Great For My Professional and Academic Skills Past Review

By (Occidental College) - 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 learned that my country is not the only one that we should focus on in the world and that many other people have their own bubbles that they focus on.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academics significantly easier than my home institution, but still very valuable. I liked that I was able to learn about the theories I have learned before (ie. in economics, international relations, etc.) but apply them specifically to Japan.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very nice, friendly, and approachable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a dorm and although it was very strict compared to dorms in America, I really liked the environment and the fact that I got to meet other international students.

* Food:

I personally grew up eating Japanese food so nothing was a surprise for me. I received food in the dorms and it consisted of mostly homestyle food, so I didn't have a problem with that. It may be a bit hard for those that are vegetarian and/or not used to Japanese cuisine. There are plenty of restaurants that cater to Western food, though.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Very easy to interact with other students. You do have to take the initiative to get involved with the community if that is your desire. The program does set up some community service events.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Cheap, affordable healthcare. There are doctors that speak English. Japanese doctors are a bit different in that culturally you are expected to just listen to their advice instead of them explaining many things like they do in Western culture.

* Safety:

There are apps that tell you when an earthquake is coming. The program does a good job on keeping tabs of everyone in the case of an emergency. There is an emergency chat group available 24/7.

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

This program has great academics, environment, location, etc.


* 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)

Very easy if you just eat at home and only go from school to home, but you probably want to have fun and explore. Plus there are a lot of student led activities that can definitely add up.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Only carry around a limited amount of cash and maybe no credit cards so that you can only spend that much. On the flip side, it is good to have a little extra cash just in case something goes wrong--but don't spend that!


* 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? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Japanese 470/460 translation
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? Make a list of words that you learn throughout the day and study them at the end of the week

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • Lifestyle
  • Language Courses
  • Activities
* What could be improved?
  • Language Classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how to better manage my time so I could explore more.

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!