A Beautiful Awakening Past Review

By (Computer Science, Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/01/2014 to 12/22/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about a completely different culture other than mine. I'm from El Salvador, a third world country but I was not expecting Japan to be just as difficult as my own country. The housing condition was excellent but their culture was an eye opener. I learned how much Japanese people care more about others in their community than themselves. It is about the whole group and not about individuals. This experience was definitely worthwhile.

Review Photos

Columbia University: Kyoto - Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies Photo Columbia University: Kyoto - Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies Photo Columbia University: Kyoto - Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

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? 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)

Lunch in Japan is very inexpensive. I was given $8 for lunch everyday but I would sometimes only use $4 and save the rest for social events on the weekends. Transportation is costly so I would save money for it if necessary.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $35
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try not to spend too much money on delicious Japanese snacks.


* 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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Japanese Language 202
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? I would advise for students to take advantage of the Language Exchange Program. I found a Japanese friend and we would meet at least once a week and practice my language skills in daily conversations. She helped me understand Kansai dialect and she taught me common phrases used among Japanese people.

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?
  • The professors
  • Doshisha University
  • Japanese Food
* What could be improved?
  • Host Family assignments
  • More communication amongst counselors and students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known more about host family experiences. In particular, rules that Japanese families have around the house.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Post-War Japanese Families & Work

Course Department:
Instructor: Scott North
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was not very challenging but everyone was learning something new about Japanese culture every week. The instructor's personal experience living in Japan as a foreigner were very enlightening and helped us with our own experiences living with japanese host families.
Credit Transfer Issues: