Nanzan University was "meh", but Japan and IES Abroad were awesome. Past Review

By (Art and Japanese, Austin College) - abroad from 01/04/2013 to 05/23/2013 with

IES Abroad: Nagoya Direct Enrollment - Nanzan University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The whole trip was worthwhile to be able to stay with such an awesome host family, and IES was super amazing and took me to many sites. Those two things really made my experience in Japan special.

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.

Nanzan's language program is extremely rigorous, even when you are repeating a level. I was forced to move down a language level (which still hurts my pride today), and I still had to work way harder than before to get the grade I wanted. You will have homework AND a quiz everyday for not only one, but two language classes. Their grading system takes off points for each and every little mistake you make, so chances are, unless you are a language and self-check genius, you will get 10 points off a test automatically for small, insignificant mistakes. One of my friends who took the same language level at both Tokyo Language Intensive and Nanzan (she was forced to move down like me), said that it's the exact same level of intensity, but you'll make a worse grade at Nanzan. The only benefit to going to Nanzan is if you've been studying Japanese for years and Tokyo doesn't have your language level. On the positive side, the Nanzan teachers do their grammar explanations through demonstrations, examples, and interacting with the students in Japanese. There is also lots of pair work and games that gets the students involved.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The language teachers are always available, and there's always someone in the International Student's department to talk to

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family were the most wonderful people in the entire world. I lived with two younger sisters and a host mom and dad. They would take me on many vacations to go to an onsen and skiing. My host mom even arranged it so I could play with my host sister at her day care one day! The only drawback was that I lived an HOUR AND A HALF away from my school by train. It was very difficult to make friends and enjoy city life, but I learned a lot about Japanese family life and was able to practice my Japanese frequently.

* Food:

The food in Japan is absolutely amazing! I'm a big foodie and I was lucky enough to have a host mom who was an excellent cook. The only draw back to Japanese food is if you are either a vegetarian, on a diet, or a picky eater. Vegetables are very expensive and salads are hard to find, and almost every meal is served with a bowl of white rice and some sort of meat. However, if you do not fit under any of the following, you will have a wonderful relationship with the food in Japan.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

If you decide to go to Nanzan University, DO NOT GO DURING THE SPRING SEMESTER. Since the Japanese semester year is different from the American semester year, if you go during the Spring Term (January - May) almost all the students will be gone on vacation. I was lucky enough to have a great host family and was able to join a very welcoming club where I made good friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

If you get sick, you will still be forced to go to school. Nanzan University accepts NO TARDINESS FOR ANY REASON. If you get the flu and couldn't be there on a test day, you will get a failing grade for that test.

* Safety:

Japan is the safest country you will ever visit in your entire life in terms of crime. As a woman, I felt perfectly fine walking around the night club districts and was never worried once about gangs or getting robbed. In other terms of safety, however, earth quakes are a huge concern in Japan, and chances are you will feel the ground shake at least a little while you are there. Another concern, particularly in Nagoya, is that drivers are a bit unsafe. Be extremely careful if you are taking bikes to school.

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)

I lived with a host family, who took care of my food, and IES took care of my traveling expenses, which was AMAZING!!! If you go to Nanzan, you MUST go through IES.


* 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? Intermediate
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? Practice your butt off for the placement exam unless you want to repeat the same level TWICE.

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
  • 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?
  • Clubs are fun and a great way to meet people.
  • IES is the greatest and will take you on awesome adventures and will help pay for your everyday commute!
  • The Japanese teachers at Nanzan do adopt the Western way of teaching, with games, projects, and pair work.
* What could be improved?
  • Have the semesters match up with the Japanese students.
  • Don't have your tests set up for failure. It's demotivating.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I really wish I knew beforehand that the study abroad student's Spring Semester would be different from the Japanese students! Because the semesters are different, the Japanese students were off campus for almost the entire time I was enrolled in Nanzan!