Student Exchange to Japan

The AIIU Exchange Program offers the successful applicant with a wonderful opportunity to expand their horizons.

Students who are Australian Citizens (or Permanent Residents) and are attending an Australian High School can apply to participate in the AIIU Student Exchange Program for either ten months or five months. Student exchange offers the opportunity to attend school daily, live with a volunteer host family, and experience Japanese culture first hand.

During their student exchange, participants achieve a high degree of Japanese Language Proficiency, become fluent in the language of their host country and return with memorable experiences to share with others.

Students wishing to go on exchange must be aged between 15 and 18 (must not have turned 18 prior to the departure date).  To go on exchange in 2020 you must be born from 1 April, 2002 - 31 March 2005.


Questions about your trip or how to apply? get all the answers here!

Important Dates

Find out when you have to have your application completed, as well as other important dates associated with your trip.

Program costs

Details of our costs and fees

Is Student Exchange for you?

How Does Exchange Work?

Preliminary Application

Students who are Australian Citizens (or Permanent Residents) and are attending an Australian High School can apply to participate in the AIIU Student Exchange Program for either ten months or five months.

So we can get to know you a bit better, please fill out the application form. After you have completed and submitted it, we will contact you if you have successfully progressed to the second step. 

Student Profile and Interview

Once your Preliminary Application Form has been reviewed and accepted, we will send you a Student Profile Package and an invitation to attend a one-on-one interview.

Students need to make sure that they book an appointment with their doctor ASAP as there is a TB test required that not all doctors readily perform.


If your interview was successful you will receive a congratulatory letter of acceptance in the mail that will include all the pre-departure details including information about the Pre-Departure Orientation conducted in Brisbane.

The Pre-Departure Orientation includes:

  • Meeting all the other students who will be going to Japan at the same time
  • Meeting returned students
  • Details on support within Japan and for your parents back home
  • Learn about what living in Japan will be like - an introduction to Japanese culture and lifestyle
  • How to manage issues - big and small
  • Practical advice on budgeting
  • How to make the most of your exchange experience

In Japan

Once you have arrived in Japan, you will spend a couple of days at orientation held by our reciprocal company JFIE.

In these few days they will teach you practical Japanese, an in-depth explanation of Japanese culture and lifestyle as well as excursions to practice your language skills.

After orientation you will meet your host family and the rest of the exchange is for you to make it a success. Click here to see previous students’ experiences.

Whilst you are in Japan you may have the opportunity to attend an English Camp (during summer holidays) where you can spend usually 3-5 days with Japanese students to help improve their English. Make sure you ask your counsellor in Japan for more details!

Returning Home

Before flying home to Australia all students will meet up for a closing ceremony held by JFIE.

Parents, siblings and significant others who have received prior permission may meet their student in Japan and travel after the ceremony. All other students will fly home together from the same airport.

Request an Information Pack

Please fill out the form and we will email a pack to you.

Include your address if you'd like us to post you a hard copy.

Alternatively call Shannon Krueger on 07 3347 4444

Program Costs

2019 March and August Departure
  • 5 Month Program $8000.00
  • 10 Month Program $9000.00

Fee Schedule

Once accepted on our Academic Year Program in Japan, students and parents will be asked to sign an Acceptance Agreement form.

The program fee is payable as follows:

Acceptance Deposit: a $2,000.00 non-refundable Acceptance Deposit within 2 weeks of acceptance

Final Payment: the balance of $7,000 for 10 month program or $6,000 for the 5 month program will be payable 2 months prior to departure. Payment Plans may be available on request.

Personal Spending

Past students have found that approximately AUD$80 - $120 per week is required for everyday living expenses.

This amount varies according to the amount of public transport you require, the current exchange rate and of course how carefully you monitor your own spending. This cost will cover your school uniform, school books, daily transportation, school lunches and some spending money for clothes, souvenirs etc. $4500 is an estimated spending amount for a 10 month program and varies with each student.

Cost includes:

  • Allocation to your school and Host Families in Japan
  • Visa application procedures and fees
  • Translation of documentation and information processing
  • Orientation activities in Australia (Does not include travel to and from orientation)
  • Comprehensive Medical and Travel Insurance
  • Return international & domestic airfares from Australia to Japan (departure and arrival ports can not be rerouted)
  • Departure taxes
  • Orientation on arrival in Tokyo, Japan, including meals whilst at Orientation
  • Return travel between Tokyo and your host area (on arrival and departure)
  • Counselling during your stay in Japan, and Support from AIIU staff for you and your parents during your exchange
  • Regular reports sent to your parents (approximately three reports are completed during the year)
  • Support and assistance from our associate organisation in Japan, JFIE, for you and your parents during your exchange

Information for Parents

The Academic Year Program is a 10 month exchange program aligned with the Japanese School Year. Successful applicants show that they are highly motivated students who are committed to becoming cultural ambassadors for AIIU and Australia.

Students with demonstrated leadership skills, commitment to promotion of international understanding and sound academic background are invited to apply.

Students completing the Academic Year Program (departing in March) are eligible to sit the Japanese Language Proficiency test held at the beginning of December while they are on Exchange. Detailed information is available on the JLPT website

Dates and Duration

2019 applications have now closed.

These dates apply to 2020.

The program choices and approximate return dates are as follows:

Approx Departure DateApprox Return Date:
10 Month Program
Approx Return Date:
5 Month Program
19th March9th January5th August
20th August12th June9th January

Your child can choose to depart for Japan mid-March (Japanese school year starts in early April) or mid-August (Japanese schools start Term 2 at the beginning of September).

**All dates are approximate and will be confirmed at your interview.

Application closing dates

DeparturePreliminary ApplicationApplication Booklet
Mid March 2020July 31st, 2019 *August 31st, 2019 *
Mid August 2020December 31st, 2019 *January 31st, 2019 *

*Late applications: contact to request consideration after the closing dates.

When will I know if I have been accepted?

Our office will notify you 4 to 6 weeks after your child’s interview of your acceptance. AIIU will send you a formal letter of acceptance and an agreement for you to sign, with an invoice for a $2,000 non-refundable deposit.

How do we prepare for departure?

AIIU Orientation – approximately 4-6 weeks prior to departure, students and their parents will be invited to attend an Orientation Day, which will be held at your nearest capital city (**depending on number of applicants you may be required to fly interstate). This day gives you the opportunity to meet other participants and to speak to some of AIIU’s returnees who have already been on one of our programs. You will also be provided with information that will help you prepare for your exchange. This orientation is compulsory and will be at your own expense.

On arrival in Japan your child will attend a 2-day Orientation near Tokyo prior to joining your Host Family.

Where will your child go to school?

Host School – your child will attend one high school in a country or a city area of Japan. AIIU does not guarantee requests for placement location. Most Japanese schools wear a uniform. You will be advised of this cost and other school related costs prior to your child’s departure (e.g. books, school excursions, etc.). Your child will also have to pay daily transportation costs to and from school. Many students travel by train; some may ride a bicycle or catch a bus.

Where will my child live?

Host Family – Your child will stay with a caring volunteer Host Family. Most Host Families in Japan are part of the Host School community. They may have the experience of staying with as many as 6 Host Families during their exchange. This will give them the opportunity to experience Japanese life in a variety of family environments.

Start your application now!