Abstract There is very little evidence about the effects of Western outdoor education programs on non-Western participants. This study involved an experimental group of low-achieving Japanese students who participated in an Australian outdoor education program (N=32) and a control group of similar students who remained at school in Japan (N=40). The 22-day outdoor education program consisted of two week-long wilderness-based expeditions, two English language instruction sessions, and a cultural and tourism experience. Students completed a multi-dimensional self-concept instrument before and after the program, and about half the students also completed a follow-up. Students also rated the quality of their outdoor education experience. Surprisingly, there were no positive self-concept changes, but there were significant reductions for the Peer and Confidence self concept subscales, and lower than expected ratings of course value and group relations. Various programmatic and cultural explanations for the findings are presented.