Join us in Tokyo for an insider’s experience of Japan on this Pre-College summer program for high school students. Broaden your horizons with in-depth, field-based seminars as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of instructors and students from around the world. Choose two seminars and dive into your subject matter through engaging discussions, site visits, and hands-on projects that immerse you in Japanese life.
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Looking for a program this summer? View our Pre-College Vermont program!
Dates: June 27, 2020 – July 17, 2020
Eligibility: Completing grades 9 – 12
Duration: 21 days
- Meet with top entrepreneurs and develop a business plan
- Photograph the dazzling neon lights of Shibuya Crossing
- Visit the whimsical Ghibli Museum with your Anime class
- Interview local students about Japanese pop culture
Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow high school student travelers and a Pre-College representative at LAX Airport in Los Angeles, and fly together to Tokyo. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.
Our Tokyo Campus • Tokyo is a study in contrasts, where centuries-old traditions co-exist with cutting-edge technologies, making for a uniquely blended cultural experience. With a population of 13 million, Tokyo is Japan’s bustling capital, and the Greater Tokyo area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world. From our residential hotel, experience Tokyo’s distinct neighborhoods, museums, historical landmarks, markets, and food with your seminar instructors and peers. Meet with artists, business leaders, graphic designers, and tech innovators as you discover the myriad ways Tokyo’s dynamic growth defines its success.
Seminars • Choose two seminars—a major and a minor—and explore Tokyo through the lens of your chosen seminars. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with local experts, and field trips. Tokyo’s rich historical, architectural, and cultural background makes it the perfect setting for our field-based seminars. Capped at ten students, our dynamic seminars are designed to encourage hands-on, place-based, collaborative learning.
Learn to experiment with anime, then draw inspiration from a visit to the Tokyo Anime Center in the Akiba “electric town” neighborhood. Interview young entrepreneurs in the Shinjuku business district about their latest business ventures, or photograph the trends in street fashion in the Harajuku neighborhood for your Photography or Fashion Design seminar. Discover the city’s historical legacy on visits to its many museums—from classical art in the National Museum to a light and sound installation at the Sony Museum. Go beyond sushi to discover hidden ramen shops, the difference between udon and soba, and the traditional Japanese sweets known as wagashi with your Japanese Cuisine seminar.
At the end of your program, showcase your work in a final project, installation, gallery, or performance. Display your photography or poetry in a pop-up gallery, present your findings from your International Business seminar, or prepare a feast to share with your group.
Afternoon & Evening Activities • Explore subjects outside of your seminars, relax, and have fun participating in enriching afternoon activities. Catch the lively fish auction at the Tsukiji Market, then regain your sense of calm in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. Join a tai chi session, try woodblock printing, or sample the city’s best sushi and ramen. Take part in a traditional tea ceremony or learn calligraphy arts during an afternoon workshop. Attend a sumo match, visit an amusement park, or join locals at one of the city’s many gaming arcades. Interview teens about the Japanese pop culture scene, emerging technologies, or their views on American culture. The entire group gathers for a community meeting before dinner. After dinner, venture out again in the company of your instructors to experience Tokyo by night. Attend live music shows or a theatre performance, hone your photography skills during a night shoot, or enjoy a night of karaoke with new friends.
Weekend Excursions • On weekends, travel to the surrounding countryside for a break from city life. Visit an onsen, a traditional Japanese hot springs bath, rent bikes, or explore on foot with your instructors. End your time in Japan with a multi-day excursion to Kyoto, Japan’s former imperial capital. With its many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, pristine gardens, and traditional wooden houses, Kyoto is the perfect spot to enjoy your final days. Learn about geisha culture in the Gion district. Relax at one of Kyoto’s famed zen gardens. Hike scenic trails such as Kyoto’s Bamboo Grove and celebrate your accomplishments with a final dinner.
Return • Travel Day • Fly from Tokyo to Los Angeles with your group and a Pre-College representative, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.
This description represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.
Our daughter gained a sense of independence and connection with like-minded peers, something which was lacking in our small community. She also gained the confidence to travel independently in the future.— Wendy Shook & Jonathan Kemp, Middlebury, VT
A Day in the Life: Tokyo
Due to the dynamic nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Tokyo.
8 AM• Enjoy breakfast with your group at the residence
10 AM• Meet with your major seminar and visit cultural centers and parks in the city
2 PM• Break for lunch out with friends and instructors
4 PM• Visit an arcade or specialty museum, like the Ramen Museum, and explore different neighborhoods
6:30 PM• Convene for Community Meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule
8 PM• Eat dinner out in small groups, and go to a theatre performance in the city
Choose a major and a minor seminar and get an in-depth understanding of Tokyo and the surrounding area. Majors meet most days and minors meet twice a week. Capped at ten students, seminars are serious but fun, encouraging immersive, place-based learning. Frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues in the classroom. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits in and around Tokyo that add context and depth to the course material. Cap off your studies with a final project or installation to share your work.
MAJOR SEMINARS (click on seminar to read the full description)
MINOR SEMINARS (click on seminar to read the full description)
What to Expect
Seminars • Pre-College seminars are interactive and collaborative, taking advantage of the vast cultural and historical richness of Tokyo to enhance your experience. You can expect to meet with local and regional experts, artists, entrepreneurs, and guest speakers during the program. Each seminar works toward a final project—a short film, a business proposal, a performance piece, a gallery opening, or a dramatic reading, to give a few examples—which you present to fellow participants on the final night of the program.
Afternoons & Evenings • Outside of seminars, each day on your Pre-College program brings new adventures and a variety of activities from which to choose. Head to a unique specialty museum, explore Tokyo’s neighborhoods, learn tai chi, attend a sumo match, and more.
Physical Activity • This is a physically active summer program. You can expect to spend most of each day outside and on the move with your seminar group, and to walk the streets of Tokyo, or explore by foot at weekend destinations such as Kyoto. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.
Accommodations • In Tokyo, we stay in a residential hotel in private doubles or triples, with bathrooms ensuite. Students have access to common space for class, community meetings, and socializing. Leaders reside in the same residence as students throughout the program.
Meals • We begin each day with a full breakfast at our residence. For lunches, seminars or small groups may eat together either at restaurants or head to a local market to shop for a picnic. Dinners are eaten in restaurants or at our residence. Please note that lunches are not included in the tuition.
Lucas had such a great experience! We had heard great things about Putney and we couldn’t agree more. We will be the first to sign up our younger son for the Tokyo program in 2022.— Alyssa & Adam Shapiro, New York, NY