March News! Skiathon, Ski Lessons and Test Judges Wanted

The last of the winter is upon us and HEC is ready! We are wishing snow goodbye with two massive events. Also, HEC Tests have been sent to ALTs and we are looking for Test Judges.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact HEC! You can find our contact information here

  1. Skiathon

The HEC Skiathon is a fundraiser where you can ask friends, families or anyone to sponsor you to embrace some of the best powder in the world and fly down those slopes! 


Dates: March 18th – 26th, 2023

Where: Anywhere with snow.

Price: 500 yen registration fee. 

Head here to find more information or sign up. 

  1. Furano and Niseko Ski Lessons 

On March 18th we are offering ski lessons in Furano and Niseko. Whether you are a complete beginner, or just wanting to learn more, come and ski with us! 

Furano Details: 

Date: Saturday, March 18th, 2023

Time: 11:00 (2 hours)

Place: Prince Snow Resort, Furano

Price: 2500 yen. 

For more information or to sign up, click here. 

Niseko Details: 

Date: Saturday, March 18th, 2023

Time: 11:30 (2 hours)

Place: Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, Niseko

Price: 2500 yen. 

For more information or to sign up, click here. 

  1. Test Judges 

We are recruiting volunteers to judge the incoming HEC Tests. Judges will watch the completed tests and help us decide who will be awarded HEC prizes this year. 


Fill out this form if you are interested in being a judge! 

Please note that access must be requested. 

February News! HEC TEST IS OPEN, Palentine Letters, Sapporo and Asahikawa Dinner!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We are working hard to fundraise for the upcoming HEC summer camp. Come and support us by getting involved in one of these events!


    Registration will close on February 10! Give your student’s an amazing opportunity by offering them the chance to partake in the Hokkaido English Challenge.

    We have so much information to support getting your students signed up. For information on the HEC Test, please go to The Test – HEC (  Our Test Package is now available for 2022/23.

    Registration opens on December 12, 2022.
    Closes February 10, 2023.
    3000 yen entrance fee
    Can win up to 30,000 yen in English prizes.
    The top winners are invited to Summer Camp.


    Spread the love throughout Japan by sending a Palentine. Let your friend (or more-than-a-friend) know that you are thinking of them with a cozy little note and gift packages!

    Order here.
    Last orders are on Wednesday February 8.
    Palentine includes a letter and chocolate.
    550 yen per Palentine, with options to add on.


    We are getting together by eating and drinking all you can for 90minutes at Jenjiskan!

    Order here.
    When: Saturday 7pm, February 11th.
    Where: 松尾ジンギスカン 旭川支店
    Cost: 4500 yen per person.


    We still have some last minute seats for our Sapporo Yakiniku Enkai this Saturday, February 4th. If you’d like to come and find out more, see here.


    The next event we are planning is a ski lesson in March! Keep your eyes on our Facebook and instagram for updates! 

November News! Sapporo Christmas Tour and HEC Test News!

Happy November! With the weather getting colder and Christmas looming, we have some events to celebrate what Hokkaido does best.

  1. Celebrating Sapporo’s stunning white Christmas with our first IN-PERSON event, The Sapporo Christmas Market Tour!
  2. HEC Test Registration is opening! Join in the tradition of engaging with students and having lots of fun with our HEC Test. 

This is our first in-person event in an age! Sapporo is stunning at Christmas, and our team want to show you where to go and how to see the best! 

December 3, 2022 
Odori Park at 5.30pm
1000 yen donation
Each entry goes into a lottery to win a Lucky Bag
Event Registration is here!


This is the big one at HEC HQ! We are excited to open registrations for the Hokkaido English Challenge Test on December 12. The HEC Test leads to the Summer Camp. Both events aim to connect students with the English speakers around them in fun ways. 

We have so much information to support getting your students signed up. For information on the HEC Test, please go to The Test – HEC ( You can also find our updated Test Package for 2022/23. 

We have just released an article on what to expect and how to get involved with the Summer Camp. So check it out here! 

