Best study abroad program in Japan Past Review

By (Physics., Florida State University) - abroad from 06/23/2013 to 08/15/2013 with

KCP International Japanese Language School: Tokyo - Intensive Japanese Language Immersion

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Japan is simply amazing. I think everyone needs to visit this country. It's beautiful, clean, safe, kind, respectful, and humbling. Such an interesting culture and so much fun!

Review Photos

KCP International: Tokyo - Japanese Language School Photo KCP International: Tokyo - Japanese Language School Photo KCP International: Tokyo - Japanese Language School Photo KCP International: Tokyo - Japanese Language School Photo KCP International: Tokyo - Japanese Language School Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

KCP uses the direct approach, which I loved. It may sound intimidating only hearing and using Japanese for the whole class period, but it really helps your brain get used to the sound of Japanese and the quick pace. Even students who had no Japanese experience are fine with it, the teachers are really good about somehow getting their point across (lots of hand gestures)!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

KCP Administration is awesome. It was clear from the first day when we had orientation that they were on top of it. They addressed everything I had been wondering about and more.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was in the Ikebukuro dorm, which is really close to KCP. The train system in Japan is very easy/useful so it was not bad at all. There's no meal plan, but I usually just went out to eat with friends somewhere in Shinjuku right after class.

* Food:

KCP didn't provide food so I can't really rate it, but Japanese food is awesome! And it's everywhere... there's a super delicious Udon place near school as well as an Indian Curry restaurant where you can get it to go and then eat it at school!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although I was only at KCP for the short summer term (8 weeks), they still had a lot of things planned for us: kabuki; traditional tea ceremony; a bus trip to a castle, a shrine, and a hot spring, etc. And anything they don't plan for you but you still want to do on your own, the administrators, Michiko-san and Tanaka-san, are great with helping you out: I climbed Fuji-san with some friends and they helped us buy the bus and lodging tickets!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I think it was the second weekend I was in Japan I got sick and completely lost my voice so I emailed Michiko-san to let her know and she immediately offered to take me to the doctor if I needed it. I ended up getting better on my own, but when I asked her about buying cough drops the next day at school, she went straight to the convenience store with me, then and there.

* Safety:

Japan in general is just extremely safe. KCP was very good about making sure you were always safe though.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* 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 kept track of how much I spent throughout the whole trip and it was about $130/week and that's including all of my food, personal expenses, travel, recreation, and souvenirs. I'm pretty frugal though so you just gotta watch what you buy and spend wisely!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I'd say generally meals here are about 700 yen ($7) so if you eat lunch and dinner out you'll spend at least about $15 a day.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Like I said, I kept track of how much money I spent in a spreadsheet. It helped me realize that I should blow some money doing things I'm going to remember forever, like climbing Fuji-san. Then I would just not eat so fancy for a few days... It's all personal preference.

Language

* 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

The entire class was taught in Japanese, no English aloud! It's awesome though, not scary. There's obviously times when you're lost, but they're patient and help you out.

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? I had one year of Japanese before I came to KCP.
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? Going to bars is actually a pretty good way to practice Japanese. People are very friendly and interested in talking to Americans, especially if they know a little bit of English, then they want to practice English!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The friends I made
  • The amount of practice I got with Japanese
  • The great location
* What could be improved?
  • nothing!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There are ATM's in 7/11's (which are EVERYwhere) that take VISA. Also, 7/11's and all the other convenience stores here carry almost everything you need: shampoo/conditioner, pencils/paper, food, toilet paper, towels,etc. And there's hyaku en (100 yen = 1 dollar) stores where you can get plates, bowls, towels, stuff like that so you don't need to bring that sort of stuff.

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!