Top 5 Organizations International Students in Japan Should Join -Be Out There and Broaden Your Horizons-

April 01, 2020 8 min read

Want to broaden your horizons and meet new people in Japan but aren’t sure where exactly to start? We have curated a list of the top five organizations that host events and social spaces for international students.

Author: Brooke Jackson |  Publish Date: 1 April 2020

Want to broaden your horizons and meet new people in Japan but aren’t sure where exactly to start? Perhaps you’re new to Japan and want to establish yourself in a new city, OR maybe you’ve lived here for years and are looking for a change of pace. Whatever the circumstances, we have curated a list of the top five organizations that host events and social spaces for international students.

With dozens of gatherings held on a monthly basis in the nation's capital alone, there’s sure to be an event to satisfy the interests of all international students. It’s time to get out there and get your social fix.

Why are joining programs or events so important?

Attending events and participating in activities outside of your school or work circle is a great way to build and become accustomed to new environments. Social events provide students with a place to network, create new friendships and expand their social circle, because let’s face it, getting out and about and getting social does wonder for our health and well-being. It can be especially true when trying to catch a breath for yourself amid the hustle and bustle that comes with living in a capital city. 

  1. AIESEC  (AIESEC ・NPO法人アイセック・ジャパン)


What is AIESEC?

Founded shortly after World War II in 1948, AIESEC is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation that aims to equip young people from all over the world with an environment to develop their leadership and interpersonal skills through international internships and volunteering opportunities. AIESEC believes that youth leadership is not an option, but our responsibility. As of 2020, AIESEC has 40,000+ members and 1,000,000+ alumni in 120+ countries and territories worldwide.

Mission and Value

AIESEC focuses on four qualities to develop future world leaders:

‘In AIESEC, we believe that youth are the key to shaping a better future. Through each and every experience we provide, we strive to develop youth leaders with the following qualities.’

  • Ability to Empower Others: Communicates clearly, engages in meaningful conversations and creates spaces that empower others to take action.
  • Solution-Oriented: Flexible, ready to take risks, and actively finds solutions to challenges.
  • World Citizen: Aware of global events and enjoys taking an active role in contributing towards making it a better place for everyone.
  • Self Aware: Understands personal strengths, lives by his/her values and constantly explores passion

What they do and why:

AIESEC members volunteer in countless regions throughout the world and target several social and environmental issues that plague our world. AIESEC understands the importance of supporting the United Nations’ ‘sustainable development goals’ (SDG’s). Some of these SDGs include ‘No Poverty’, ‘Quality Education’, ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ and ‘Gender Equality.’

Simply put, there is nothing this organization doesn’t do. Through one of AIESEC’s many international opportunities, you too could be working towards a brighter and enriched future for all. Check out the opportunities they are currently offering on their official page here.

  1. JEMUN (Japan English Model United Nations,日本英語模擬国連 )


What is the Japan English Model United Nations?

Established in 2017, Japan English Model United Nations, or JEMUN for short, is Japan's leading and most innovative United Nations and digital journalism simulation conference. 

JEMUN’s events are held annually and can be attended by both high school and university students from all over the world.

Mission and Value

‘establish, strengthen, and expand networks for international dialogue between students, educators, and businesses.’

What they do and why:

According to JEMUN’s official website, the organization aims to integrate academic knowledge into practical application and build a platform for meaningful communication between students, educators, and businesses. Each year JEMUN’S conferences are held with a different theme and different accompanying issues for students to tackle. In 2019, the conference theme was Climate Change & Disasters. Although there is a real emphasis on sustainability, SDG’s and climate action in JEMUN’s conferences, the organization also holds events that cater to other areas including business and journalism. JEMUN journalism calls for both high school and university students to take part in digital journalism. Roles include video journalists, photojournalists, videographers and editorial cartoonists.

Unfortunately, all of JEMUN’s events that were scheduled to be held throughout 2020 have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently sweeping the world. Events will continue in 2021 as planned and no additional changes will be made for the foreseeable future. Keep your eyes peeled for details about their next scheduled events here.

  1. AFS (American Field Service: Volunteer Program, 公益財団法人 AFS日本協会)


What is AFS?

American Field Service (AFS) ‘AFS is an international, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to students from all over the world. Through these educational experiences, AFS wants to provide people with a place to develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. AFS has programs in 99 countries worldwide and is also officially partnered with UNESCO.

Mission and Value

AFS welcomes all of those with a hunger for working with and helping others:

‘AFS is an inclusive community of global citizens from students, families and volunteers determined to build bridges between cultures.’


