CIEE Kyoto [Open Blocks] -- Overall, cool! March 26, 2024

By (Media Arts and Sciences, Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/25/2023 to 12/16/2023 with

CIEE - Multi-city Open Campus Option

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of independence and was able to explore my career options in Japan, due to the location and the support of the staff [I was a senior, and had an internship through the program]

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were often interesting, but not difficult. The professors were approachable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Studios were standard Japanese size, came with a kitchenette and a washer. Drying rack on the balcony.

* Food:

Food was not provided by the program, but it was located in Downtown Kyoto and generally, food was affordable. Staff helped me look for gluten-free items when I needed it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Unfortunately, the language barrier and all-American environment did not lend itself well to full-immersion. The group of students tended to stick together as a result, and this further isolated us-- American customs and culture are not universal, and could be irritating to the people around us. I had more success venturing off on my own.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No issues, and pharmacies were great!

* Safety:

Kyoto is relatively safe (compared to the US), but as elsewhere in Japan, sexual crimes and crimes against women generally go underreported and are not really taken seriously by police. The staff did their best to encourage us to avoid dangerous situations, and had a staff member on call 24 hrs.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Being in this program allowed me the freedom to do other things, such as my internship, and my constant traveling, because of the short class schedules (only 2x a week, 4 hours each) and the relatively lower rigor.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Food is much cheaper than in the US.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~40 dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook everything you can, and eat like a local.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • N/A
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location!!
  • Interning
* What could be improved?
  • the class rigor
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That their attendance policy did not allow for excused absences...

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

VART3001 Japanese Manga and Art

Course Department:
Instructor: Julieta de Icaza
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The teacher was very passionate and studied on the topic, and her energy was infectious. Classes covered contemporary and historical social issues as shown through media, and helped contextualize the new environment we were in nicely. She also made great use of Kyoto's manga culture and took us on several outings to different shops and the Manga Museum. Would absolutely take again if I could.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues with transfer.