Cherish your time, go out more! January 16, 2019

By (Japanese Language, Literature, Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/28/2018 to 12/13/2018 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained many connections and learned to manage things independently while abroad. Studying abroad was definitely worthwhile and I regret not being able to study for an academic year rather than a semester.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Taking Japanese at KCJS was definitely more rigorous than at my home institution, but it was always manageable and I felt as though I learned more than what I could in a semester at home. The electives I took felt the same as taking normal courses in the United States in terms of the workload. The topics however were some that I would not be able to find in my university. At the beginning of the program the staff showed us multiple resources we could use around the campus which made finding information easy throughout the semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff is always available and always willing to help if you contact them. They often check to see how the students are doing and were one of the aspects that made this program enjoyable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a host family while in Kyoto and they had a quaint home. The room they offered was fine along with the rest of the house. The only issue I had was how cold it became toward the end of the program. Even if the heater was on it was still very cold inside the house so I recommend bringing warm clothes!

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was a bit difficult to detach myself from the program and its members but there were many opportunities throughout the program to attend places with other students which allowed me to meet many people. Living with a host family also allowed me to experience more Japanese 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

Finances

* 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)

The program gave us a stipend for lunch and transportation every month which made it easier to not spend out of pocket, but if someone wanted to go out often it would cost more.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not counting the money received from the program, I spent around $100 each week out of my own pocket.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you stay with a host family, it costs less because they take care of some of your meals.

Language

* 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

There is a pledge to speak only Japanese during the hours in the building and the teachers do enforce it but it is not heavily enforced.

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? 2nd year Japanese
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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
  • 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 people
  • Japanese class
* What could be improved?
  • More emphasis on speaking Japanese even outside class
  • Less work in elective classes in return for a more intensive Japanese class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how warm Japan's winters are so I wouldn't have packed too much.

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!