What they do and why:

AFS offers multiple programs and volunteering opportunities depending on the region. In Japan, AFS offers opportunities to experience studying abroad, international exchange camps and living with a host family. AFS also offers students the option to apply for the ‘Mitsubishi Corporation High School Student Overseas Scholarship,’ a fully-funded scholarship for the AFS program has been launched. The annual dispatch program starts in 2021 (68th term) and will recruit 60 scholars to study in Japan. 

Although most of these opportunities are offered exclusively to high school students, there are still certain experiences university or language school students can apply for. To ensure whether or not you’re eligible for a specific program, please check the programs listed on the website here. It is also possible to search for a program that matches your criteria by entering your information into the program searcher here.

  1. Hult Prize Foundation  (ハルトプライズ 非政府団体(NGO))


What is Hult Prize?

Hult Prize is an international business competition partnered with the United Nations and is the world's biggest learning platform, enabling the new generation to deliver social change through education and entrepreneurship. In 2020, Hult Prize challenges teams globally to build bold businesses that (1) have a positive net impact on the environment with every sale completed, a dollar earned, and a decision made and (2) reach no fewer than a million consumers within a decade.

Mission and Value

Hult Prize’s motto is simple but impactful: 

‘Leading a Generation to Change the World.’


What they do and why:

Hult Prize launches aspiring entrepreneurs into one of the largest international business competitions in the world. Competing teams have the opportunity to go through a series of stages, with those who successfully win their university’s On-Campus advancing their idea to one of +30 Regional Final rounds of competition. The Hult Prize Foundation will then award one million US dollars in the state capital to the team of students that develops the most radical and breakthrough idea to solve one of our world’s toughest social challenges. If you are a university student, chances are you may already have a Hult Prize group at your school. If not, start one! You can create your own Hult Prize group by applying to be your own university's campus director. Take the first step towards positive social change by joining the Hult Prize movement here, and the next one million US dollars could be yours!

  1. Japan Foundation  (ジャパンファウンデーション 国際交流基金)


What is Japan Foundation?

Based in central Tokyo, the Japan Foundation is recognized as being Japan’s one and only institution that is solely dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world. The foundation was established in 1972 and has been connecting international students with Japanese language and culture ever since.

Mission and Value

The Japan Foundation mission is...

‘Cultivating friendship and ties between Japan and the World.’


What they do and why:

The Japan Foundation provides three specialty fields of opportunities: Arts and Cultural Exchange (Culture), Japanese Language Education Overseas (Language) and Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange (Dialogue). These three speciality areas enable students to immerse themselves into the study area of their choosing. Applicants who are successful become eligible for grants, research scholarships, Japanese-language training programs, and other forms of support.
Although Japan Foundation is headquartered in Tokyo, the foundation has an international network spanning 25 overseas offices in 24 countries. These locations include London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, São Paulo, Sydney, New York, and Los Angeles.

To learn more about the Japan Foundation’s locations, programs and upcoming events, please refer to their official website here.

These are just a few of the many organizations that hold events that are open to international students who are looking to branch out, meet like-minded people or even work for a cause larger than oneself.


Other Applications or Platforms:

If none of these tickle your fancy, below are several other event and activity platforms:


Meetup: If events hosted by organizations aren't really your scene, popular application ‘Meetup’ might have just what you’re looking for. This application connects people through events, most of which are hosted by the wider community and are open to everyone. With multiple new events of all sizes posted daily, there is definitely something for everyone. Meetup has both a smartphone application as well as a web page which can be accessed here.


Eventbrite Japan: Much like Meetup, Eventbrite Japan is another popular website that allows people to access event information and participate in both private and community gatherings. Eventbrite Japan displays a lot of events that are organized by both Japanese and foreign residents, meaning that there is no shortage of events in Japanese, English and other foreign language speakers. Eventbrite focuses emphasis on cultural and language exchange but also has events like group activities and trips to visit the sea or hike. Check out Eventbrite Japan’s website here to learn more.


Facebook Events: One Platform that isn’t utilized half as much as it should be is the Events page on Facebook. Chances are, you already have a Facebook account, but you may not be using one of its most useful functions. Facebook is home to a wide variety of events and social gatherings. Facebook’s Events page can be accessed here. Be sure to check your location and filters before browsing for events!

Now that we have listed all of the major platforms, it’s time for you to mingle and enjoy your time as a student here in Japan. But remember, there are always going to be new places to explore, events to attend and people to meet!

JPort Student Support Team
We create Borderless Japan

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