If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program?
I can easily say that the 5 months I spent in Nagoya were the best of my life. I wish I could have stayed for the full 10 months, and I was incredibly sad to return to the states. The intensive courses were challenging but very rewarding; by the end of the program I had made noticeable leaps in my language abilities. While I enjoyed going out on my own cultural excursions, the trips arranged by IES were incredibly enjoyable. I was able to visit places that I never would have on my own, and got to interact with locals during origami and pottery workshops.
The biggest downside I faced was my living situation. I was set up in an international dorm, which was conveniently close to Nanzan's campus. I was lucky in this sense; everyone else in IES had a 30+ minute commute and had to pay for their subway passes. However, my dorm had incredibly strict rules, and was quite different from the American dorms I've lived in. The dorm had 24 hour surveillance, with a security guard on the premises at all times. Any guests, even from the same program, were explicitly forbidden. Due to these rules, I spent very little time in my dorm.