Education & Family

2014 Educators' Study Tour to Japan for Middle and High School Educators & School Administrators

Tour dates: June 29 (Sun) – July 19 (Sat), 2014
Mandatory pre-departure orientation in New York: June 26–28, 2014
Cost: $1,000 (includes orientation, airfare, accommodations & meals)

A school visit in Obu

10 teachers have been selected to participate in the 2014 Educators’ Study Tour to Japan.

Mr. Vikas Behl

Roosevelt Senior High School (Washington  DC)
Ms. Ramona Fittipaldi
The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem (New York, NY)
Ms. Yen-Ju Kuo
Lexington High School (Lexington, MA)
Ms. Sandra Makielski

Davisville Middle School (North Kingstown, RI)

Mr. David Parker
Bolton High School (Arlington, TN)
Ms. Dana Stranges
Tappan Zee High School (Orangeburg, NY)

Ms. Jacquelyn Trevizo
Sheridan Japanese School (Sheridan, OR)

Ms. Lauren Vorisek

Wheaton High School (Silver Spring, MD)

Mr. Allison Weller

Walter G. O’Connell High School (Islip, NY)

Ms. Regina Zafonte
High School for Math, Science and Engineering (New York, NY)

Program Description

The Educators' Study Tour to Japan offers educators nationwide the opportunity to travel to Japan for three weeks to experience Japan first hand and bring their experiences back to the classroom. The program is open to middle and high school classroom teachers, librarians and school administrators (principals, assistant principals, and department chairs only), and includes an intensive pre-departure orientation and a study tour to Japan in June-July for the cost of $1,000.

Eight to 10 full-time classroom teachers and librarians who teach about Japan as well as school administrators will be selected for the program through a competitive process. Demonstration of a firm commitment by the participants and their school administration to foster and sustain education on Japan in their school is an essential component of the application.

The program is open to all public, private and parochial middle and high school educators in the U.S. Both individuals and interdisciplinary teams from the same school may apply.


The study tour will acquaint the participants with Japanese society through a wide range of site visits in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Aichi and Wakayama. Homestays with families in both rural and suburban areas and school visits are significant parts of the program. The tour focuses on K-12 school visits to help participants have a better understanding of Japan's education system by meeting their counterparts in Japanese schools. The tour provides the opportunity to connect with Japanese schools for planning electronic exchanges and to meet an A-bomb survivor in Hiroshima, who will talk about his or her personal experience. The tour includes an optional visit to a part of the Tohoku region hard hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Preparation & Orientation & Post Trip Follow Up

Pre-departure orientation:

Study Tour members are required to participate in an intensive three day pre-departure orientation at Japan Society in New York from Thursday, June 26 – Saturday, June 28, 2014. Teachers who are outside the New York area must arrive on Wednesday, June 25. The orientation will include targeted language training, introductions to Japanese history, culture and educational systems, and a discussion session about travel arrangements. Participants are required to attend all pre-departure orientation sessions including a dinner meeting the evening of Thursday, June 26.

Post trip follow up:

1. Post-trip meeting: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, and Spring 2015 (date TBD).

Tour members are required to participate in a post-trip follow-up meeting at Japan Society, New York. Participants from the New York metropolitan area will attend in person, while those from outside the New York metropolitan area will participate via Skype.

2. Submit a written teaching unit based on their experiences in Japan by Wednesday, October 1, 2014.

3. School visit

  • New York metropolitan area educators: A member of the Japan Society Education Team will either visit each teacher’s school during the 2014-2015 academic year.
  • Educators living outside of the New York metropolitan area are required to submit a video of a relevant lesson, to be followed by a Skype call with members of the Japan Society Education team during the 2014-2015 academic year.

At Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.


Applicants must have the following qualifications:

· Full time middle school or high school classroom educator, librarian or school administrator (principal, assistant principal, or department chair only)
· Teach about Japan
· Experience in interdisciplinary teaching preferred
· Commitment to attend the pre-departure orientation in its entirety and the post-trip session in person or via Skype as described above
· School-wide commitment to further promote education about Japan
· Continue teaching or serve as a school administrator for 10 years
· Proven ability to work cooperatively as a team member
· Ability to be open-minded and adjust quickly to unfamiliar situations
· Although previous experience in Japan is acceptable, applicants with no previous experience in Japan are given first priority.
· Excellent health and an ability to sustain a rigorous daily schedule in hot and humid weather


The program fee for the orientation and tour is $1,000. Participants will be responsible for their own travel insurance, the cost of any meals not taken with the group, personal shopping and incidental expenses. 

Japan Society will provide:

· Materials for the orientation
· Round trip economy airfare between New York and Japan
· Travel costs for educators outside the New York metropolitan area to attend the orientation at Japan Society, New York.
· All in-country (Japan) travel expenses
· Hotel expenses--all hotel accommodations are double occupancy rooms
· All meals, with the exception of a few lunches and dinners during free time
· A one-year Japan Society membership

Important Dates in 2014

Participants are required to attend all of the sessions and tour below:

On June 25 (Wed.), out-of-town participants must arrive in New York City. 
Pre-departure orientation: June 26 (Thurs.) through June 28 (Sat.) 10 am – 5 pm.  (Note: June 26 –afternoon session only)
First group dinner: June 26 (Thurs.), 6 pm – 9 pm
Tour in Japan: June 29 (Sun.) - July 19 (Sat.), 2014
Post-departure follow-up meeting: August 13 (Wed.), 2014, 1-4 pm, and Spring 2015 (TBD).
Deadline for the first draft of the assignment: October 1 (Wed.).


Required Assignment–A Teaching Unit

Each group or individual will submit a teaching unit, which can be worked on at a follow-up workshop on August 13, 2014 to be held at Japan Society. The purpose of creating teaching units is three-fold: 1) for the participants of the program to focus on one or a few important area(s) of study about Japan that only such an intensive program such as the Educators Study Tour can afford; 2) to refine and present a coherent teaching unit consisting of substantial research, photos, maps and other illustrative materials; 3) to offer the teaching units to educators via Japan Society's website.

The deadline to submit the first draft of the assignments is October 1, 2014.  Assignments will be returned for corrections and must resubmitted by November after all corrections are made. Japan Society retains the right to make the final decision as to which units will be placed on its website as well as to edit the lesson plans.

View the 2013 Educators' Study Tour to Japan for Middle and High School Educators

Education Programs are made possible by generous funding from The Freeman Foundation.

Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Chris A. Wachenheim, Jon T. Hutcheson, Joshua S. Levine and Nozomi Terao.

Images: © Kazuko Minamoto/Japan Society

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