How to Apply

The application cycle for the 2017 program is now closed! The deadline for submission was Friday, January 13, 2017.

Program requirements

The Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange Program for ESD seeks 12 participants from a broad cross-section of the U.S. primary and secondary educational community in order to reflect the rich cultural, institutional, and regional diversity of the United States. Twelve teachers from across Japan will also be selected to participate in the 2017 program.

Participants will be required to attend the Joint Conference in the U.S. from May 1-3, as well as the program in Japan from June 22-July 2. Therefore, at the time of application, all applicants must receive prior approval from their school and/or district to attend both the Joint Conference in May and the program in Japan in June.

All applicants to the program will be notified of their status by the middle of March.

Please contact the Institute of International Education at or 888-527-2636 with any questions about the program or application.

Please note:

  • If you are not a U.S. citizen and do not reside in one of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory or protectorate, DO NOT complete the application.
  • If you are not currently employed full-time as a teacher or administrator at a primary or secondary (grades K-12) school or school district or will not be next year, please DO NOT continue with this application. Please note that auxiliary personnel (nurses, social workers, guidance counselors, speech pathologists, etc.) and university professors are NOT eligible.

Online Application Instructions

All applications and accompanying references must be submitted online by January 13, 2017. Note: Do not type the entire application in capital letters.

Apply Online

  1. System Requirements – To complete the application, it is strongly recommended that you use Internet Explorer version 6 or higher or Mozilla Firefox version 1.5 or higher as your internet browser. Please contact IIE at 1-888-527-2636 or if you are having technical difficulties with the application.
  2. Application Deadline – The application for the 2017 Program will be available soon. The deadline for online application submission will be Friday, January 13, 2017.
  3. Beginning an Application – To begin the application, visit the application site and click the link "Click here to start a new application."
  4. Eligibility Questions – Before the system will allow you to register to start an application, you will have to answer a few eligibility questions. If you answer any of these questions incorrectly, you are ineligible for the program and you will not be able to continue with the application.
  5. Logging On – In order to register to complete an application, you will need to provide basic information about yourself. Your email address will serve as your login ID for the application. If you have more than one email address, we recommend that you use your personal address. The application system will send important emails that many school spam filters will block. Be sure to type your email address correctly as you will not be able to edit it later. You must also create a password which will enable you to logout and log back in to your application.
  6. Password Question – When registering, you must select a password question from four possible questions. Please do not forget the answer to your password question. This question is asked for security purposes. If you forget your password at anytime, you may click on the "Forgot Password?" link and the system will prompt you for your registered email address and ask you to answer your security question. Your password will then be emailed to you.
  7. Saving – It is not necessary to complete the application in one sitting. You will be able to save your work by clicking on any of the "Save" buttons at the top and bottom of each screen. You can navigate among pages by using the "Save & Continue" and the "Save & Go Back" buttons. You can also logout at any time by clicking the "Save & Logout" button. The "Save" button simply allows you to save your work but continue working on the current page.
  8. System Timeouts – For security purposes, the application will time out if it is idle for 15 or 20 minutes. Be sure to click "Save" periodically to ensure that you do not lose any of your work. Typing on a page is not enough to prevent a time out, so save frequently.
  9. Navigation Pane – When logged into the application, you will notice a navigation pane on the left of the screen. If you click on any of the three categories ("Application," "Preview and Submission," and "Change Password"), the category will expand to show the options within. You can use the navigation pane to move from one page of the application to another. However, be sure to save any changes you've made on the current screen before moving on.
  10. Essays – There are four essays on the "Program Information' page of the application. The first and second brief essays can be no longer than 750 characters each including spaces. The third and fourth essays can be no longer than 5000 characters each including spaces. We strongly recommend that you compose and edit your essays in a word processing program and then copy and paste them into the application. Note that the online application will not support any special fonts, graphics, or formatting, including bullets or other special features.

    Helpful Information about Character Count: The character counts include spaces and paragraph breaks. The application's count might not exactly match Microsoft Word's. If you are not within the application's character limit, your essays will be cut off. Above each essay text box you will see "Characters Remaining" and the number of characters still available to you. If you type directly into the text box, this number will count down as you type. If you copy and paste your essay from Word into the text box and you are within the character limit, Characters Remaining will update automatically. However, if you copy and paste text and you are over the character limit, "Characters Remaining" will not update. Hit backspace once, and the application system will delete any characters over the limit and the count will read "Characters Remaining 0." You will need to shorten your essay so that the system recognizes it as within the allotted character count.
  11. References – You must submit two online references, one of which must be from your supervisor, preferably your principal. Please see below for important information about the reference submission process.
  12. Submitting – When you have completed the application to your satisfaction, you must go to the "Preview and Submission" page. First, click "Check Application." If the system finds any errors, go to the necessary sections of the application to correct those errors. Once all errors have been resolved, we recommend that you preview your application. The preview version will open as a PDF in a separate window, so make sure your pop-up blocker is turned off. Carefully read through everything to ensure that no mistakes have been made. Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to edit any information. When you are satisfied with your application, read the "Declaration" carefully and click "Submit Online Application." You will have to answer the eligibility questions again. After answering those questions, click "Submit."
  13. Printing your Submitted Application – You do not need to send a printed copy of your application to IIE. However, we suggest that you print or save a copy for your records. Once your application has been submitted, you will be forwarded to a page where you will be able to print or save your final application. Clicking on the "Print Submitted Application" button will launch a PDF of your application in a new window.

Applications submitted to IIE become the property of IIE and Fulbright Japan. No part of the application will be returned under any circumstances. Please keep a copy of your application for your records.

If you have any questions or need assistance, contact IIE at or 888-527-2636.

Reference Instructions

Your application must include references from two individuals who have known you in a professional capacity. One of these references must be from your supervisor, preferably your principal, who will need to approve your leave during both the joint conference in April/May and the program in Japan in June/July. The other reference can be from your assistant principal, superintendent, colleague, etc.

References must be submitted through the online application system. When you enter your reference’s information, the “Send Email to Reference” box is automatically checked. If you enter an email address and leave this box checked, your reference will receive an email with login information to complete the electronic reference form. Please think carefully about who you want your references to be and make sure to enter all information correctly before sending the email. Once the email has been sent to your reference, you cannot edit or delete his/her information. Alert your references to look for the email, which will come from As many school email filters will divert this email to a spam quarantine box, we recommend that you use your reference writer’s personal email address instead of work address.

If you are not ready to send the email when you first enter their information, simply uncheck the “Send Email to Reference” box. You can log back in any time before submitting your application and resend the email. Check the box next to their name and hit “Re-Send Email.”

Notes about reference submission:

  • Please communicate with your reference before entering their information into the application and alert them that the email with login information is coming. Because the reference login information will be sent via email, you must provide an email address for all references.
  • Again, many school email filters may route system-generated emails to a spam quarantine filter. We recommend that you ask your reference if they have a personal email address that you could use instead of their work email address.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your references submit the online reference. Before submitting your application, follow-up with your references to ensure that they received the email with their login information.
  • If your reference loses the automatically generated email before completing the reference and you have not yet submitted your application, you can log back into your application, go to the “Reference Submission” page, check the tick box next to their name and click “Re-Send Email.”
  • Both references must be submitted by the application deadline.

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