Hey guys! I’m here with these cute girls Emily and Mel today! They have a channel called Mango Vlogz – Linked below so go check it out!! They are doing a high school exchange here in Japan for one school year I also did a short exchange for 2 weeks when I was in high school So I thought it would be cool to have a conversation together and answer your questions about doing high school exchanges in Japan! I asked you on twitter this morning and I got so many replies! So thank you so much guys So I’m just gonna go through your tweets and we’re gonna answer your questions! Do you have to know Japanese really well to go on an exchange? Well I did an exam before I came So they said you have to learn it for at least 2 years for my school And even when I came it was still quite hard And I studied for 2 years so it’s probably better to be at least intermediate level So they had an exam and you had to be able to pass a certain level to qualify? Yep For me, I was only here on a 2 week exchange and there were no requirements whatsoever I actually spoke zero Japanese, I knew like 3 words But I found that really fun? It was fun. Because everything was new to me, I picked up lots of Japanese while I was here So if you’re just going on a short exchange and they don’t require a certain level of Japanese Don’t worry at all if you don’t speak Japanese I thought it made the experience more exciting But in their case they’re here for a year and they required it, so It looks like every case is different, but you may be all right not knowing Japanese So check with your school Are exchange students expected to learn the same curriculum as Japanese students? I’m on a slightly different program to Emily Because I’m a proper foreign exchange student, I have tests but they’re in English So they’re aimed at someone who’s not native in Japanese Whereas Emily’s are pretty much the same Yeah the same I think Oh really, you’re taking the same ones as the Japanese students? Are the teachers kind of slack? If you don’t get a score as high as all the Japanese students, they’re okay with it? They’re okay with it They don’t expect you to be perfect We have teachers that will write the furigana on kanji for us Because he knows we can’t read it Aw that’s nice Again, it looks like it’s different for everyone and you’ll probably have choices about what you wanna do When I was here I didn’t do any tests I did some schoolwork in class and they gave me some homework But it was just a really short program How much did it cost? Did your school pay for it? I had to pay all of it because I’m like a normal student And private school here in Japan is pretty expensive Pretty expensive Our school is the most expensive in Tokyo Does the price differ for foreign students? Do you pay a different price than Japanese students do? I didn’t I think mine cost a bit more because I had to do homestay Right, so it includes the homestay cost It’s pretty expensive And you have to pay for your uniform, and a fee to get into the school Because I don’t take tests, so I have to pay to get in And textbooks, they never give you the textbooks As a student, are you allowed to work part time? If you wanted to get a job here? Secretly… So you’re not allowed? You could, but it’s gonna be like a whole big meeting Ahh to discuss if it’s okay to do it or not So it’s possible, but a pain in the ass They say sometimes for foreign students they can make exceptions because you might have run out of money, before you finish school So in that case it’s ok It also depends on your visa Yeah you have to apply for special permission So it looks like it’s pretty pricey guys I’ve never heard of any year long exchange programs that are free If you’re planning on doing one maybe get a part time job And start saving up now So you can help pay for it, maybe your parents will pay the rest If you don’t know Japanese can you still make Japanese friends? Yes! I think so For me it was really easy to make friends Everyone’s interested in you because you’re like the cool foreign person So everyone wants to talk to you I found Did you have the same experience? There’s lots of people interested in foreign music as well So they’ll be the first to come up to you and be like “Do you know Beyonce?” Yeah yeah yeah I don’t think language is really a factor in making friends You’ll get around that If you don’t speak Japanese and you’re trying to make Japanese friends It’s a great incentive to learn Japanese and I feel that that will really benefit your language study That’s how I improved mine really fast Because I wanted to talk to these people but I couldn’t So I would try to find phrases that I could use with them and study a bit How did you hear about the program? I already graduated my school So I finished school and then I decided to take a year off and go to Japan Because I wanted to get better at Japanese before university Mine’s not actually through my school When I was looking online, all the programs were for America and Canada They didn’t have anything for England Somehow I ended up on the Japanese embassy sites The New Zealand embassy or something And I found a link to the school So I actually applied to the school directly all by myself Wow that’s cool! So if your school doesn’t offer anything, you can just apply directly And she’s not even a high school student, she graduated A couple of you guys were like “Aww I graduated high school… dammit…” I think it was okay up until 20 years old Oh really? Cool It doesn’t matter about your age as much I’m 18 but I’m in with the first years (Grade 10) They just put you in a class based on your level and where is most appropriate I think many high school have them but they don’t advertise them So if you’re in high school at the moment I would go talk to your counsellor or just go to the office if you have an international office and ask them for opportunities for exchange because you might have something and you just don’t know about it And if your school doesn’t have one, maybe look into the option like that Maybe graduate first and then go there after There seem to be lots of different ways to do it I’ve heard some exchange horror stories, have you or your friends had any bad experiences? Not really But our friend… there’s this boy exchange student This guy that came to our school His homestay he couldn’t go in unless he had a key And they only had one key So he just had to wait outside the house And just wait for them to come home? Ok that’s really bad My homestay’s really nice They’re really flexible and stuff After the bunkasai (school festival) we had an after party And she was just like “Make sure you come home late! Go have fun!” She’s really sweet How about school wise, have you had any problems at school? A lot of gossip Typical high school problems Not really like an exchange problem I guess What if you have a problem with something? Is it easy to find someone to talk to? If you had an issue with your homestay would there be someone available to talk to? Yeah When I was doing my program, I didn’t have any problems with my homestay – they were great But we did have a counsellor in the school that we could talk to if we had any problems I never really