White Earth

Japan Empowerment

Interested in volunteering abroad?

This program offers Group Leaders a once in a lifetime experience that provides them with a personal and enriching experience. They have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Japanese culture, make lifelong friendships, and learn a great deal about themselves along the way. 

2022 Online Japan Empowerment Program

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on Japan, we do not yet know if we will be sending group leaders to Japan in 2022. Currently, ISA has shifted to an online version of the Japan Empowerment program. We are currently accepting applications for both the Online Group Leader and In-person Group Leader positions for Japan Empowerment. 

Group Leader Role & Responsibilities

I am so happy that I was selected as a Group Leader for this program, as it taught me leadership, cultural, and professional communication and teaching skills that I know will be useful in my future career. Most importantly, I learned to be more intentional and present in my personal interactions, and I hope to share these values with others moving forward. Overall, it’s a wonderful program that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Andrew Nguyen


Group Leader Role & Responsibilities

The Group Leader (GL) position entails:

Group Leader Role & Responsibilities
  • Sharing from your own life experiences to teach, motivate, and empower students

  • Guiding students with small group projects and facilitating discussions

  • Familiarizing yourself on a range of topics by reviewing provided handouts and videos

  • Participating in extra-curricular and club activities with students

  • Being an ambassador for your community and university

  • Complying with all rules and regulations established by ISA and GPI US

What to Expect


  • GLs will be placed in a hotel near the airport for arrival to and departure from Japan

  • Each week of the program you will live with a host family in towns and cities across Japan

    • *GLs are occasionally placed in a hotel near their school depending on host family availability

Daily Schedule

  • GLs will spend full day (~9:00am - 3:00pm) at school during the week

    • May include the opportunity to join in extracurricular and club activities outside the program!

  • Afternoons are typically spent hanging out with your host “siblings” and their friends

  • Each evening you will have dinner with your host family

  • Saturdays will be a “free” day to spend time with your host family!

  • Travel between program locations via train on Sundays


  • Trains and stations are often heavily crowded

  • GLs will need to be able to walk long distances with their luggage and carry it up multiple flights of stairs (pack light!)

  • Expect to stand up for long periods of time when on trains and at the station

  • It may be necessary to transfer quickly between trains and platforms to make connections

Laptop Lunch Break


  • Airfare: Round trip ticket between Japan and one of our regional departure locations in the United States *Flight details cannot be changed in any way (NO EXCEPTIONS)*

  • Travel Insurance: Basic travel insurance provided while in Japan

  • Accommodations: Homestays & Hotels

  • Meals: All meals (Homestay & Hotel Stay) excluding weekend lunches

  • Transportation in Japan: Daily school commute and weekly travel between program placements

Not Covered

  • ​Pre and Post-Program Travel: Expenses incurred from traveling to the designated departure airport and any additional travel accommodations are not covered

  • Personal Travel: Personal travel within Japan is not covered

  • Salary: No salary is provided

Program Dates

​Programs are  2 - 4 weeks long and occur in the Summer between July 1st and August 24th. 


GPI US cannot guarantee acceptance to the specific term dates requested by applications.

*Terms dates and availabilities for each region are confirmed at a later date

*Due to COVID-19 and the residual impact it has caused on travel any dates/information listed is tentative

Crowd of People with masks
How to Apply

To apply for the Japan Empowerment program please complete the application form below and provide the following:

  • Current Resume

  • Letter of Interest

  • Two References (Letters of Recommendation not necessary)

  • Eligibility


Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the program:

  • Hold a valid passport issued by a country or region that is visa-exempt for visits up to 45 days in Japan

  • Currently be enrolled in a 4-year college/university or graduate program in the United States (required to show a valid college/university ID), or be a recent graduate

  • Recent graduates must satisfy following requirements to qualify:

  • Applicant graduated the same year, or previous winter, as the prospective program to which they are applying for OR Applicant must be accepted to a graduate program for the upcoming Fall semester


Frequently asked questions

What is the Standard Japan Empowerment program

The Standard Japan Empowerment program challenges Japanese high school students to be more independent thinkers. Through small group discussions and activities, students will examine and discuss various topics and participate in projects and presentations. This program seeks to show students that passion and personal growth are achieved by taking responsibility for their choices.

What is the Women's Studies Empowerment Program?

The Women's Studies Empowerment Program was designed by Kerianne Panos, founder of MCML Consulting service, with the specific goal of empowering young Japanese women. In this program, Group Leaders work closely with students to help them explore their identities and to build the confidence and mindset necessary to become successful leaders in the future.

What is the STEM Program?

The STEM program seeks to challenge students to be more independent and creative thinkers with a particular focus on STEM fields. Through lectures, small group discussions/debates, and activities that explore various STEM subjects, Japanese students will examine and discuss various topics alongside American STEM students.

I would like to extend my time in Japan. Is it possible to change the return flight so that I am able to do so?

Unfortunately it is not possible to make any changes to the provided flights

What is the summer weather like in Japan?

Summers in Japan are hot and very humid. Potential for lots of rain and heavy storms!

How much does this program cost?

There is a $10 application fee, however, there is no program fee. GPI US and ISA cover your flights, domestic travel and accommodations (See expenses above for more details). Accepted applicants do not receive a stipend for their participation and any leisure activities they participate in are at their own cost. ***Application fee waived for 2022.

Which cities do participants visit?

Everyone will spend time in Tokyo at the beginning and end of the program. Then they're sent to different cities in different prefectures for the rest of the program. Our participants find the most value from visiting the cities that they would never have thought to visit!

Japanese Lanterns