My Semester in Japan Past Review

By (Pennsylvania State University - University Park / Penn State) - abroad from 03/22/2017 to 07/07/2017 with

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Language & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My language skills certainly improved and I feel I also became more independent and confident. It was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were not challenging and sometimes not engaging. Some of the teachers did not seem qualified to teach their subjects.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The IES staff were amazing! They were super helpful and really friendly!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The food in Japan is amazing! (But the food at the dorm was less good)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

Although the program wasn't perfect, the aspects of it that were good were really great and made up for any other issues.


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Transportation costs add up very quickly. Keep track of how much you spend on trains to save money.


* 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? Intermediate
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? 400
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? A lot of the local students are studying English, so you may have to ask them specifically if you want to practice your Japanese. I asked my friends to speak Japanese with me and it really helped. Also sign up for any extra language opportunities and clubs if you have time.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Friends (Japanese and American)
  • Staff
  • Field trips and planned activities
* What could be improved?
  • Academics
  • Housing
  • Communication about location
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Although the program name says Tokyo, the location of the university is about an hour outside of the city, and housing is at least that depending where you stay.

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!