Japan- The Ultimate Place to Study Abroad January 24, 2017

By (International Business, Texas Lutheran University) - abroad from 09/06/2016 to 12/18/2016 with

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I am able to speak a lot more Japanese. I can hold conversations with Japanese people. I learned how to navigate Japan's vast transit system. I also gained a lot of confidence from this trip. I learned that I was able to adapt in a culture completely different from my own.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture Photo IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture Photo IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture Photo IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture Photo IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture Photo

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.

I didn't find the classes very difficult or too time intensive, so I was able to explore more of Tokyo instead of staying cooped up in my room studying.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I loved all of the administration at IES Tokyo. They were so kind and would bend over backwards to help you at any time. Lee-san even took me to the doctor and translated everything he said for me. They were both administrators and friends. Shin-san, Lee-san, Kaleb-san and Ichikawa-san were some of the most amazing people I had ever met.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really lucked out with my housing arrangements. I absolutely loved my host family. They really treated me like I was one of their own children. The hardest part about leaving Japan was having to leave my host family behind. A lot of my girl friends stayed at the dorms in Baraki-Nakayama and they loved it. I visited once and the rooms were a decent size and better than my dorms at my home university.

* Food:

My host mom cooked the most amazing food. The food at Kanda University was also very good. There was a large variety and it was pretty cheap.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

With this program we each were assigned E-pals. This group of students became some of my best friends. All of them were so helpful with day to day life. They planned events for us and helped us translate kanji. They also took us to places that college students would hang out. The IES program sponsored cultural and volunteer activities for us to attend and it really helped immerse me in the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The healthcare system isn't very different from the United States. I emailed Lee-san asking if she could take me to the doctor's office and she replied within 30 minutes. I payed a very small copay and the medication was pretty cheap as well.

* Safety:

Japan is very safe, especially compared to the United States. I never once felt frightened or unsafe, even walking home alone at night. I personally didn't run into any problems, but I'd avoid walking through dark places alone. Common sense stuff.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I would go back to Japan in a heart beat. The program was amazing. I made so many incredible friends from all around the world. The staff was spectacular. The way IES set up its Tokyo program makes it an invaluable experience.

Finances

* 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)

I would suggest saving up money for the study abroad trip. I saved about $4000 for spending money. (I also went two weeks early and had to pay for all of my expenses) If you don't want to go hang out with friends after school or go shopping, the costs would be very minimal. Japan does have a culture were most students go out after school and hang out at restaurants or at karaoke. The prices are comparable to USD. Sushi is pretty cheap though, at some places it is 2 pieces for $1.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent on average around $180-200 each week. I did a lot of shopping, clubbing and drinking though. Lunches at the university were about $5 each.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you plan on drinking, look for nomihoudai places (all you can drink) I highly suggest Jumanji in Roppongi. It'll save you money in the long run.

Language

* 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

Well I was in Japan... so I had to speak Japanese. A lot of people spoke English in Tokyo, but it was impossible to not have 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? Intermediate
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? I know your parents told you not to, but talk to strangers. Try your Japanese on anyone you meet. Japanese people are so happy when foreigners try to speak the language. It'll boost your confidence and give you much needed practice.

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?
  • E-Pals
  • Excursions
  • IES Staff
* What could be improved?
  • More Cultural Activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how crucial it was to know katakana before going to Japan. If you don't know it, it is extremely difficult to find unflavored water.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

AN 343

Course Department:
Instructor: James Welker
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class is not a blow off class. I learned in depth history about manga and animation. James Welker is one of the leading professors for the study of anime and manga in the english language.He was extremely knowledgeable and the class was enjoyable. There was a lot of class discussion and we even got to watch a Miyazaki film in class. The field trips were fun and informational. In my class there was no exam. We had to do write ups and responses each week, one anime review, one manga review and then a research paper.
Credit Transfer Issues: I didn't have any issues with the transfer credit