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About the MSHSE Program

Study abroad isn't just for those in college! Learn about how you can study in Shiga, Japan as a Michigan high school students as a part of the Michigan-Shiga High School Exchange (MSHSE).

MSHSE - INL 1.pngWhat is the program?

The Michigan-Shiga High School Exchange is a longstanding two-way exchange program in which 15 Michigan high school students and 15 Shiga students come together to experience each others' cultures and school lives together.

The program is broken into two parts. For the first part, our Michigan students are given the unique opportunity to stay with a student from Shiga Prefecture, Japan for two weeks in the summer. They attend school with their Shiga hosts and spend time experiencing daily life and Japanese culture with their host families. The second part begins in September, when the Shiga students visit Michigan for two weeks and stay with the family of the student they hosted, allowing for a reciprocal exchange of culture, language, and friendship.

Hundreds of Michigan high school students have traveled to Japan and hosted their Japanese friends since the exchange began in 1990, contributing to the mutual understanding and appreciation that exists between our two great states and countries. Originally coordinated by the Michigan Board of Education, the program is now administered by the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU).

MSHSE - INL 3.jpgAm I eligible?

In order to participate in the program, you must meet the feeling criteria:

  • Currently attending a Michigan high school
  • Be in grade 9, 10, or 11 at the time you apply
  • Be open-minded and flexible
  • Submit a hard-copy of the application by the second Friday in March

Program activities

Student and Parent Orientation

All students and parents are required to attend an orientation in East Lansing. During this orientation, students and parents have an opportunity to meet each other, the chaperons, past participants, program administrators and committee members. The orientation will cover a variety of topics including:

  • Japanese culture and etiquette
  • An introduction to Shiga Prefecture, the sister state of Michigan
  • What to expect while in Japan
  • What to expect while hosting in Michigan

Travel to Shiga

The fifteen selected students will travel to and from Japan together as a group chaperoned by two experienced teachers who are members of the Michigan-Shiga Student Exchange Program Committee. Parents are responsible for providing transportation for their child to the airport for departure, and picking them up from the airport upon their return. A passport is required for travel to Japan.

Homestay in Shiga

While in Japan, students will complete a home stay with a high school student in Shiga. During this home stay, the Michigan students attend school with their hosts and participate in cultural and family events. During the program, the chaperons will do site visits to each of the hosting high schools.

Homestay in Michigan

In early September, the Michigan students welcome their Japanese host students to Michigan. During their two weeks in Michigan, the Japanese students also attend school and participate in school and family activities. Two English Language instructors accompany the Japanese students.

Health and Safety

All participants will be covered by an accident and sickness program run through Michigan State University and administered by International SOS. Students are enrolled automatically by JCMU and are covered during the program dates while abroad.


Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU)

JCMU is a living/learning center in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan, with an administrative office on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. Established in 1989 through a consortium of the fifteen public universities in Michigan, JCMU has educated Michigan students in Japanese language, culture, and various other fields of study through its diverse selection study abroad programs for over two decades. JCMU is serving as the lead organizer and administrator of the high school exchange program.

Michigan-Shiga High School Exchange Program Committee

The Michigan-Shiga High School Exchange Program Committee consists of teachers and community members who are committed to cultural and educational exchange between Japan and the United States. Many members have acted as chaperons in past years or are parents of students who have participated in the exchange. This group is responsible for many of the behind the scenes aspects of the program. Participants will meet the committee members at the student and parent orientation, as well as at the farewell reception at the conclusion of the program in Michigan.