Gakko Camps “It was not an escape from reality;  rather, it was the best version of it.” — Seena, Japan ‘16

Are you looking for “something more” from your high school education? This summer, join a community of ambitious students from around the world. Collaborate with brilliant college-aged artists and scientists from renowned institutions. Dive into an inspiring, creative summer experience unlike any other camp in the world.

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Or give us a call for more information:
+1 (510) 985-9710

“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

Japan journaling
Jeppe vid
At the heart of our camp is the sempai—kohai relationship.

Kohai 後輩
  1. People who were born after you.
  2. The high school students who attend camp, looking for “something more.”
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Every summer, 45 kohai arrive at camps that have been designed uniquely for them. For two/three weeks, on location at a beautiful site, kohai engage in rigorous workshops, hands-on projects, and collaborations across disciplines. In a diverse community of friends and mentors, through meaningful international dialogue, kohai build and take ownership over an “undiscovered country”—a vibrant camp community that has never existed before.

Sempai 先輩
  1. People who were born before you.
  2. The college students & young professionals who lead each camp.
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Sempai are individuals who demonstrate rigor in their respective fields and generosity towards others. They collaborate to design and facilitate a unique learning experience—including workshops, projects, and an immersive narrative—and serve camp as thoughtful mentors for the diverse community of kohai.

Kohai testimonials —

“I think Gakko was a completely different environment from the school I went to […] I had a lot of questions in mind about my high school, about my life, what I should be doing, which colleges I should be applying to… I met a lot of friends at Gakko that really inspired me to tackle the problems, and really found hope for my life in general.”

Kojin, Japan

Kohai 2013, Harvard University

“Gakko was a place where I felt safe to be myself completely; parts of me that I didn’t even know existed surfaced.

Once I was given the environment where I could safely take any risk, my entire perspective on life changed; it was as if someone lifted the dark cloak off of me, and I could breathe fully again. In this haven with no social judgement, I had the power to live my life the way I truly wanted to.”

Anna, Japan

Kohai 2016

“Gakko was easily the best thing I ever did with my life, and teenagers from all around the world deserve an experience as amazing as this.”

Bruna, Brazil

Kohai 2017

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 →
Every camp is a new experiment. These are the core values of that experiment.


In an age of increasing isolationism, exceptionalism, and disenchantment, 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.

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.

Heart & Mind

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

Want to hear more?
Contact us at: Or give us a call for more information: +1 (510) 985-9710 And subscribe to our newsletter →
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.