Difficult, yet worth it. Past Review

By (Communication and Media Studies, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities) - abroad from 08/28/2015 to 12/18/2015 with

IES Abroad: Nagoya Direct Enrollment - Nanzan University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learn how to adapt into a new culture and become more independent as a result of being on my own for 3-4 months. You really have to take charge and learn quickly to keep up with the course work and simply errands which become a much more difficult because of the language barrier. Overall, I would say it's definitely worthwhile because you learn so much from it and gain skills that you never knew you had.

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.

Before you think about seriously applying to IES Abroad for Nanzan University, you should check if their Japanese courses are align with yours. From my experience, I was not planning to be in the upper Japanese courses, because I have only gone over GENKI 1. But Nanzan University of second year Japanese does not start off with GENKI 2, it starts off with GENKI 2 chapter 15. That’s about 2 or 3 chapters behind if you think about how fast they will be going. I highly advise you to go over your materials if you want to get into the right level, especially since Nanzan University makes you take two placement test upon arrival. If you get placed in the level that you did not want, there is almost no way you can change that. A friend of mine got placed into a lower level and had to repeat a Japanese class she already knew. She tried talking to the professors, but they said they wanted her to stay in the current level she was put in. The good news is that, you can take the test again after a week if you truly feel that you are in the wrong level.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

All host families are different and all my friends had different experiences with their host family. My experience however was not as satisfying. I originally thought I would be spending a lot of time with my host family, such as going out with them on their daily errands or learning Japanese culture from them. Instead, my experience was very mundane. They spent the majority of their time watching television, going over assignments with their children and preparing for dinner. My host parents seemed to like routines, and were independent. I tried asking them about their life in Japan several times and what they would advise to do in Japan. It was a bit difficult to communicate with them because my Japanese level was not as high and elaborating on topics was very difficult on both ends. I do not advise living with a host family if you have not studied Japanese for at least 3 years. My host family was also fairly new and had only hosted one student before me. With that being said, I often had to solve my problems on my own. Other than that, I was really happy that my host family had two children. It was fun playing with them, introducing them to American games and also learning from them as to what’s popular in Japan. Everyday was definitely rowdy, but very warm and engaging. I was one of the few who were lucky enough to have host children and those who did have host children said they enjoyed their stay more versus having a parent/parents as their host.

* 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

I love all the sight-seeing we did during our trips! It was truly an eye opening and culture shock compared to my own.


* 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)


* 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

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 amazing locations we venture to
  • My host brothers and sisters made my stay welcoming and exciting. I learn so much form them despite them being only in Elementary school.
* What could be improved?
  • Some professors should be more encouraging to their students' performances instead of finding closure by sending them off to different Japanese levels.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew the chapters in GENKI were not align with the ones at your home universities. That would have made a huge impact on my decision to go or not.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'