A short program with lots of travel Past Review

By (Berea College) - abroad from 05/29/2016 to 06/27/2016 with

KIIS: Traveling - Experience Japan (Summer)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have been abroad before so I was comfortable traveling to another country, but this was my first time to this country and I enjoyed my time there more than I expected. I know I will be back again, either to live or just visit.

Review Photos

KIIS: Traveling - Experience Japan (Summer) Photo KIIS: Traveling - Experience Japan (Summer) Photo KIIS: Traveling - Experience Japan (Summer) Photo KIIS: Traveling - Experience Japan (Summer) Photo KIIS: Traveling - Experience Japan (Summer) Photo

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.

I learned a lot from my courses and what I learned was reinforced by what we were seeing and experiencing in the host country. I normally have some difficulty remembering information but I had an easier time remembering vocabulary and such as we saw real-life examples throughout our trip.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

For the most part our program went smoothly. We had a few issues with people running late and delaying the group, which caused the program director to become frustrated but she handled it fairly well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

For the most part our hotels were great, they varied in quality but none were of poor quality. Our host families also had wonderful homes and I'm so glad we got to experience living in a Japanese home.

* Food:

The food was always amazing, I have no complaint about the food itself. When meals weren't provided at the hotel we were expected to get it for ourselves. 2 meals were provided by the program and we were given money to compensate for it but we were never given enough. I never once splurged on an expensive meal and never spent more than $10 on a meal but I still ended up paying for more than one meal a day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was easier for myself with 2 years of Japanese language study to get around on my own and communicate with the locals but we mostly stayed together and spoke English with one another. Despite the week with our host families I felt like we had very little interaction with the locals and integration with the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Japan is the safest country in the world in terms of crime. We had almost zero issues with safety while we were there. At one point our director went to Hokkaido and experienced an earthquake while there, but it was a low level earthquake and she was able to make it back to our location in a timely manner.

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

Even though I didn't get as much language improvement as I wanted, I was able to do a lot more traveling than most other programs provide. I am very glad I was able to see so much of my host country, more than most people get on their programs.


* 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)

Even though KIIS provided funds for 2 meals a day, even if I spent under $10 per meal it still didn't cover it completely. I spent very little money on souvenirs in order to watch my spending but I still feel like I spent more than I should've due to paying for some of the KIIS meals out of pocket.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between $100-$170 a week, roughly
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you buy the cheapest food you can and don't spurge on snacks you can save money on food but it's always fun trying the various different foods of the host country! I also recommend shopping for souvenirs at the dollar store as well as not buying too many souvenirs 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

One of my courses was a language course so in class we practiced a lot but outside the class we were with many students that weren't in the class or knew very little to none of the language so our group just spoke English with one another. Often we tried to speak Japanese with the locals but many that we encountered spoke enough English to make it easier for us. Most of our host families also had little to fluent English so many students never had to speak Japanese with their families. I would have preferred a program with a better language aspect

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? Jap 104, the fourth semester long course
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? Interact a lot with your host family. A lot of vocabulary I had trouble remembering before became easier to use as I used it more often to communicate with my host family. They also taught me new words and corrected my grammar so I feel like I learned from them.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Extensive travel is included
  • Many locations of interest were visited
  • We felt very different from tourists since we were students
* What could be improved?
  • Fewer temples and a wider variety of site visits
  • An option for deep immersion/intensive language learning
  • More money provided for meals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I never thought that most of my money would be spent on food but it was. I would have brought a little bit more foreign cash with me as well, since in a few cities I had difficulty finding a place to exchange my money.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.