Best Semester Ever. Past Review

By (University of Hartford) - abroad from 09/01/2016 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 communication and languages are probably the most powerful things on this planet. If you are able to talk to people from all over the world, you have given yourself a huge edge in being one step closer to an enlightened understanding of the world. Learning this has definitely helped me figure out what I want to do and who I want to become.

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.

Overall, the courses were amazing.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IES Tokyo Office is the best. Period. Everyone is so nice, informative, fun to be with... just so personable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Beautifully "normal" and integrated household! Loved my host family, would love to live with them again if possible. Gave me a wonderful everyday-life experience.

* Food:

Don't even get me started on the food....

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

A lot of this I feel comes from the fact that I am Asian; even if I am a foreigner, not "looking" like a foreigner was a little bit of a drawback in some aspects, but locals were a lot more accepting of my presence and sometimes would welcome me as one of their own.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No problems. Very safe.

* Safety:

Felt EXTREMELY safe.

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

The people. The country. The program administrators. The food. The list goes on....


* 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's easy at first, but being abroad gives you a sense of "gung-ho-ness," where in the second half of the program, you just say to yourself, "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," and you splurge. Hard.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? N/A
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be a little more vigilant about your money, and PLAN! Come up with a plan you know you're going to keep up with, because if you don't, you'll lose track of it SO fast...


* 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

I feel almost conversationally fluent in the language compared to where I was before (granted I didn't know how to speak Japanese before, but the classes and the people and friends that I made really got me to use the language almost all the time).

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? N/A
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? FRIENDS! Make friends and talk to them: if you're in a study abroad program, you're there to learn as much as local students are there to learn from you. Language exchange is a beautiful thing, and talking to people your age in the host language really forces you not only speak it, but you also learn a lot faster. Don't be shy.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Being able to experience the country
  • Friends that I have made
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Include different arrays of society courses
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Scheduling. Scheduling was so hard because there were so many people with different responsibilities, jobs, and courses that were being taken throughout the semester. It was surprisingly difficult to get things done with the people you want to be with.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.