Gakko Summer Camp
What happens when high school students meet the best mentors in the world?
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Gakko is dedicated to artful design, collaborative production, and immersive world-building. Our camps educate, inspire wonder, cultivate authenticity, and reverberate generosity around the world.
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Summer camp for dreamers, visionaries and changemakers.

Every year, we gather a group of interdisciplinary industry experts, graduate students, and college students (“Sempai: 先輩”) from around the world to create a 14-day sleepaway summer camp for high school students (“Kohai: 後輩”). Through 15 camps over 7 years, Gakko Camp has impacted over 500 individuals from more than 70 nations.

Gakko Camp—
Camp collage
So you wanna be a Kohai?

Kohai 後輩

  1. People who were born after you.
  2. The high school students who attend camp, looking for “something more.”

Gakko provides scholarships to a limited number of high school students each year. Gakko Scholarship Program is competitive, and is given on first come first serve basis.

2019 Camp Applications are now closed.

Updates on the 2020 program offerings are coming soon!

Camp 2019 kenta
Camp 2019 directors
Camp 2019 lily
Kenta Koga
CEO of Gakko / Co-director of Camp 2019

Kenta Koga, CEO and Founder of Gakko, is an experience designer, a professional magician, and an entrepreneur. Previous to Gakko, Kenta worked at Palantir Technologies and Flux (Google [x] start-up) designing softwares and programming languages in Silicon Valley. Outside of work, he is passionate about kickboxing, filmmaking, and scuba diving. Kenta studied Computer Science, Graphic Design, and Theater, at Yale University.

Elizabeth (Lilly) Callahan
Co-director of Camp 2019

Lilly's professional (and personal) background is nothing if not diverse! Prior to joining the Gakko team, Lilly worked in education and non-profit, restaurant and hospitality industry, and as a consultant. She has studied Theater, Anthropology and Business. Most recently, she's been strategizing and visioning at Uber as a Workplace manager, creating spaces that support the next generation of future workers. Now, as part of the Gakko project, she is transforming the way future generations will find and be inspired by meaningful learning, connection, and experiences.

See the camps through the eyes of our past kohai

Each year, we encourage kohai to document their own personal experiences at camp using photography and the visual arts. This gallery is a glimpse into their experiences.

View Camps Gallery →
2019 Camp Creators
2019 veronica
Veronica Ma

Veronica currently attends Harvard College, where she is a student of philosophy. Particularly interested in the philosophy of mind, aesthetics, and epistemology, Veronica spends time thinking about emotions, belief, sensory perception, and beauty. When she's not doing that, Veronica likes to read and write poetry, find art in the everyday world, and practice whatever random new hobby she happens to be engrossed in (it's currently billiards). Believing in the ability of mission-driven service to expand worldview, she has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard International Review and volunteered with various education-oriented initiatives. After completing her undergraduate studies this May, Veronica will work in venture capital, bringing with her an adamant hope to continue to learn from the world and people around her.

2019 will
Will Hochman

Will is a native Brooklynite, living in New York City, working as a professional actor. In the last couple of years, he has acted off-Broadway (the staged adaptation of “Dead Poets Society” opposite Jason Sudeikis), regionally (a world premiere two-person play opposite Mary-Louise Parker), in films, and in television. He’s worked with Tony winners, Emmy winners, and Oscar winners. He most recently had a supporting role opposite Diane Lane and Kevin Costner in “Let Him Go,” an upcoming film from Focus Features. His path to acting was a bit circuitous though. It took him years to stop ignoring the nearly lifelong itch. He tried acting, finally, for the first time in his sophomore year at Colby College, before graduating with a degree in economics. But post-graduation there was a powerful call to continue to act and to tell stories and to be an artist, a question that he had to explore. So rather than pursue a traditional business career path, he took the plunge and dove head first into building his life as an actor. It has been the greatest adventure of his life. So far. When not acting, Will writes, reads, takes photographs, and directs. When not exploring the arts, Will is likely playing or watching basketball.

