Immersion in Japanese Language and Culture Past Review

By (East Asian Studies., Brandeis University) for

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Tokyo Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This program was very satisfying, and it has hardened my resolve to return to Japan in th future.

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.

There was a good amount of work, but it was never overwhelming. This was only for a summer, so I can't really say anything definitive on the differences in the University educational system.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was very helpful and were ready to answer any questions. The only small problem I had was that they were harder to reach at night.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was living in the dorms for most of the summer, and while the dorms location was right in the middle of the city (thus making every day life very convenient), that gave me slightly less chance to practice Japanese. Whereas during the one week homestay, my family did not speak English at all, so every interaction was a chance to improve my Japanese language skills.

* Food:

Japan has some of the most delicious food I've ever had. Even in terms of tradition Japanese cuisine, there is a huge variety of foods that I'm sure even the most picky of eaters will find a dish they love.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were many field field trips to some historical sites, and to local highschools. Whether about Japanese history or Japanese social customs, every one of these trips taught me quite a lot.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Of course, Japan has many earthquakes, but the staff gave us plenty of instruction of what to do in the event of any disaster.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Most people in Japan did not have a grasp of the English language, so knowledge of Japanese was necessary for everyday life such as going to the convenience store. Thus, we also had many chances every day to practice the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Although this program is only for a summer, it is definitely a very packed program, with many field trips. Although the homestay is only for a week, this program, in my opinion, is above many other summer programs because you get to experience both Japanese dorm life in the city, and Japanese family life in the more rural areas in the outskirts of Tokyo.