Japan Children’s Internship Program

What is the Japan Children’s Internship Program?

JCHIP sends UC Davis students to various parts of Japan to participate in the operation of children’s homes as ambassadors of international, cultural, and educational exchange.  The homes are not quite orphanages, and not quite group homes (there is no English equivalent)—they are institutions where children who cannot be cared for by their parents or relatives are given preparation for productive and successful lives.  Together with the Japanese staff and native college-student interns, UC Davis interns will share in the lives of school-age youngsters, doing chores, playing games, and overseeing activities.  As an intern from overseas, it is important for the UC Davis student to be a model international representative and help open the children's eyes to the rest of the world.

Currently eight children’s homes in different parts of Japan accept UC Davis interns.  Homes are located in:  Kumamoto, Kyoto, Saitama, Tokyo, Fukushima, Aichi, Yokohama, and Sendai.

When is the internship?

The internship runs for 10 weeks during the summer from early July through mid September. Interns may seek this internship for academic credit and can make those arrangements with the Faculty Director:  Professor Joseph T. Sorensen (Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Japanese).  Students may also acquire units through JPN 192 (Internship in Japanese) or EAP 192 units to apply towards the Global & International Studies minor.

Who is eligible?

UC Davis students with the following criteria are eligible to apply:

*Must be a UC Davis undergraduate student
*Must have at least one quarter left before graduation upon returning from the JCHIP internship
*Must have language equivalent of at least one year (preferably two) of Japanese at the university level by the time of departure on the JCHIP internship
*Must be in good academic standing
*Must be a U.S. citizen
*Must have a current U.S. Passport by departure to JCHIP internship (passport should not expire during internship or too close to the return date)

All interested applicants MUST attend an information session before applying.

At the information sessions, former interns will share their experiences at various homes.  Interested applicants should read the reports of previous interns, which are located in binders, organized by home, in Jill Bonner’s office in 211 Sproul Hall. These reports provide more specific program expectations for each home and provide personal insight from past participants, including pictures.  Students selected as interns for this program must also attend pre-departure orientation meetings.    

Summer 2019 Information Sessions—You must attend one in order to apply!

For Summer 2019 Internships:

November 2, 2018, 5:10-6:10pm in 53A Olson 
November 9, 2018, 5:10-6:10pm in 53A Olson
January 11, 2019, 5:10-6:10pm in 53A Olson

Applications will be uploaded to the Box Drive dedicated to JCHIP 2019.  The deadline for applications will be February 8, 2018 (Fri) at 5:00pm.  Required interviews and placements will take place on February 21 and 22, 2019, and notifications will be sent out immediately after. 

How much does it cost?

Interns live at children's homes, where room and board are provided free. Transportation to and from Japan and other personal expenses are the responsibility of the intern.

How to apply

Applicants must submit the following to apply:

*A completed JCHIP Application (Must attend an info session to receive an application - see schedule above)
*An unofficial transcript
*A resume
*A statement of personal goals as they pertain to the JCHIP internship
*A letter of recommendation on official letterhead from a faculty member familiar with your work
*A completed recommendation form from someone who has knowledge of your volunteer or work experience with children or from an employer.

Selection Process

Applicants for the internship program are chosen in a competitive selection process. The Faculty Director, the Faculty Advisor, and a panel of consultants and former interns review all complete applications.  After forming preliminary rankings, the evaluators then interview the applicants and ask further questions designed to determine the applicants’ suitability for the positions, in terms of personality, commitment, working with children, previous experience in culturally demanding environments, training in or familiarity with the Japanese language and culture, and general level of maturity and responsibility.  Slots at homes are filled in consultation with former interns and applicant desires.  At times, waiting-list alternates have been able to participate when originally selected applicants became unable to participate. 

Other items for consideration


UC Davis interns, by living together with the children at the Japanese children's home institutions, will significantly deepen their knowledge of Japanese language and culture. Moreover, their daily presence will stimulate the curiosity of the children and provide an opportunity for a cultural exchange. We believe that the interns' example will inspire the future hopes of the children at these institutions.


*The interns will reside in Japanese style rooms in most cases.
*The interns will be assigned to a specific section where they will interact with the children in all phases of daily life.
*Any problems that arise will be solved through mutual consultation.
*Details of daily schedules will be determined on an individual basis.
*Interns will be responsible for their own medical insurance and any other medical expenses. (You must have proof of international coverage before you leave the U.S.)
*Interns are responsible for their own transportation and miscellaneous expenses.
*Each institution will provide room and board for the duration of the internship (10 weeks).
*In order to receive credit, interns must submit a completed Transcript Notation packet to the Internship and Career Center upon completion of the internship.  See the following for more information:


The children at the institutions are both mentally and physically able to participate in normal activities.  The UC Davis interns should keep in mind, however, that some children who appear to be normal and cheerful may in fact have experienced personal difficulties before coming to these institutions and will be suffering from severe emotional wounds.

The children sometimes behave badly (bullying, being rude, uncooperative, etc.) because they have not been able to live with their own parents or maintain normal relationships with other adults from whom they might absorb normal social behavior. The interns, under the direction of the staff at each home, will be expected to guide the children to behave properly and help build trusting relationships.

Interns will be helping out with the children's daily routines, meals, schoolwork, plus any other duties necessary to maintain the home and a generally supportive environment. A lot of time will also be devoted to entertaining and playing with the children. The greatest need of these children, as is true almost everywhere, is the attention necessary to make them feel connected to the outside world. 


There are binders for each participating JCHIP home in Jill Bonner’s office in 211 Sproul Hall.  Drop in during business hours to read reports from previous interns and browse through their pictures. The binders should provide more specific program expectations for each home and give you personal insight from past participants.  Slideshow presentations for each home will be accessible via SmartSite for those who attend one of the information sessions.  

Contact Information

Professor Joseph T. Sorensen
Faculty Director
316 Sproul Hall
(530) 752-0313

Professor Nobuko Koyama
Faculty Advisor
311 Sproul Hall
(530) 752-0334