Winter Empowerment Programs

Winter Program participants serve as group leaders at various high schools and educational institutions in Japan to help local students better understand self-empowerment, critical thinking, and English communication.

Program Objectives

Provide Group Leaders the opportunity to gain practical experience in the area of international education and cross-cultural communication.
Provide a stage for Group leaders to develop skills and techniques that will be important to careers in the burgeoning international workplace.
Provide the opportunity for Group Leaders to understand differing work ethics through the Japanese cultural context

The international winter program not only considers your professional development but more importantly your personal development.

We send participants on a once in a lifetime experience that will give them a very personal experience with the Japanese culture.
During winter programs, participants immerse themselves in the Japanese culture, make lifelong friendships, and learn a great deal about themselves.
The benefits of having an overseas experience and breaking through your comfort zone.
How does it work?

Each week Group Leaders are sent to different locations throughout Japan. There they will stay with a Japanese host family or stay in a hotel. Group Leaders spend 3-5 days at the participating school.

Each time the program is directed by facilitators who lead Group Leaders and Japanese students by providing various empowerment themes and lessons. Group Leaders get together in small groups with students and discuss varying viewpoints and examine ways to make use of empowerment skills personally.

While the curriculum provides an opportunity to explore themes and learn about critical thinking, volunteers also have the unique opportunity to inspire Japanese students to pursue their own passions, goals, and aspirations through their own viewpoints and stories.

Primary responsibilities and requirements
  • Attend pre-departure orientation session (location to be confirmed)
  • Read and respond to all pre-departure material related to Japanese culture and program features
  • Attend orientation program in Japan prior to commencement of program
  • Act as facilitator to students on projects and small group discussions
  • Share from life experiences to teach, inspire and motivate students
  • Prepare for various discussions by reviewing handouts and videos
  • Participate in various activities with students
  • Comply with all rules and regulations established by ISA Australia/ISA (Japan)
  • Japanese language proficiency is not required
Program costs covered by ISA
  • Airfare: round trip ticket to Japan from Australia (travel to departure airport not included)
  • Inbound Travel insurance: Overseas travel insurance included
  • Residency: homestay or hotel
  • Meals: all meals on program days, all meals but lunch on non-program days
  • Transportation in Japan: school commute (personal travel is not covered)
  • Salary: no salary provided.

Who Can Apply

Applicants must currently be enrolled at a Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane-based university, in either a postgraduate or undergraduate program (required to show a valid university ID) or be a recent graduate that meets one of the following requirements to qualify:

  • If the applicant will graduate after semester 1, 2021, the applicant must be accepted to a graduate program for semester 2, 2021 enrolment and must show proof in the form of an admission letter.
  • However, if an applicant graduates after semester 1, 2021, and cannot show proof of acceptance to a graduate program for semester 2, 2021, their application will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • OR
  • If the applicant will graduate at the end of semester 2, 2021 or after, admission to a graduate school is not required.

*Please note that while ISA Australia screens and selects applicants for ISA (Japan), selected participants are not 'hired' by ISA Australia or ISA (Japan).*

Still unsure? Check out our FAQ section below.

Program overview

The key features of the content is to challenge Japanese high school students to be more independent thinkers who are better equipped to excel personally.

Through lectures and small group discussions, Japanese students will examine and discuss various topics and participate in projects and presentations.

The program encourages students to value personal responsibility for choices as the key to happiness and contributing value to local and global societies.



Apply for your Winter Program in Japan Now

How to apply

Submit the following to: , or use our simple application form.

Please upload .pdf files only.

  • Letter of Interest (why you would like to take part in this volunteer opportunity; availability and program(s) interested in)
  • Resume (include year of study, major, work experience, volunteer experience, etc)
  • Two professional and/or academic references (address, email address, and contact number)
2021 Submission Deadline
  • Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane: TBC
2021 Interview Dates
  • TBC
Application Form

    Your departure city:

    I have supporting documents to upload:

    Upload your documentation here

    Letter of Interest:


    Any further documentation:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I need to be an Australian citizen?

    Not necessarily. We are open to people of all nationalities and cultures who study at the universities included in our scope. You will however need to be a full-time student with at least a near-native level English proficiency.

    Do you accept applications from Japanese citizens studying in Australia?

    If you are a full-time university student studying at a university in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane with near-native to native English capabilities your application will be considered.

    Do I need to pay anything to go on this trip?

    For the most part, no. ISA will cover your flights costs, arrange a hotel or homestay for you, and will pay for your transportation costs to and from your place of teaching. ISA will also cover most meals but you will be required to pay for lunch on non-program days. Any personal travel expenses however will not be covered.

    Do I have a choice as to where I will be placed?

    No. You will be moved between multiple locations throughout Japan to service the schools that have asked for an empowerment program to be held for their students.

    I want to stay longer. What happens to my flights?

    If you want to stay in Japan outside of the program dates, you are welcome. Outside of the program dates, you are expected to cover all your own costs and in some circumstances you will be required to purchase your own flights.  The below scenarios will give you a quick idea:

    Arrive in Japan with Group and depart later = You will need to pay for your flight back to Australia

    Arrive in Japan before the main group depart at same time = You will need to pay for the full return airfare

    Arrive in Japan before main group depart later = You will need to pay the full return airfare

    Does my major or area of study matter?

    No. We accept applications from any universities included in our scope regardless of your major.

    Do I need to have teaching qualifications?

    No. Whilst teaching qualifications will give your application more weight over others that don’t, it is not a requirement. We are looking for people with a passion for Japan, who have good people skills, are outgoing and want to share their experiences with others.

    Do I need to supply written references for my application?

    This is optional. You are welcome to supply written references from academic staff or employers, but contact details of two referees is the minimum we require.

    What is the application process?

    After the paper recruiting process, applicants will be shortlisted and invited to an interview to be held at a venue in your city in August and September. If successful, you will be invited back at a later stage for another session with ISA Australia staff in late November for orientation before departure in December.

    I want to fly to another country before going home/coming to Japan, will you cover my airfare?

    No. We will only cover the cost of your  return airfare to and from your home city to Japan.