Good Learning Experience, but not much contact with Japanese people Past Review

By (Haverford College) - abroad from 01/04/2015 to 05/24/2015 with

IES Abroad: Nagoya Direct Enrollment - Nanzan University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely learned a lot about Japan. I thought I understood a lot of things about Japan before I left. I thought I understood the exclusivity and indirectness of the culture, among the many other attitudes that run beneath the surface of Japanese society. But there are a lot of things that you can't understand unless you go there and experience them - or at least observe them. I think that kind of experience could make a lot people feel disillusioned by Japan, but it's an experience and an understanding that you need if you want to get involved in any serious discussion about Japan.

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.

Japanese classes are intensive, but manageable. Professors are also very easy to reach outside of class. The other classes at Nanzan are overall less intense, and can be hit or miss. Some (like my Japanese Society class) are fantastic, but I heard many students complain that they're non-Japanese classes felt like a waste of time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IES administrators were kind, organized, and answered questions quickly. The only thing that could be improved is that they're hard to meet in person, and you usually have to contact them by email.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a host family, which was not a good experience. The family was full of angry people who fought often. It got to the point where I never wanted to go back to their house, and felt anxious whenever I was with them. I knew other people who had better experiences, but in retrospect, I wish I had chosen to live in the dorm.

* Food:

Food at the school cafeteria is really cheap and really good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I studied abroad in the spring, which meant that the Japanese students were on vacation for most of the semester (Japanese and American school calendars do not match up). If you want to meet more Japanese people, definitely study abroad in the fall.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?


* Safety:

Japan, Nagoya, and the neighborhood surrounding Nanzan are all really safe.

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)

It really depends on how well you budget. Food at Nanzan is really cheap, but grocery shopping and traveling can be expensive.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around 6000-8000 yen a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you travel on the subway a lot, get a manaka card with a route attached to it. Also, you can get student discounts for the JR bus or the shinkansen.


* 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

Nagoya is a great place to practice Japanese. There are also a lot of resources at Nanzan, like the Japan Plaza, for international students who want to practice Japanese.

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? The first semester of third year Japanese
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? Try joining a circle or club if you go in the fall. That's probably the best way to connect with Japanese people our age.

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

  • 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?
  • The Japanese classes
  • Being able to meet other international students
  • How easy it was to travel
* What could be improved?
  • Better non-Japanese classes
  • More contact with Japanese students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had understood beforehand what a big chance you're taking when you choose to live with a host family. I also thought beforehand that living with a host family would really improve my Japanese, but it didn't help that much since talking to members of my family made me really nervous. If I had known those things ahead of time, I would definitely have picked the dorm.

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!