Tokyo Saikou! Past Review

By (Japanese, Art, Austin College) - abroad from 03/27/2013 to 08/01/2013 with

CIEE: Tokyo - Arts and Sciences

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Language skills, a stronger sense of independence, and that trains are the best thing in the world. I believe it was very worthwhile. I got to experience many things, such as concerts and conventions, that I would not have otherwise been able to experience.

Review Photos

CIEE: Tokyo - Arts and Sciences Photo CIEE: Tokyo - Arts and Sciences Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The professors, themselves, were wonderful people, but the academic rigor was a bit lacking. Also, many grades were highly dependent upon one or two small projects which was a bit worrying here and there. Other than that, the classes, themselves, were very good.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very helpful through thick and thin. I personally had to change host families in the middle of my study abroad experience, and during the entire process, they were very helpful and very informative.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I would highly recommend a homestay to anyone who enters this program. I had a wonderful experience with both families I stayed with, and both were highly culturally engaging.

* Food:

I may be biased, but honestly, Japanese food is the best food in the entire world. I don't think there was anything I WOULDN'T eat aside from natto. (Fermented soybeans)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The people themselves were all very nice and accomodating, and even when there were small issues with communication, they were able to figure things out. There were, occassionally, people who would stare at me incessantly, but being a foreigner in a majorly asian country, that's to be expected.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Tokyo, despite being large, is probably one of the safest cities I have ever stayed in. I was even able to be out later in the night without any worry about thieves or otherwise. Certainly, it helps to be cautious, but Tokyo is quite safe, overall.

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $35-40 per week, not including travel beyond the commuter route
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Onigiri is a great, cheap lunch. (Approximately 200 yen or $2 for 2 onigiri.)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Japanese (American college level Japanese 3)
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk to the natives, talk to your host family, ask for directions, don't be afraid to talk to someone random if you need to know something or find something.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Interactive
  • Caring
  • Strong cultural involvement
* What could be improved?
  • Event types
  • More long distance travel opportunities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Sitting on a plane for 13 hours plus is terribly dreadful.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!