Always busy looking for the next place to visit. September 11, 2017

By (Global Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 05/21/2017 to 07/09/2017 with

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was able to learn about tolerance and opening my eyes to a different way of living where the social norms and standards were completely different from mine. I learned how to adapt to these changes and incorporate my own way of life into this period. I frequently had to explain certain American concepts to my Japanese friends and in the process of teaching them I was forced to think about them myself and why we behave in the way we do.

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? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The subjects offered were extremely interesting such as Gender and Family in Japan, Japanese Pop Culture, or Japanese Art and Society. However, the professors were not very rigorous or captivating so I never felt really engaged in the classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was amazing and always very helpful. They helped us discuss our classes and helped us discover what activities, places, or events we should visit. They ran the program very smoothly and I saw no problems in their methods or design.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The rooms were a bit small but they were clean and in good conditions with A/C and a heater. While I wish there were better laundry machines, for the most part all the facilities were nice.

* Food:

I was very satisfied with the food because it gave us a good insight as to what Japanese students and families typically eat without feeling like a tourist.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

it was not hard to meet other students and visit the popular locations around us. The e-pal aspect of the program really helped because the e-pals were more than happy to teach us about the local culture and take us around Chiba and Tokyo.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I had no serious health issues that needed to be addressed, I had caught a cold and immediately one of the program advisors was willing to take me to the hospital and help me translate anything. Health Care was very accessible to us.

* Safety:

I felt that my community was very safe and had no problems with suspicious people. However a fellow student in my dorm did experience someone following her back to the dorm which means that despite how safe Japan is, it is better to be alert at all times. But she told our dorm manager what happened and he immediately helped her get the resources she needed and alerted the police and the rest of the dorm of what happened which was very impressive and comforting.

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

I thought that my prgram allowed me to have the perfect amount of time to still explore Japan while also providing me with educational classes that helped me understand concepts about Japan while I was there. Many of the things that I learned about I could see in real life and it gave me a deeper understanding of this completely different society.

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)

The food around the university and dorms were fairly priced if one looked for the cheapest options but anytime one went into Tokyo or other tourist areas the food tended to be more expensive. Not only that but the biggest cost was transportation since the subways were pretty expensive and they had to be taken to go everywhere.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent between $100-$150 every week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My advise would be to budget for the most important things you would want to buy and the places you would want to visit so that you are less tempted to spend money on random stores or treats or even locations that are not as important to you.

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

We had Japanese class every weekday however the e-pals did not encourage us to speak Japanese very much and the other students at Kanda University preferred to practice their english rather than help us practice our Japanese. But there were more advanced Japanese reading, writing, and listening classes available to further practice.

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? I took Japanese 105a which means the fifth semester of studying Japanese
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 would force yourself to use Japanese with everyone who would understand you and not let people switch the conversation to English unless it genuinely got too hard for you.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the e-pal program
  • I liked the class workload we were given.
  • I liked the area we were at.
* What could be improved?
  • I would incorporate more ways to practice Japanese.
  • I would have more smaller excursions rather than a couple excursions that tried to fit too much in one day.
  • I would have more relatable guest speakers come explain more every day Japanese life concepts.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had a better idea of what classes were actually going to be offered because there were a couple classes initially listed that turned out to not be available for us.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.