Frequently Asked Questions

What is ISC?

International Student Conferences, Inc. (ISC) is a non-profit organization located in Washington, DC. It facilitates three academic and cultural exchange programs organized by university students: the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) launched in 1934 and the Korea-America Student Conference (KASC) launched in 2008. In 2012, it launched the US-Japan-Korea Trilateral Forum, a week-long program for its JASC/KASC Executive Committee Members, and the China-America Student Conference (ChASC) launched in 2020. To learn more about ISC, please visit their page.

Each conference invites students with diverse backgrounds from each of the two countries to spend an intense month living, traveling, and studying together. These delegates will collaborate with leaders in business, academia, and government on contemporary social, economic, and political issues that face both of their countries and the world as a whole.

Each conference is managed by Executive Committee members (students who were elected by their peers from the previous conference) from both countries who work in collaboration with ISC, Inc. in Washington, DC. JASC also works in partnership with the International Education Center in Tokyo.

What goes on at the Conference?

During the Conference, delegates will participate in both Online and In-Person Programming including academic roundtable discussions, cultural and social events, lectures and panel presentations. These experiences will provide a foundation for mutual understanding, social awareness, cultural sensitivity, and exchange of ideas. More importantly, the bonds that will form as a result of the students living and working together will offer the basis for life-long friendships that will further strengthen the ties between the countries.

Japan and the U.S. alternate hosting the Conference each year. This year’s conference, JASC 75, will take place in Japan.

Where do we learn more about the roundtables?https://jascus.org/roundtables/ has all roundtable descriptions. We have weekly roundtable introductions on Instagram and YouTube every Sunday and AEC RT leader Instagram story takeovers the following Monday, so please keep an eye out for those!

Do you interact with students from the other roundtables? Or just the one you’re in?
You will have opportunities to interact with members of your roundtable and other roundtables! For example, in pre-conference roundtable meetings, socials, free time, and activities/programming.

Will we have opportunities to practice speaking Japanese?

Yes! These opportunities may manifest in the form of free time, language practice sessions, and more. Although the official language of the conference is English, people have learnt more about Japanese and practiced the language. And, since JASC75 will be in Japan, you will probably also have opportunities to practice in the country itself with help from other delegates. You will also have JASC buddies, who will be paired depending on interests including interest in practicing English/Japanese.

Will there be opportunities for self-led discussions?

Yes. For example, in JASC74 (recaps available on Instagram and Facebook), delegates led discussions on topics they were interested in. You can also have informal discussions during your free time. Moreover, our roundtable leaders are all very interested in hearing from and discussing topics of interest to delegates so you will probably also have opportunities within your roundtables or pre-conference programming to lead discussions.

What does the day-to-day schedule look like? Is it busy for certain days and then you get weekends off?

There’s always something for each day. For a better idea of the day-to-day schedule, we recommend you check out the JASC74 recaps on Instagram (and Facebook).

Any accommodations for allergies?

Yes! Please let us know beforehand about any allergies so we can accommodate as much as possible (e.g., for food allergies).

Application Process

Who are the delegates, and how are they selected?

Delegates are college students (undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D. programs) from a diverse range of majors and backgrounds. All conferences are conducted in English, so students must be proficient in the language. Each year, the Executive Committee (students who were elected by their peers from the previous year’s conference) reviews applications and selects students based on their application materials. The selection process may differ slightly every year due to new Executive Committees being elected after each conference.

Is there a major requirement?

No! We pride ourselves in coming from diverse backgrounds – from Environmental Science to Data Science to Economics to East Asian Studies and everything in between.

Can you accommodate disabilities?

International Student Conferences, Inc. (ISC) prohibits discrimination against and harassment of any applicant or delegate because of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status (special disabled veterans, disabled veterans and Vietnam-era veterans), or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. All persons who are responsible for reviewing and accepting applicants are charged to support this effort and to respond promptly and appropriately to any concerns that are brought to their attention. You may contact the ISC office directly with any questions or concerns, or to report a problem.

If you are applying for JASC and have a disability that requires accommodations (wheelchair accessible housing, need for sign language translator, etc.) or questions regarding accommodations, please contact ISC at info@iscdc.org directly as soon as possible to discuss options.

