Rigorous work for a tough language coupled with adventure. Past Review

By (Business and History, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/15/2013 to 04/26/2013 with

Columbia University: Kyoto - Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies / KCJS

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot from Japanese culture and from its language components. I learned while abroad that its hard to just travel to Japan and be a tourist. Therefore learning how to live in Japan and make friends with locals was the most worthwhile aspect of the program and well worth the effort.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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? $100-$200 a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Always eat at the cafeteria. You can sign up for a student discount card.


* 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? First half of 3rd year Japanese.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make Japanese friends.

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

  • Americans
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?
  • Interaction with Japanese Society
  • The city / location
  • My Host Family
* What could be improved?
  • More interaction with the local student body
  • Less busy work
  • More accurate picture of what you learn before the program starts
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I expected to constantly be interacting with Japanese people and the culture, and while I did get that to a certain extent I found that I was interacting in English with other study abroad students (even from other programs) much more so than I expected. Furthermore the amount of actual immersion was a bit overestimated.

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.'