2019 gio
Giordano Margaglio

Giordano Margaglio is a 23-year-old student from Rome, Italy. After having graduated there with a B.A. in Global Governance, he moved to Sweden where he started an MSc in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation at Lund University. Thanks to this program, he had a chance to live in Indonesia for 3 months working as an intern for the Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center, as well as to travel to Senegal in order to gather data for his Master thesis about climate change and human mobility. His dream is the one of working for international organizations and NGOs in the field of disaster risk reduction and capacity development, with the ultimate aim of contributing to the building of a sustainable and resilient planet.
Giordano is a passionate traveller, explorer, thrill-seeker and adventure enthusiast. Find him surfing, hiking, and climbing outdoors, and calming all this adrenaline reading, painting, playing piano or writing poetry.

2019 alexa
Alexa Gantous

Alexa is a creative strategist and environmentalist focused on building social and ecological empathy through systems thinking and experiential design. Her work explores and seeks to connect the in-betweens of seemingly different ideas, people, and places. She has a BBA from Parsons School of Design and currently works telling stories of eco-innovation for Parley for the Oceans in NYC.
She is the founder of TrashTalk, and co-founder of litter rally, which both use elements of mindfulness and embodied learning as a way to help humans shift our relationship to the earth.
Alexa is originally from Mexico City, is driven by curiosity, and loves books, yoga, and a good adventure.

2019 kay
Kay Liang

Kay Liang will be graduating soon with a degree in Printmaking and a concentration in Computation, Technology, and Culture from Rhode Island School of Design. She considers her true major to be extracurriculars because she spends a lot of time outside the classroom hosting events for fellow students to share their passions and support each other in becoming agents of their education. She loves inviting her friends over for business mom inspired meals, building browser games using sprite sheets made of Sculpey and most recently, doodling on Powerpoint.

2019 ali
Aliasger (Ali) Rasheed

Ali is a photographer and designer at Simon Fraser University's School of Interactive Arts & Technology. As a maker, he is fascinated by both handmade crafts like woodworking, and virtual projects like web and video-game design. It comes together in his ethos as a designer to create things that last, and have a meaningful positive impact in people's lives. If he isn't doing that, he's probably hiking up a mountain trying to find as many captivating compositions as he can. He definitely has too much stuff with him, likely including a novel on elves & dragons and a high-school textbook on astrophysics.

Every camp is different, and is tailor-made for its participants. Here are the values we hold dear.

Educating the Heart

We believe there is a crucial, oft-forgotten intersection between learning and authentic individual development. At camp, our work reveals how educational journeys must also be personal ones. “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” — Aristotle

The Investigation

Sempai design educational workshops as “investigations” rather than “classes” so kohai can immerse themselves in learning alongside mentors. Regardless of prior experience, kohai become rigorous practitioners in a multitude of fields and launch their own academic, artistic, and personal investigations to carry with them long after they leave camp.


We approach every day at camp with curiosity. Kohai encounter unexpected surprise and inexplicable beauty as they reimagine themselves, their talent, and their responsibility to one another.

We become with each other, or not at all

This is a meeting of strangers in a strange place. We require the wholehearted collaboration of each participant in our diverse, international community to build a healthy, supportive, and productive environment.

Camp 2019 heart
Camp 2019 investigation
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Example Workshop at Camp
"Go When You're Not Ready"
By Oriana Lada, Actress

In Bali, actor Oriana taught high school students the power of "going when you’re not ready" through her clowning workshop. Over three days, students learned to be vulnerable but also courageous, engaging in various scene studies that required improvisation. Clowning isn’t just for actors. People who dream big will always be faced with spontaneous and unexpected challenges, and listening to the "clown" within themselves can help them tackle those frictions with a sense of hope, flexibility, and joy. Oriana received her MFA in Theater from Brown University and is now based in NYC.

Moments From the Past
“Clara's world has been cracked open…

…she came home with a new worldview. She said every day took her out of her comfort zone and by the end, she felt as if it was the best day she had ever experienced […] She said the students were from all corners of the world and this created both challenges and incredible opportunities for dialogue, shared understanding, and friendship. And the bonus, which is where the magic is translated, is that she returned with a concrete recognition that she matters.”