Can I still apply to JASC if…

  • I do not have a Japanese/American background —Yes! JASC does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, marital status or sexual orientation.
  • I am not fluent in Japanese —Yes. The official Conference language is English.
  • I am a graduate student/Ph.D. candidate —Yes! All students attending an accredited university during the 2022-2023 academic year are eligible.
  • I am a college senior about to graduate —Yes! As long as you are enrolled as a university student at the time of application, you are eligible.
  • I am a JASC/KASC/ChASC alumni —Yes! You can either apply for the same conference again or another conference (facilitated by ISC) as long as you are still enrolled as a student.
  • I previously applied and was not accepted —Yes! Same as above.
  • I am not an American citizen —Yes. However, you must have a visa that allows you to travel in the host country for the duration of the program. Applicants who will require a visa to enter Japan upon arrival are responsible for obtaining the requisite documents themselves prior to the start of the conference. ISC and the American Executive Committee are available to help applicants through the visa process. Click here for a list of passports which allow visa-free entry into Japan. For further questions, please contact ISC (info@iscdc.org) as well as your country’s respective consulate or embassy.

    If you are a Japanese citizen enrolled in an American university, please apply through our website with ISC. If you are a Japanese citizen enrolled in a Japanese university, please apply through the International Education Center (IEC) in Tokyo at https://kjass.net/jasc-japan/.
  • I am a student who is taking part in an one-year exchange program to an American University/College—A Japanese student who is currently studying in an American institution as part of an exchange program is qualified to apply as an American delegate. However, the duration of the exchange program should last one year or longer, and the student is required to be enrolled as a full-time student.

    Japanese applicants who meet the above criteria will be reviewed alongside American applicants with the same standards set by the American Executive Committee. Please note that JASC is a rigorous academic program conducted in English, and that all delegates are expected to write essays and engage in academic discussions at a level equivalent to American college students. You will at least need an English ability equivalent of TOEFL iBT 102-108 or IELTS 7.5.

Can multiple people be accepted from a university or is it 1 person per university?

Multiple. We don’t have any university quotas!

Will my disinterest in a certain roundtable affect my application?

No! We will do our best to place you in your preferred roundtable, but it is not guaranteed. (We will also do our best to not place you in a roundtable you would not like to be in, but that is not guaranteed either.)

I’m a freshman. Is my highschool transcript okay?

Yes!

Do students without recommendation letters usually get accepted?

Students have been accepted without recommendation letters (but having them never hurts!). It is optional.  

Should the resume be kept to 1 page, or is it okay if it is longer?

It’s okay if your resume is longer!

Can I miss part of the Conference?

Short answer: no. If you are accepted as an American delegate, you are required to participate in all programming during American Orientation and the Conference. There will also be pre-conference programming and activities including roundtable meetings.

For the In-Person Conference, you are required to arrive at Los Angeles for American Orientation on July 30, 2023 and participate in the Conference until August 26, 2023.

Please feel free to reach out to us at jasc@iscdc.org if you have any concerns.

When will I know the results of my application?

JASC is accepting applications on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified within two weeks of sending their completed applications on whether they have been selected for an interview. After all interviews are completed, delegate candidates will be notified within two weeks of whether they have been accepted.

Due to the limited number of spots on the delegation (28), we recommend completing your application as early as possible.

Is there a waitlist?

Yes.

Can I withdraw my application (if plans change or if I cannot secure funding)?

Yes. However, if you withdraw after acceptance into the delegation, you may have to pay a cancellation fee depending on the timing of your withdrawal. The application fee and $500 delegate deposit fee is non-refundable.

I’m having problems with my application – what can I do?

You can reach the American Executive Committee at jasc@iscdc.org or email Krislyn Massey, one of our Recruitment Coordinators, at jasc75.kmassey@gmail.com.

2023 Japan-Specific Questions

For more U.S. citizen-specific information for travel to Japan, please refer to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Japan’s website as well as the U.S. Department of State’s Japan Travel Advisory.

What is the impact of the Coronavirus on the Summer 2023 conference?

At this time, International Student Conferences, Inc. (ISC), International Education Center (IEC) in Tokyo, and the JASC75 Executive Committee Members plan to have the 75th Japan-America Student Conference in person in Japan. It is thus extremely important for prospective applicants and delegates to be mindful of COVID-19 entry and quarantine restrictions, as well as COVID mitigation measures.

As of October 11, 2022, travelers to Japan are required to show either a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate of three doses of vaccines prescribed on the Emergency Use List of World Health Organization (WHO), or a certificate of negative test result of pre-departure COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the original country/region (if unvaccinated). For the JCOVDEN intramuscular injection/Janssenand CONVIDECIA/CanSinoBiologics only in case of primary series, one dose is considered equivalent to two doses. 

Current JASC procedures require prospective delegates and delegates to submit up-to-date vaccinations of three doses or medical exemptions before the conference. Face masks are worn almost everywhere in Japan, and it is recommended to wash your hands or apply hand sanitizer frequently. The U.S. Embassy in Japan maintains a COVID-19 information page with comprehensive information and updates on COVID-19-related travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for U.S. citizens. We also strongly recommend all prospective delegates to carefully review the information on Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan’s (MOFA) website, which provides official guidance. Please note this guidance is subject to change with little notice. 

