The best consecutive four months of my life. Past Review

By (International Relations and Affairs., Austin College) - abroad from 03/25/2013 to 07/14/2013 with

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The most worthwhile experience I have had. I learned some of the language, I gained a better understanding of the culture, I connected with local people, I gained many new friends, and I found out where I want to live for the rest of my life.

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.

Classes ranged in intensity, but they were comparable to my home college. I was never bored in the classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration people were spectacular.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did a home stay, and I can't praise my host family enough.

* Food:

Japanese food has always been one of my favorites, and my host mother's cooking was always delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Even though I knew little to no Japanese, I integrated well in the culture. I found a subculture of Japanese society where I fit in and stayed with those people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had an issue, but from what I heard my program dealt well with health issues.

* Safety:

Japan is a very safe country. I never felt unsafe -- even when I was alone at night. The Japanese police are also very friendly and helpful.

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 was difficult because Tokyo is an expensive city, but after being their for a while, I figured out how to eat and shop cheaply. I also had a host family, which included two meals a day, so I only had to buy lunch.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between $100-200 a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Search around for cheap places. You don't always have to go to a "sit down" restaurant, and many smaller places actually have better food.


* 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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had never studied the language before going to Japan.
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? Use it constantly, try to think in that language, eavesdrop on the people around you, study every day

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • people
  • culture
  • learning more than I thought I would
* What could be improved?
  • class variety
  • I can't think of anything else
  • I loved my program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I had studied Japanese before going. I did not have any trouble with not knowing the language, but I feel that I would have had an even richer experience if I had more Japanese communication skills.

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.'