Tokyo: A Great Place to Start an Adventure in Japan Past Review

By (Japanese, University of Vermont) for

IES Abroad: Tokyo - Tokyo Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
You don't realize how little you understand another culture until you're immersed in it. I feel much more aware of the culture in Japan now than before. I know now that I want to teach in Japan and maybe even attend graduate school there.

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.

The educational system did what it was meant to do. It was an intensive language program so the workload was high, and we covered a lot of content in very little time. Despite this, I feel like I was able to learn a lot and retain the information. The course was three hours a day and taught all in Japanese which I though was very helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The support services were always there for students (located right down the hall from where we lived). They were efficient, kind, informed, and helpful. The program size was nice and allowed us to all become close friends. There were maybe 30 people in the program all together. The program was all I expected it would be and a little more. It was the perfect balance for someone who wants to learn language intensively, but still have time to do lots of traveling. Also, the program arranged many trips that would've been impossible to do on one's own. Overall, a fun and rewarding experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I would not recommend a host family situation unless you are comfortable with your Japanese skills. It was extremely difficult to communicate on a regular basis. The hostel was a nice living arrangement for a 6-week stay. It definitely would've been too cramped to be in such close proximity to everyone else for any longer than the 6 weeks.

* Food:

Quality of food was excellent when it was provided (very occasionally). Most of the time food had to be purchased by the individual at a store which became expensive quickly.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were so many great field trips that were only made possible by our knowledgeable program coordinators. We attended a large amount of events.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Tokyo is a safe city, but one still needs to be smart and careful. I did not need health care during my trip. There were no health issues at the time.

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
Language acquisition improvement?

Most people in the program were new to Japanese and spoke in English. We could only speak Japanese in the Japanese language class and needed a little Japanese for everyday interactions (grocery shopping, mailing letters etc..). Overall I felt like I was encouraged to use a lot of Japanese, but found the sudden complete immersion stressful so spoke English when around the other American students.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A student who does not have time for a full semester abroad would benefit greatly from this program. Also, I was able to test out of a full year of Japanese class thanks to this program and can now graduate on time.