Take off your shoes
Students in Japan take off their shoes before school, and sometimes they might wear special shoes in school. Every student has a shoebox for storing shoes.
After-school activities clubs are important to Japanese students. They participate in sports, musical bands, school newspapers and many other activities. During your high school exchange, it is important to get involved in these clubs as soon as possible. You will make friends, improve your language skills and, most important, have a great time.
Japanese schools can be fun, but do not be late for class! It is not accepted, and if you are late you will get a detention, which means staying after school.
Typical day at a Japanese high school
6:30 a.m. Wake up for school. Most students ride a bike or take a train to school, and you need to have enough time to eat breakfast and get dressed before you leave. In Japan it is not unusual to travel up to an hour on public transport to get to school.
8:30 a.m. The school day begins with a homeroom meeting. Don’t be late!
9:00 a.m. Classes begin. You might have Japanese history, mathematics or something else.
10:00 a.m. Time for your second class of the day. It could be biology or physical education.
12:00 noon. Lunch time! Japanese schools have cafeterias where students can buy reasonably priced lunch. Many students bring lunch from home. This is a time to enjoy conversation with your friends.
1:00 p.m. You have more classes in the afternoon, such as Japanese government or physics.
3:00 p.m. School is over for the day, but that does not mean your day is over. Most Japanese students participate in after-school sports or activities. And when you get home, you will have a couple hours of homework each night.
Middle school and upper school
The Japanese secondary school system is split into middle and upper schools. EF exchange students in Japan usually attend upper schools.
Middle schools are for students who are about 12 to 15 years old. Upper schools are for students who are about 16 to 18 years old. If you are an exchange student in Japan with EF, you will most likely be enrolled in upper school.
Preparation for university
Japanese students are not required to attend upper schools, but most students do. Many are preparing for university, although other students ultimately attend vocational schools or join the workforce.
Different cities have different activities and classes
Because each school is different and each school is given a lot of independence, you will get a unique experience, no matter where you study as an exchange student.
Japanese schools teach a liberal arts curriculum of humanities and science, and the focus is on forming “well-rounded” students. Some classes you might take during your student exchange year include:
- Japanese history
- Physical education
- Japanese composition