It will be a great learning experience if YOU make it one. Past Review

By (Eastern Illinois University) - abroad from 08/19/2019 to 12/24/2019 with

Kansai Gaidai University: Hirakata - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Self-actualization and networking are paramount to success. You must not rely on other people or a program to have a good experience. I gained several of the best opportunities of my life. But, this was from networking outside of the university. If you study abroad and you just stay on campus, then you will squander the rare opportunity to see what it is really like to live in the country.

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

There were no issues here.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dormitory was beautiful and quite close to campus. There were many agreeable amenities. However, some of the rules were strict and the staff was too invasive.

* Food:

Of course Japanese food is wonderful.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Most of my integration was of my own doing. While the school does offer a plethora of opportunities to interact with various aspects of Japanese culture, it is mostly superficial field trips and staged interactions with local high school students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues.

* Safety:

Hirakata, as is the case with most of Japan, is incredibly safe. However, one of the largest crimes in Japan are older male stalkers and molesters who prey upon girls and women. The school and the country both do address this and take various precautions

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

I am personally at a different stage in life where the standard undergraduate education won't suffice to pique my interests. However, for those in their teens to early 20's this is an incredible program.


* 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 was able to live well but this was mostly thanks to two large scholarships that I received from outside of the university.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $100-$200. I did a lot outside of school and audited a course at another university so train expenses piled up.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? #1 PLAN I kept several word documents running since well before I arrived in Japan. I kept them constantly updated as I spent money and always left a large margin for error. For every scholarship or source of funding I received I rounded down. For everything that I bought or needed to spend money on I rounded up. Plan for the unexpected. #2 PAY YOURSELF. Give yourself a weekly and monthly allowance in order to keep track of your expenditures. This is critical for living as a student in general.


* 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

In class, all of my courses were only in Japanese. However, there is too much English in the dormitory and very limited options offered to converse in Japanese with Japanese students. That being said, your education is primarily up to you and I, personally, had no trouble finding people to engage with in Japanese everyday.

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? Beginning to intermediate. However, most of my study has been self-study
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? It is easy to fall in the trap of hanging out with the other American students within the safety of the campus or dormitory. Challenge yourself to engage with Japanese students and get yourself off of campus. Join clubs, join outside organizations and make a lot of mistakes. Ask questions and talk to strangers. Japan is safe and an ideal place to get lost and have to ask for directions.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • All levels of Japanese are available
  • Manga Production Course
  • Very Good Japanese Instructors
* What could be improved?
  • Less staged and guided interactions with the culture
  • Rules in the dormitory
  • Programs to engage with Japanese university students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That studying abroad is really easy to do

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!