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About Global Classmates
- What kind of program is Global Classmates?
Global Classmates is a 6-month online exchange program for high school students in Japan and the U.S. The students participate as part of an existing language class or international club and engage with each other through the exchange of messages, photos, and videos. We pair up one class in the U.S. and one class in Japan and create a single online classroom for students from both schools to participate in.
In addition to the online exchange, students also participate in special projects that connect and engage the students on a deeper level. Omiyage Exchange is a small gift exchange between students and their partner classmates. Video Koshien is a program-wide project where students create a video in English/Japanese and compete with the other schools on presentation skills and creativity.
- What is the duration of the program?
It is a 6-month program, taking place from September to February. However, preparation for the program begins around June for the participating teachers. For more information, please click here.
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- Is there a fee to participate in the program?
No. We want to make sure that teachers and students with a strong passion are able to participate regardless of their financial situations. KAC is able to provide the program free of charge thanks to the generous support from our sponsors. Instead, we ask participating schools to help us by sharing their experience through various surveys and PR activities. For Omiyage Exchange, schools are responsible for paying the shipping cost to send the omiyage to their partner school.
Our sponsoring organizations are listed here.
For more information on Omiyage Exchange, please click here.
- Which language is used for the exchange? English or Japanese?
The students in the U.S. use Japanese and the students in Japan use English for the exchange. However, to deepen understanding for each other and learn how a native speaker communicates, we highly encourage students to post comments in both languages.
- How is the time difference taken into account for the exchange?
Because the students engage with each other by reading comments and looking at pictures the other school has posted, rather than a real-time exchange such as a video chat, the time difference is not an issue for the program. However, some schools in the past have engaged with their partner school via a real-time video chat.
- What is Omiyage Exchange?
In Omiyage Exchange, students collect or make small gifts and send them to their partner classmates. By exchanging items that represent them and their community, students connect on a deeper level and are motivated to further engage with their partner classmates.
- What is Video Koshien?
Video Koshien is a program-wide competition where students create a short video on a central theme in the language they are studying and submit it to KAC to be judged. The winning videos are announced on the official KAC website and Facebook page.
Applying to Global Classmates
- How do I apply to participate in Global Classmates?
KAC begins accepting applications in February for schools in Japan and April for schools in the U.S. For more information, please go here . Once applications are received, KAC conducts a phone interview with each applying teacher to determine which schools will participate.
- What level of Japanese/English is needed to participate in Global Classmates?
Japanese Level 3 for U.S. high schools and middle-school-level English for high schools in Japan is considered to be the minimum language level ideal for the program.
However, the program is not only about improving Japanese/English language skills, but is also about cultural exchange and fostering friendship. We hope that the students enjoy getting to know their friends across the ocean and find joy in using their own words to express themselves and communicate their ideas. The most important factor is the students’ motivation to communicate using Japanese/English.
- Is it possible to participate and not be in the U.S. or Japan? Can I participate in languages other than Japanese or English?
Since the goal of the program is for high school students in the U.S. and Japan to engage with each other using Japanese and English, we are not currently able to offer the program outside of these countries and in other languages.
- Is it possible for elementary school, middle school or college students to participate in the program?
The current Global Classmates program is only offered to high school students. However, we may expand our program in the future so please let us know your interest and what age range you are interested in having participate.
- I’m learning Japanese/English on my own. Can I apply to the program?
As success in the program is dependent on having a teacher who can facilitate the program with a number of students, we are only able to accept applications from schools at this time.
- I only have about ten students that can participate in the program. Can I still apply?
Yes. However, in order for us to maintain a certain quality standard, acceptance to the program will be dependent on if another school with a similar number of participating students is available.
- Is it possible to participate with two or more classes?
In general, participation is for one class (20~30 students). To maintain the quality of the program, schools are paired with class size taken into consideration, so it is possible that a partner class cannot be found for a very large class. We are able to discuss it on a case by case situation so please contact us.
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- (For schools in Japan) The teacher has not been assigned to the class yet. Is it possible to still apply?
Yes. However, it is necessary to let us know the assigned teacher by April, when the phone interview is conducted.
- (For schools in Japan) I’m considering having my third year students participate. Due to entrance exams, they can only participate until December. Can I still apply?
We require everyone to participate for the entirety of the program, September to February. If there will be a long period of time that students cannot participate, we may be unable to accept your application.
- I want to gather students after school to participate in the program. Some students have club activities and may not be able to participate every week. Can I still apply if the students are not the same each week?
You can still apply to the program. However, it is necessary to continuously participate in the program, so the preference is given to schools participating as a class or club activity. Furthermore, although it is most ideal for schools to join the program as a class, it is required that the facilitators ensure that students actively participate even as part of a club activity.
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- Can I only participate in Global Classmates one time? Or is it possible to participate the following year as well?
We have many schools participate in the program for multiple years. However, participation for the following year is not guaranteed and an application must be submitted each year for consideration.
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- My school restricts certain websites and internet usage. Would this be a problem?
It is necessary for students at school to be able to access and use the online educational exchange platform that is used for the program. In addition, it is ideal if students can access YouTube（https://www.youtube.com）and Vimeo（https://vimeo.com）as they are sometimes used in the program.