Tokyo, Japan - An Amazing Experience Past Review

By (HISTORY., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 05/31/2012 to 07/15/2012 with

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Tokyo Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Vastly improved Japanese language skills. Improved communication skills in general. An appreciation and understanding of a new culture. Confidence in my ability to handle new situations and to use problem solving skills in an unfamiliar environment. Yes! It was 100% worthwhile. I learned and experienced so much and I would recommend this program to anybody.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everything was done professionally and the staff was knowledgeable and helpful

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Overall pretty good. However, ( and not all students had this problem), there was mold in my room, and even after cleaning it was noticeable.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The planned activities with the E-pals were excellent. It was easy to make friends with the Japanese college students. Also, the planned trips and festivals we took part in really immersed me in the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick during the program and the staff checked in on my regularly and let me know how to see a doctor if I needed to.

* Safety:

Overall, Tokyo was very safe but don't let your guard down! When visiting a college I left my bag unattended and had money stolen. The vast majority of people are nice, but just be careful anyways!

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


* 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 saved up appropriately, but living in Tokyo is very expensive!

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200 - $300 maybe ( including souvenirs/ transportation/ food)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save more then you think you will need!


* 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? JPN 412L - (4 semesters of 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? Don't worry about the placement test. Just review for a few days before the program. Your fluency will improve drastically just by being in Japan and hearing and speaking the language everyday.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • The culture lectures and accompaning trips were really interesting and fun. The E-pals were a great way to make new Japanese friends, learn about the country, and get used to the city - especially the subway system. The Homestay was a great experience that really challanged you to use your language skills. The planned trips to Nikko and Kamakura were awesome.
  • The program had a good balance between academics and free time where you could explore the city and culture on your own.
* What could be improved?
  • Overall no complaints besides the housing issue I mentioned and also i would recommend giving mid-program grade reports or an easy way for students to see there grades and know how they are doing.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring a change/ coin wallet. Japan is a country that uses change! Prepare to be sick. Pack medicine. You are not used to foreign germs and the majority of the students there, including myself, got sick at some point. Also prepare for digestive system troubles. Your stomach will take a while to adjust to the food. Don't worry too much about the language placement test.