Registration opens on December 12, 2022.
Closes February 10, 2023. 
3000 yen entrance fee
Can win up to 30,000 yen in English prizes. 
The top winners are invited to Summer Camp. 

HEC Summer Camp Returns!

It has been a while since we have seen a HEC camp. Here is a little brief of what we do and why we do it! 

  1. What is it?
  2. How do students attend?
  3. Why get involved? 
  1. WHAT IS IT? 

Our Summer Camp is a five-day American-inspired camp hosted during the summer holidays. It gives Hokkaido students a unique chance to experience foreign cultures and flex their English abilities! Students will eat unfamiliar foods, play games, learn new dances, write a play and talk with many English speakers. 

The camp is run predominantly by ALTs and is funded by HAJET and fundraising events throughout the year. 


First-year Junior High School and High School students participate in the Hokkaido English Challenge. This is a test conducted by an ALT. The top winners of the challenge are invited to attend camp free of charge. Learn more about the test here! 


The HEC Summer Camp is an amazing experience for our volunteers! They are at the heart of connecting with students who are passionate about learning English. If you are interested in becoming a better ALT, connecting closer to the English-speaking community, or just want to enjoy the Hokkaido summer, please sign up! 

There are two main ways to get involved. 

  1. ALTs helping raise awareness and conducting tests
    ALTs usually introduce the test to interested students. One of the core goals of HEC is to strengthen the relationship between ALTs and students. ALTs work with their students to prepare them for the challenge. Top winning students will be invited to experience the Summer Camp and put their English skills to practical use.

    HEC has a Starter Kit that provides all the information you need for you and your school. You can find everything at
  1.  Come and join us at camp
    ALTs and people with functional English abilities can volunteer for the camp. We have an abundance of volunteer positions available. From Head Chef to Crazy Olympic Leaders, we can find a role for you to enjoy. 

Here is a list of some roles available. 

Head Chef, Camp Group Leader, Nurse, Sports Leader, Icebreaker Leader, Playwriting Leader, Post Master, Bade Leader, Amazing Race Leader, Crazy Olympic Leader, Campfire Leader, Dance DJ and Camp Photographer. 

Find out more and sign up here

COME AND JOIN THE HEC TEAM! We are getting ready for an amazing and memorable summer for all! It is only possible through the help of all our amazing volunteers. See you soon!

October Events! Among Us, Yoga and a Halloween Raffle

Among Us Tournament, Yoga Class AND Halloween 50/50 Raffle!

Our HEC Team is excited to start our first events of the year. Come along, meet some of the Hokkaido community and enjoy! 


The first killer event is the Among Us Tournament. We are calling an *emergency meeting* for all players who want to cause some chaos together. 

Saturday, November 5th, from 5-8pm. 
1000 yen participation fee. 
Chance to win cash!
Information and registration are here


Unwind, reset and relax. Come join us for Yoga Class guided by HEC Director Megan Weiler. Everyone is welcome to enjoy this gentle yoga flow, from first-timers to everyday yogis. 

Thursday, October 27th at 6pm. 
750 yen participation fee. 
Information and registration are here


It’s spooooky raffle time! The winner will evaporate with an Amazon Gift Card treat of 50% of all donations. The rest will go to raising funds for HEC test prizes and the HEC English camp!

Tickets are on sale now and close on November 4th at 5pm. 
Starting from 1000 yen for 10 tickets!
Tickets and information are here.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact HEC! You can find all contact details here
We can’t wait to see you soon!

Can’t attend but want to support HEC? Buy us a coffee here!

Happy New HEC Year!

  1. Happy New HEC Year!
  2. What is HEC?
  3. Camp News 
  4. Upcoming Events
  1. Happy New HEC Year 2022-2023

The new HEC year has just begun! We want to welcome you to a new year of exciting events and building connections between ALTs and students. The HEC team has new and old members collaborating to bring amazing events to fellow Hokkadians. See who they are here.

  1. What is HEC? 

HEC is the Hokkaido English Challenge. Every year, HEC hosts a test facilitated by ALTs for their students. This test aims to allow ALTs to support their students and let the students flex their English skills in creative ways. 