heard anything too bad during my exchange There were a couple people who had really strict homestays So they wouldn’t let them go out late Lots of the other students would go out partying and drinking and a couple of the students, their homestays wouldn’t let them go So they were kinda upset about that But they just had stricter rules for their children So they apply those to their exchange student as well So it really depends on the family I didn’t really hear of anything bad When you’re going through YouTube lots of things pop up like “HORRIBLE EXCHANGE EXPERIENCE” There’s so many videos about horrible exchanges in Japan I hope this will give you an opportunity to hear about some good stories I’m also gonna make a video talking about my total homestay experience I myself didn’t have any problems at all My homestay Mom, she’s not fluent but she understands English If you aren’t that strong in Japanese, make sure you have someone who knows a little bit of English Otherwise it’s gonna be really difficult I did get a book beforehand from the homestay company And it said things to be careful of, like cultural differences So in Japan you have to eat all of your food Right right And if you don’t they might think you hate their cooking or something So it said make sure you explain that first That’s nice that they gave you a book When you leave it’s so sad, everyone cries Yeah I still talk to my homestay! It’s been like 12 years and I still talk to them Yeah they’re really nice What does your school uniform look like? You can either wear a ribbon or a tie Oh you can choose! That’s neat But for special occasions you have to wear a bow So the bow is more formal? The boys have different colours… red, green, white, blue And the boys are just a tie right? Just a tie, yeah You have to wear a blazer on formal occasions That’s really cute And everyone has their little name written inside The name’s embroidered on the inside And then the school logo on the front We have our PE wear For sports classes PE is fun Our summer uniform So the uniform changes throughout the seasons Cute little sweater vest, and then you wear a collared shirt underneath it Show them the skirt, the skirt is so cute The colours are so nice Do you wear it this length? Or do you roll yours up? I roll it twice Yeah I roll it twice too If you wanna make your skirt shorter you can roll it up a little bit Some girls will do it long on purpose, because that can also be cool And what do the socks look like? They’re grey knee highs No one wears them knee high That’s so funny Apparently currently the style is to not wear your socks really high So they’ll roll them down When I was in… god this makes me sound so old When I was doing my exchange, the slouch socks were popular The white slouchy socks Everyone would have the really baggy socks and they’d slouch them up I’ll put some pictures so you can see, but like gyaru style Nowadays I guess you don’t really see that When I first started I was like, Oh it’s Japanese high school! So I had them like, up to here! Like I had seen on anime and stuff And my friend was like, no that’s really uncool you gotta stop Stoppp what are you doing What are the rules for appearance? Are you allowed to colour your hair and wear makeup? Nope. So do they think this is your natural hair? Yeah and then the brown starts showing And then my teacher is like, you need to go to the salon right now! And also, your nails can’t be long No nail polish right? Nope Some girls do clear polish, but they still notice Even clear they’ll get mad at you?! Whyyy And coloured contacts are not okay, but some girls do And also brown hair, but then some people are half so… It might be okay then So as long as it’s your natural hair, it’s okay Yeah especially with boys Their hair has to be a certain length They’re not allowed to grow it When you pass the ear length, even like a little bit You have to cut it, like you have to cut it the next day That’s crazy! They tell you you need to cut it And makeup, you’re not allowed to wear makeup No makeup Even natural like, mascara? Nothing? Yeah… we do it anyways so it’s fine They’re not super strict about it? They have their rules but they won’t get mad? It depends on your teacher Our teacher is quite strict But he kinda lets me off The exchange students sometimes get a little special treatment One cool thing in Japan is that you can wear a mask If actually got a box of them that we can show them They’re like surgical masks But you can wear them when you have a cold, that’s what their purpose is Or if you have like allergies Or you can wear them if you have pimples You’re not allowed to wear makeup so you can just cover up your face! They have pink ones as well! Yeah they have patterns! Would you be allowed to wear a patterned one in your school? Pink ones are ok Yeah so they’re great Is the coursework more strenuous in Japan compared with back home? Just in general, homework and tests and stuff Tests More tests? Every 2 months They love tests here man They love being at school, like… on Christmas! LIke why?? Why would you go to school on Christmas?? What are the hours like? Do you go really early in the morning? We start at 8:20 and finish at 3:50 sometimes Do you participate in any school clubs? Yeah What are you in? Sadobu (tea ceremony) and English club So Sadobu is Japanese tea ceremony I was in that club as well so we all have that in common There’s a certain way to fold it… yeah! that looks right! What other kinda clubs does your school offer? A lot! Do you have a calligraphy club? Yeah there is, I actually do calligraphy We also have Aikidobu Oh yeah martial arts, lots of martial arts There’s karate, aikido, kendo There’s so many omg There’s a cooking club The dance club is really serious Yeah you gotta be good, my university was like that too Manga, there’s a manga study club So they’re studying to be manga artists? So do they draw or just read it? Drawing, yeah There’s such a selection of clubs Are you required to join a club? Or can you just go home after school finishes? Yeah kitakubu (going home club) Kitakubu – the going home club There’s a club for that! Do you bring your own bento or do you buy food at school? Everybody is different Loads of people do bring bento My lunch isn’t included in my homestay, so I have to buy it But our school is very cheap Yeah my university was really cheap too I think in general the schools make it super affordable for buying food You can get a bowl of noodles for like 250 yen I can’t say if it’s healthy or not though There’s no vegetables Right, that’s one thing I noticed! They’ll give you side dishes maybe like pickled vegetables or something But not lots of fresh vegetables It’s like, meat and rice So if you want something healthy you might have to get up really early and make yourself a bento Well thank you guys for your questions! And thank you so much for coming and answering them! If you have anymore questions about exchange leave them down below I will try to answer them but I was only on one for 2 weeks So I’m not a longterm exchange program pro But maybe these girls will come in the comments and reply to you if they have time Thanks for watching guys, bye!!