—Beata, parent of 2017 kohai

What is covered in the cost? Icon plus

Gakko’s tuition covers room, board and any activities organized by camp. We also cover the cost of transporting kohai to and from the designated local airport or train station (the “meeting point”) to the camp location. But, kohai are responsible for all costs of getting to the designated airport or train station.

Where can I find more information about Gakko camps? Icon plus

Read reviews from “kohai” who experienced Gakko on Go Overseas or Youtube. Contact to get linked up with alumni from Gakko who can answer more questions.

Do you accommodate kohai with disabilities, allergies, dietary restrictions, or other special needs? Icon plus

We make every effort to work with kohai to make Gakko as safe, comfortable and successful as possible. Requests for special needs are determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us at and we can set up a call to discuss your case with one of our camp directors.

I have a question about camp that is not answered here. Who do I contact? Icon plus

Please email our team at with any other questions—We look forward to hearing from you!

Kohai Applications
I’ve applied. Now what? Icon plus

We will notify you as soon as possible whether or not you have been selected for an interview. In the meantime, take a dance break and follow Gakko happenings as we get closer to camp.

What kind of applicant are you looking for? Icon plus

The camp is open to all high school students (typically age 14-18). Since camp is conducted entirely in English, we ask that all applicants have basic English abilities, but even if you’re not confident in your English, send us an application! No TOEFL or GPA required in order to apply.

Kohai come from all over the world, with a wide variety of backgrounds and circumstance. Because the Gakko experience is rooted in collaboration, creativity and intellectual curiosity, it is important to demonstrate these attributes in your application. Mostly, kohai are selected because we believe that they offer something unique to share with their fellow kohai and sempai.

Is there a waiting list? Icon plus

Yes. You will receive an updated admissions timeline should you be admitted to a waiting list.

How do I apply financial aid? If I apply for financial aid, will my chances of getting in be affected? Icon plus

Applications for need-based tuition assistance are considered separately from admissions and are awarded based on the availability of funds and the merit of the applicant’s case. Not all requests for tuition assistance can be accommodated.

Please apply for tuition assistance as part of your admissions application. Admitted students who are eligible for aid will receive information about their award when they are admitted to camp. All admitted kohai must confirm their participation by placing a deposit within 10 days of receiving their admissions decision.

Travel & Living Arrangements
Can Gakko help with visa paperwork for international students? Icon plus

Kohai and their families are solely responsible for the successful completion of any paperwork required for program attendance. We make every effort to supply documentation that is required for your visa applications, and we encourage you to communicate with us if you encounter any difficulties. We know it’s a tedious process and we’re here to help in any way we can!

How do I get to camp? Icon plus

You are responsible for the cost of travel (flight, train ticket, etc.) to a meeting point for your camp. Once admitted, kohai will receive more information regarding meeting points and travel upon acceptance to the program.

What are the living arrangements? Icon plus

Kohai sleep in dormitories (separated by gender) with 2-5 roommates. Our staff works with a team of professional chefs to design a meal plan, with an emphasis on local ingredients and accommodating all kohai dietary needs. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are communal events and often the most meaningful moments in our day.

Who is responsible for the kohai’s safety during Gakko? Icon plus

The safety and well-being of kohai is our top priority. All activities are supervised by camp directors and medical staff is available on site 24/7. We employ local personnel at camp venues, equipped with area knowledge and language skills. If you have any further questions regarding safety, please do not hesitate to email us at

Will I be able to practice religious rites? Icon plus

Yes. Please let us know prior to attending camp what you will require in order to practice, and we will be sure to communicate how we can accommodate.

Do I need travel insurance? Icon plus

Yes. If you are traveling outside of your country of residence, you will need travel insurance. Please note that it is a requirement when applying for a visa.

Want to hear more?
Contact us at: Or give us a call for more information: +1 (516) 430-7349 And subscribe to our newsletter →