Top winning students are invited to an English camp. The HEC team designs an immersive English space for students to utilise their skills. During the year, HEC also hosts other events which aim to be fun and build connections within the Hokkaido community.

  1. Camp News 

Camp is coming back! Preparations are well underway. We are planning a safe and immersive English camp for the 1st year Junior High and High School students of Hokkaido. HEC hasn’t been able to host a camp for a few years, so we are excited and optimistic about this coming year. 

HEC is also chasing interest in camp volunteers. Many roles and opportunities are available. To learn more or sign up please head here.

  1. Upcoming Events

Starting the year, we will have a killer Among Us Tournament, Yoga Flow with Megan, and a spooooky Halloween Raffle. There are more details to come, so please keep updated on our news page, instagram or facebook.

The Future of HEC for 2020-2021

The HEC team is very excited to announce that we will be continuing with the Hokkaido English Challenge for 2020-2021*!!

However, due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will NOT be hosting an English summer camp. We will NOT be awarding a homestay experience to the grand prize winner. HEC 2021 will comprise only of the speaking test that is administered by an ALT and a witness. Upon completion of the test, the student will receive a Certificate of Completion that can be supplementary towards high school and university applications.

But we’ve got some good news! We will be allowing both first AND second year junior and senior high students to participate in the challenge for the first time**! That being said, we have increased the amount of winners this year. There will be 1 grand prize plus 2 runner up winners for each grade in the junior high and senior high categories separately, a total of 12 winners! The registration fee has also been lowered to 2,000 yen for this year. 

🥇 The Grand Prize winner will receive up to 30,000 yen in English related gifts of the student’s choosing.
🥈 The second place winner will receive up to 15,000 yen in English related gifts of the student’s choosing.
🥉 The third place winner will receive up to 7,500 yen in English related gifts of the student’s choosing.

Thank you to the ALTs and their students who have expressed interest in doing the English Challenge despite the setbacks of this year. We are endlessly thankful for your continued support and we look forward to cooperating with you for another successful HEC year! Be on the lookout for more details about HEC coming out soon.

* Participation of ALTs and their corresponding Board of Education will vary depending on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.

**Entry of second years is currently planned to be limited to HEC 2020-2021 year only, to compensate for the current 2nd year students who applied last year when the camp was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Current 2nd year students can still apply this year even if they didn’t apply last year. Registration is open to ANY 1st and 2nd junior and senior high students.

Registration is limited to 10 students per grade with a maximum of 15 students per school.

Holiday Gram Fundraiser!

The time of year for holiday cheer is nearly here; why not send a holiday gram to those you hold dear?

Stuck in Japan for the holidays? Unable to see your friends in Japan because COVID is in the air? Sending letters too much of a hassle? The post office staff run away in fear when you approach the counter?

No worries! We, the HEC executive team, got you covered. With the purchase of a *Holiday Gram*, you can send one of your friends here in Japan a heartfelt message with some winter treats. Making your holidays a little more connected this year. Plus we’ll do all the work, and you’ll sleep tight knowing it’s for a good cause!


  1. Purchase a Holiday Gram through our BigCartel website. You can send them to anyone in Japan!
  2. We will package and deliver the heart-warming Holiday Gram so that it arrives by the holidays.


  • Peppermint Candy cane – a rarity in Japan!
  • Packet of Hot Chocolate – to warm up even the coldest nights!
  • Personalized Hand-lettered Postcard – with a message from you!


We will be accepting orders until Friday, December 11th, at 11:59 PM.


If you have any questions, regarding mail addresses, dietary restrictions, payment, or anything else, don’t hesitate to reach us at

Message from the new HEC Director

Hello everyone! My name is Queena and I am very excited to be the new HEC Director for 2020-2021.

With the unfortunate cancellation of last year’s Hokkaido English Challenge due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are still hopeful in having a successful HEC year for 2021. We have a brand new team working hard to host events, fundraise for the camp, and challenge students to give HEC a try. We thank you for your continuous support and patience as we tackle various barriers. Please look forward to all the amazing new things we are excited to share with you this upcoming year!

Thank you very much! よろしくお願いします!