If I need to bring medication, is there anything I need to do or keep in mind?

Medicine in Japan is strictly regulated, and many types are banned such as strong sleep medicine or ADHD medication. You must submit a form to the Ministry of Health in order to bring in medication, and usually it must be given to the person in charge to keep a hold of. Of course, these are guidelines and the actual experience may differ depending on how things go. For more information about bringing medicines into Japan and how to obtain a Yunyu Kakunin-sho (previously referred to as “Yakkan Shoumei”) import certificate, please visit  the website of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, including the FAQ , or email yakkan@mhlw.go.jp before traveling to Japan. The Embassy of Japan in the U.S. and U.S. Embassy in Japan also maintain pages on bringing medication into Japan.

Would we need to buy and bring our own masks or would these be provided?

We recommend you buy and bring your own masks, but we will also be able to provide them if requested.

In terms of housing, is it hostel-style or hotels?

For Kyoto, we will be in a youth hostel. For Tokyo, we are currently looking into a hotel; next option is Sakura House and youth hostels. For Nagasaki, we are currently looking into hotels.

Is it recommended for us to download Line?

Yes! Many delegates use Line. Instagram is also used by many delegates – you’ll gain so many new followers through JASC.

How does payment work in Japan? What about ATMs?

Japan is a cash-heavy society, so we recommend bringing a coin wallet or small bag because you will have lots of coins. Most places do take cards; however, if you forget to let your bank know before you travel to Japan or your card is incompatible, it will not work. There are many konbinis around that have ATMs. The popular ones for IC (international card) are Lawson and 7/11. A small fee is charged which is around 1-2 USD. The train card SUICA and other online payments in Japan can be used if you know how to properly do it.

Would you recommend exchanging USD to Japanese yen at our personal banks beforehand in the US or at a 7/11 in Japan?

We would recommend doing it at the airport; however, since we are traveling together, keep in mind that there may not be time to exchange money when we land in Japan. If you want to exchange in the USA, there are currency exchanges in most big malls and if you go to your bank, they can also exchange/order yen to be exchanged for you. 

Finances

What is the participation fee, and what does it cover?

For JASC American Delegates: $3,500

This fee covers transportation between sites during the Conference, accommodations, food, and programming. Delegates are responsible for personal expenses (extra food, gifts, etc.) as well as transportation to Los Angeles for American Orientation (AO), and transportation home from Los Angeles when we return from Japan.

Does ISC provide any financial aid?

Through the Plant a Diplomatic “Tree” Scholarship Fund, ISC will provide one scholarship for each of its facilitated Conferences, including JASC. This scholarship will cover the full $3,500 participation fee (but does not cover delegate transport to the American Orientation site or from the final conference site). More details will be provided in January when we finalize our delegation. For more information regarding finances and a list of potential scholarships, please click here. Please contact ISC at info@iscdc.org or the JASC American Executive Committee at jasc@iscdc.org for any financial inquiries.

How many people usually receive scholarships?

~60-80% of delegates usually receive full or partial scholarships. However, only one delegate will be sponsored by ISC.

How much would you recommend we bring?

We recommend bringing spending money of around $175-250, but the amount is up to you. Delegates will be covered for 3 meals a day, but some delegates also may want to supplement their meals depending on the amount they eat.

What is PayPal Giving Fund (PPGF) and why is it used for online payment?

PayPal Giving Fund (PPGF) is a 501(c)3 public charity that uses PayPal technology to financially support nonprofits, without charging donors or charities for our services. Through PPGF, PayPal covers all fees, meaning 100% of your payment goes directly to Conference expenses and 0% to fees.

Outreach

How can I stay in touch with JASC or ISC?

ISC can be reached at info@iscdc.org. Additionally, their events page lists all upcoming events for those interested in staying involved. Please also check out their social media accounts for updates on alumni events, fundraisers, job-hunting resources and more! You can check out JASC social media accounts for updates on the conference.

JASC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JASCUSA

JASC Instagram: @jasc_official.us

JASC YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUHpUXNgFFDpGeIQCWsI2Ng

ISC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ISCDC

ISC Instagram:@isc_dc

ISC Twitter: @isc_dc

Check out the social media accounts of other student conferences facilitated by ISC!

ChASC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChASC2020

ChASC Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chasc_official/

KASC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KoreaAmericaStudentConference

KASC Instagram: @kasc_usofficial

How else can I contribute to ISC/JASC?

Please consider donating to ISC to support our student leaders and programming for future conferences. More information about what donations are used for can be found here. If you are interested in housing our delegates or hosting events during conferences, please contact the ISC office directly.