Blending the modern and the historic; a peek into the old capital. Past Review

By (Japanese Language and Culture, Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/06/2015 to 04/27/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was my first time ever traveling outside of the United States. I gained the experience of living within another country and learning how Japanese people live everyday life I was able to go beyond the textbook and use Japanese in a real setting, rather than a fabiricated classroom experience. By interacting with Japanese people in everyday settings, I have a better understanding of the social dynamics of the language.

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.

I greatly enjoyed the Japanese language courses. I felt as though the courses taught in English were busy work and not at the same academic level as courses at my home college.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a guesthouse which was advertise as having other students living there as well. I was the one student in the house and because of this, I had no one to practice my Japanese with.

* Food:

I purchased and prepared my own meals since I was not living with a host family. I was fortunate enough to get meal funds from my school, so I was able to go out for meals a few times a week and use it as an opportunity to chat with native speakers.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I am familia with Japanese culture, so for the most part I felt like I was able to fit in well. Unfortunately, Japan doesn't have a large population of foreigners, so I was often stared at while I was out doing daily activities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not seek healthcare while abroad.

* Safety:

One of my favorite features of Japan, is how truly safe it is. I was able to walk to convenient stores late at nght/early in the morning without worrying about my 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)

If you shop properly you will survive!! 100 yen stores are your friend!! You can use them or omiyage shopping, or food! I would often go to the local grocery store around 9pm and get marked down foods for 20-40% off!!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100ish.. I traveled around Kyoto alot and ate out often
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? BUY DISCOUNTED FOOD! It tastes just as good! Most grocery stores mark down their cooked items a few hours before they close.THAT is the time to strike! Buy lots of yummy things for cheap. Also, convenient stores such as 7/11 and Lawsons have REAL food! Do not confuse them with American convenient stores. In Japan people often buy and eat conbini food.


* 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? First semester of third year Japanese. I was just beginning to be at the intermediate/advanced level
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? Write your kanji over and over again unil it haunts your dreams. Watch los of Japanese drama/anime. Try to go out and imerse yourself into the cultue. Go shopping, go to shrines/temples, go to restaurants. I used Japanese a lot when I would go out to ramen shops... for some reason ramen chefs love to talk. I would also talk a lot with shop keepers.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • How hard the Japanese language class pushed me
* What could be improved?
  • The non-Japanese courses
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I should have brushed up on some of my vocabulary. One importan set of vocabulary I wish I had studied a bit more before traveling abroad, would be asking for directions. I would have also tried to learn the layout of the cty I was living in and how to read the Kanji of the streets in my area.

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!