DCE Intern: Home Stay with Ibaraki Christian


I recommend brushing up on your Shogi before travelling to Japan. This is a game similar to checkers and chess. It helps if you know kanji before hand but the more you play the more you will become familiar with this unique game. Cllick the image to see the rules.

Before you become an intern at IC you are given a choice of living with a home stay family or living in an apartment. Both choices have terrific benefits during the internship.

I jumped at the opportunity to stay with a family during my two month stay in Ibaraki for my internship at DCE. I am learning to speak and write a new language with the parents, I eat delicious foods around Ibaraki at places like Mito, Kasama and Hitachi, and I have introduced their son to ukulele. Visiting different attractions have been incredible such as the Mito City Tower.

The family have a study school on the property. The mother works hard to teach students English, mathematics, science, history, geography and much more. I read manga like Naruto for a break while enjoying milk and Japanese snacks. This provides an extra teaching opportunity with younger students.

The ritual every morning for my home stay family is centered around the breakfast table. I am thankful for every meal. Each and every morning you wake up, you say good morning and thank the family for cooking the meal. On weekends we go out to see my host brothers soccer game. It helps to be interested in soccer, and show a genuine interest in the interests and hobbies the family enjoy doing too.

I asked another intern, Martin Chan about their home stay experience. He compares the quality of the food as a feast, better than a restaurant. My home stay family are accommodating and kind.

Thank you for this incredible opportunity. I have been given the opportunity to understand what it is like to live like a Japanese person day to day.

What are Students like at Ibaraki Christian?

Many applicants wonder what the students at Ibaraki Christian University are like. After all, as an intern you spend most of your time working with students in small groups during chat hour, one on one for English homework help and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) preperation, and in English Conversation Classes every week.

Future interns might be afraid that the students won’t be very friendly, won’t be interested in talking to them, or so on. But I can absolutely reassure you that this is not the case.

Students playing Pictionary while waiting for cookies to bake in Chat Hour.

After asking each of the current interns and one of the teachers to give me one word describing the students at Ibaraki Christian, we came up with this list:

  • Adorable
  • Hardworking
  • Shy
  • Wonderful
  • Sweethearts
  • Friendly

The students can certainly be quiet and reserved during chat hour, and there will be times when you have to sit and stare at each other and wait until they finally feel so uncomfortable that they say something. But if you put in the effort to get to know the students, do fun activities with them, and above all, be patient with them, they will slowly become more comfortable and more active in trying to speak with you. It’s rarely that they don’t want to talk with you, but simply that they’re nervous about talking in English.

Students playing Lizzete’s Battle Royale Game!

They’re also more than happy to make friends with you! Be warned, students have very busy schedules–if you ask them what they’re doing on the weekend or on a given evening, the answer will more often than not be something like “studying for my three tests next week”, “working at my part time job”, “going to a make up class” or so on. But if you ask to hang out, chances are they will want to when they have time.

Interns and students enjoying dinner at CoCo’s.

I’ve gone to Licca-chan Castle with a student and her mother, gone out to karaoke with students, gone shopping with students, gone out to eat with students, gone sightseeing with them, gone to cat cafes with them, and even gone to Tokyo for a day trip with them. Each and every time was a wonderful experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Miho and Brianna when we visited Hananuki Dam.

You don’t have to worry about not getting along with the students when you come–only how much you’ll miss them when you leave.