Life-Changing! Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/04/2016 to 05/22/2016 with

IES Abroad: Nagoya Direct Enrollment - Nanzan University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to be more independent from my solo travels and I believed this experience was worthwhile because it gives students the chance to live in a foreign country and understand their culture on a deeper level while being immersed.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The Japanese language classes were quite intensive in terms of the class material though there was not enough essays to practice writing in my opinion (this is for Japanese 500). The exams were of decent difficulty where one needed to fully understand the grammar structures to do well. On the other hand, the elective classes were mediocre. The art classes were nice and relaxing but the others were not that challenging. Out of all the electives I took, Japanese Society was the most enjoyable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Center Director and Program Coordinator were amazing people whose company I really enjoyed. They worked really hard to make sure our field trips were engaging and educational and often asked us questions to check up on us such as if we liked our host families and our classes. My time abroad was more fun thanks to their great support!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

IES Abroad and the housing staff at Nanzan University all try to make sure your housing needs are met and try to find suitable host families for each student. I was very satisfied with my housing arrangement because my host family often took me out to restaurants and places thus we were able to bond quite well. My host mom was very sweet and often helped me with my Japanese homework. The commute was also not as long compared to other students so I was able to get to school within 30-40 minutes.

* Food:

The food in Japan is amazing, especially their sweets! You can find inexpensive set meals for lunch and that was often very helpful for a study abroad student on a budget.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Due to the timing of the Spring program, we were unable to interact with much of the Japanese students because they were on break. Beyond the events planned by the staff at Nanzan University and IES Abroad, there was not much social & cultural integration.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Overall, not just in my host city, I felt safe in Japan. I often solo travelled to cities and stayed out late and never felt like I was in danger.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Although the staff and Japanese professors at Nanzan University were great as well as the IES Abroad staff, I would not choose this program again because of the program dates. They do not match the Japanese students' school calendar thus it was very hard to find and become friends with the students.


* 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)

If you know where to find cheap places to eat and shop, it was very easy to live on a budget. Also, buying a commuter pass also saved a lot of money.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use student discounts as much as possible whenever such as buying shinkansen tickets when traveling.


* 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? Japanese 105A
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? Always use Japanese among your friends while talking as much as possible

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • IES Abroad Staff
  • Host family
  • Field trips
* What could be improved?
  • Program dates
  • Variety and difficulty of elective classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I pushed myself to approach more Japanese students and to talk in Japanese more often among the other study abroad students rather than always talking in English.

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!