Six Weeks in Tokyo Past Review

By (English, East Asia Studies, Oberlin College) - abroad from 05/30/2013 to 07/14/2013 with

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Tokyo Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Based on my experience in Japan, I decided to major in East Asia Studies, and I was able to jump a year in Japanese language classes back at my college. Definitely worthwhile!

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site program coordinators sometimes seems disorganized, but on the whole I have no major complaints.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We stayed in the Olympic Center. The rooms were small, but as I am small myself and brought very little luggage with me, this wasn't a problem. Other hotels we stayed at were very nice (especially the onsen!), and my weekend experience with a host family was positive as well.

* Food:

I LOVE Japanese food, so I was basically in heaven for the entire trip. However, it was hard to eat healthy since we could not cook for ourselves.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I spent most of my time with my classmates, who were, for the most part, American. It was fairly easy to integrate with local culture if I ventured out alone, so I would recommend doing that as soon and as often as possible if you want to practice your Japanese and get a better feel for Tokyo culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Lots of people got colds, including myself, but cold medicine was readily available.

* Safety:

Tokyo is very safe (with the occasional neighborhood excluded). I even felt fine walking alone late at night. Just use common sense and you'll be fine!

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Not gonna lie, the program is expensive, and living in Tokyo is not cheap either. You're responsible for most of your own food and travel costs, so what you are able to do really depends on your budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Attempt to hold yourself to a budget, week by week. Find cheap places to eat, since food costs will take up most of your budget.


* 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

Living with and spending most of my time with other English-speakers was not very encouraging to speaking Japanese.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? 102
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? Go out alone! Locals are more likely to speak to foreigners if they're on their own.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* 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?
  • location
  • onsen field trip
  • Anish
* What could be improved?
  • cost
  • admissions
  • 250 class level
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known to venture out on my own and speak to locals more frequently!

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 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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Japanese 200

Course Department: Japanese Language
Instructor: Minematsu-sensei
Instruction Language: mostly Japanese
Comments: The class was not terribly challenging, but did a good job of reinforcing the grammar and vocab that we were learning. Although I was in the largest class in the program, there was still plenty of time for each student to get speaking practice. The exams were easy, if you studied.
Credit Transfer Issues: