Japan is freaking amazing Past Review

By (Linguistics., Brigham Young University) - abroad from 05/08/2013 to 06/18/2013 with

Japan Study Abroad Reflections: Comprehensive Reviews of Past Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile. I learned the language, made some great friends, fell in love with the country and its people, and become a more knowledgeable person. I loved it!

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.

It was fantastic! I enjoyed the home stays, the field trips, and the entire experience! I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their language skills, or even just learn more about Japan's culture!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our teachers were fantastic; however, our supervisor did have some problems withdrawing enough money for a lot that we did. I'm still not quite sure whose fault that was, but it was a little bit burdensome at times. Otherwise, I loved it!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay family experience was amazing; it was probably one of the best parts about the study abroad. The hotels we stayed at were pretty great, too.

* Food:

Japanese food is amazing! It's so good I gained more than five pounds there, even with all the walking we did!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt as integrated as is possible, really. Japan's a bit different, in that I'll always be an outsider, but I felt like I lived more like a Japanese person than I ever have, and everyone was always really nice and inviting.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There were never any issues that needed health care, so I'm just giving this rating because nothing went wrong!

* Safety:

Japan is overall pretty safe; there was one incident where my friend and I saw a robbery in process, but that was in downtown Osaka- one of the most dangerous places in Japan- and was literally the only incident I had. Although there were lots of people who told me that there would be creepers or people trying to feel you up, I never had any such experiences (there were a couple of weird people I encountered, but weird people are everywhere). I never felt that I was in danger at all.

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 felt like I spent a lot of money; I spent about $500 out of my own pocket (i.e., outside that which was provided by the program for food and transportation on class days) over 6 weeks. It certainly wasn't awful, but I felt kind of bad about it.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Think twice before you get souvenirs! It's best to get all your money out at once so you don't have to pay ATM fees every time you want more money. Try to save a bit of your lunch money, since you get a lot. Try to get more filling snacks if you're hungry; they're hard to find, but they're out there. Also, don't go to Daiso too much, because it's super tempting to buy stuff when it's only 105 yen (but definitely go at least a couple of times, because Daiso's awesome). In general, just be smart about it, set a budget, and set yourself up for a bit of failure.


* 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

We didn't really speak Japanese when with the other students, but, as we were staying with a host family, we definitely had to use our language a lot!

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 202
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? Talk to people! Try to read books (with furigana, preferably)! Immerse yourself as much as possible!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Home stay
  • Japan
  • Wandering around and getting lost
* What could be improved?
  • Money problems
  • More focus on speaking Japanese together as students
  • Knowing about the host families before hand
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? More of the language. But seriously, I wish I had known to get a Pasmo. It would have been really convenient to have, especially in Yokohama/Tokyo.

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!