Thanks for your support!

Thanks for your support!

Thanks for your support!

Dear parents, family, and friends of the students:

Please check the Home page on the detailed potential itinerary, estimated costs, and FAQ of this course. Below is the information to address the very common concerns from family and friends.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact the instructor.


Safety is our No. 1 priority of a faculty-led travel course at WCU. All students will be well advised throughout the entire trip. The food choices will be healthy, the lodging locations will be safe, and the physical activities will be moderate.

We will also constantly monitor any alert or warning messages published by the US Department of State.

Time difference and jet lag

In US mainland, there are four time zones (Eastern Time, Central Time, Mountain Time, and Pacific Time), and the summer’s daylight saving time (DST) is in effect during our trip. In Japan, a single time zone is used.

The time difference between the Eastern Time DST and the Japan time is 13 hours. It is 13 hours earlier in Japan than in NC. Two examples are provided below:

When it is 8:00 AM on May 20th in Japan, it is 7:00 PM on May 19th in NC.
When it is 8:00 PM on May 20th in Japan, it is 7:00 AM on May 20th in NC.

If you want to chat with a student, it is best to try early morning and evening, when it is neither too early nor too late for both of you.

Due to the time difference, jet lag is very real, too. In the first couple of days after we land in Japan, when it is noontime, the body may still think that it is midnight, and the students will be very sleepy in the afternoon. It typically takes several days for the students to adjust to the local time. However, fun activities in the afternoon can often keep them awake and help them get adjusted quickly. We will also take advantage of the jet lag to start out our days early.

When the students get back to NC from Japan, a similar jet lag adjustment needs to happen. It is very normal. We will advise the students to use the destination’s local time to guide their sleeping schedule even on the airplane, which often helps.

How to keep in touch with the students

Phone service is one option to consider, and using WiFi and a chatting app, such as WeChat, may be less costly.
Android version
iPhone version

You can register an account at this app using your phone number alone. Please also add a username and password after you set up the account using your phone number. Once you have the username and password, you can log onto different devices; otherwise, the logging in requires a security text-message to your phone, while you may not get such a text-message using your US phone while in Japan.

This app works whenever Data or WiFi is available. The wechat app allows chat, voice chat, video chat, photo sharing, file sharing, update in moments (where you post a paragraph with up to 9 photos, similar to a facebook post or a tweet), and many other features, all for free, as long as WiFi is available. If calling your phone is needed, for a modest fee paid within wechat, the students can call a land phone or a cell phone in US from wechat. It is highly recommended that you all install wechat and know how to use it with the students before the trip.

The instructor will create a group on wechat to include all the students, their families and close friends of their choice, to share our progress in the trip. You are of course welcome to chat with the student privately instead of in the group. The group is just an easy way to update everyone who wants to know our progress quickly. Home-sickness is very likely to happen during a trip abroad, and your support and encouragement are highly appreciated throughout the trip.