime lovers, those traditional comics and films can be found everywhere!
Millions of people are into computer games, played at home or in public arcades. Japan is after all a superpower when it comes to this kind of technical entertainment.
Join a club at school
Most schools recommend that their exchange students attend extracurricular activities in the afternoon. Join a club or a sports team. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and practice the language.
During your stay in Japan, many fun activities and outings are included. For an additional fee, you can also come with us to the word-famous fun of Universal Studios in Osaka. Or to the old emperor city of Kyoto. Your local contact person will give you more detailed information about these trips and excursions.
A Welcome Camp will be organised for all students at the beginning of the academic year. This is included in the price. Besides language lessons, the course includes lessons in Japanese culture and fun activities.
Air fares to host family and back
Accommodation in an approved host family
Full board in a host family
School spot in a public high school
Personal assistance and contact person from home country and host country
STS Welcome Camp
Pre-departure orientation in your home country
Emergency support 24/7
Meetings and material to prepare you and your parents
STS bag and t-shirt
STS Ambassador Club
High School Classic
Don’t forget to check out our Video Scholarship Challenge. Send us a video explaining why you would be a great exchange student and get the chance to receive a scholarship for your high school exchange. Find all information and instructions here
Yes, no matter where you go, we have a local representative at your location. It is the local area representative who works to approve our host families, have contact with schools and will be your supporter and advisor during your exchange year.
The easiest way to apply is to visit the page of your favourite destination and click the "Apply now" button. Your application is not binding, and you make your final decision once you have been accepted.