How to Apply for The Japanese Exchange Program

Submitted by Ashlyn Simonson, VP of Public Relations

If you want to apply for the Japanese Exchange Program, there are a few things you should know first. First, you have to fall within a certain age range to qualify. To check, go to the National FCCLA website, look under the Engage tab, and click Japanese Exchange. If you qualify, and are interested, you can then find the application by clicking on the link for Youth For Understanding under Resources. Once at the website, click login in the upper left corner. Then make an account to start your application. There are several steps to fill it out.

Personal Info

The first step is to fill out your personal information. This includes your name, birthday, address, contact info, and legal info (place of birth, etc.). This step is very easy and pretty straightforward.


During this step, you will fill out which scholarship you are applying for. By applying for the FCCLA/Kikkoman scholarship, you are automatically applying for short term summer exchange to Japan. The Kikkoman is a full ride, so you don’t need to apply for any financial needs or employment scholarships on this page. 

My Family

This step is just filling out all the same kind of information as the first step, but for your guardians and siblings. 

School & Language

The next step is filling out the information for your school, such as address and contact info. Then you fill out what year in school you are, and your favorite subjects and why. Finally, it asks for your native language and any studied languages, as well as how long you’ve studied it, and your fluency levels. 

About Me

For this step, you just have to answer some questions about your interests and personality! There are some general personality questions, and then questions about what music you’re interested in, the sports you play, any group activities you do, other hobbies you enjoy, and how you spend your time with your family and friends. This is a really easy and fun section, so don’t stress about your answers!

Placement Info

The sixth step asks if you have any restrictions that would dictate your ability to live in certain houses. These questions include pet allergies, health restrictions, religion, and eating habits/restrictions (allergies, vegetarianism, etc.)

Direct Placement

For the Kikkoman Scholarship, just click ‘No’ for this step.

Letter to Host Family

To complete this step, first download the form linked in the box. This form will tell you the criteria for your letter. Pro Tip: Type out your letter before you write it. This will help you organize your thoughts, and it will also prevent spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Next, you will need to submit five photos of you with your friends and family, and a headshot. These, along with the letter, will be shown to prospective host families. It also gives you the opportunity to caption your pictures, which I definitely recommend doing. 

Emergency Contact

This step speaks for itself. You just need to fill out an Emergency Contact. The only requirement is that this person can’t live with you. 


This is the hardest step of the application process. There are three short answer questions with a max limit of 500 words. The essay prompts each have multiples questions to answer, so I suggest that you use note cards to outline your answers. Write the answers for each question, as well as any writing points you wish to cover. This will make writing the essays a lot less intimidating, and ensures you don’t forget anything. 


All you have to do for this step is fill out your preferred airport to fly out of if/when you fly to Japan.

Application Fee

This step is just filling out credit card info and paying the $75 application fee. However, you won’t be able to pay the fee until all the steps are completed.


Once all the aforementioned steps are completed and the application fee is paid, multiple document links will appear once you refresh the page. You will have to download and complete all of these documents, with a few exceptions. This includes things like for short term exchange, your guardian can fill out the health form, and you don’t need a doctor’s signature on it. You also don’t need your transcripts. 

Once your documents are completed, you’re done! Now all that’s left to do is wait for notice of the acceptance of your application. Good luck!