Go to Kyoto instead February 22, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/29/2017 to 12/15/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Tokyo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I did become better at Japanese but I think I would've had a far more enjoyable experience doing it at another program.

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 Japanese language program was good and helped me accomplish what I wanted to do in the country, but the inability to register for other classes taught in English when I knew other students from other programs like the UC one were registered was strange and disappointing. It gave me less opportunities to learn about the topics I was actually interested and to meet other Japanese students since I was not very interested in any of the club activities/circles.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorm for international students I stayed in was very nice and hotel-like, even compared to horror stories I heard from other students about cockroaches and a month without hot water. The lack of kitchen meant I was eating combini meals and cafeteria food every day during the whole program (which in Japan is actually not bad and unhealthy). I

* Food:

The food available in the cafeteria was good quality but repetitive and I would've appreciated having a kitchen

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did not have many opportunities to talk to other Japanese people and I did not make friends with Japanese students at the university. I did appreciate the trip to Tottori where we talked to other students our age and I made friends with some people there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally did not have any health issues while I was there but from other friends I heard it was pretty difficult to find an English-speaking clinic.

* Safety:

Japan is a pretty safe country in general.

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

I would probably have chosen another program in Tokyo

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)

This is not a question I am able to answer well because my very generous parents helped my living costs while I wasn't able to get a job, but I heard other students commenting on how it was very difficult for them to be there with minimal financial aid and no opportunities to supplement it.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at the combini every day lol

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

We were encouraged often to use the language but in the wrong ways. The Middlebury course was too above my ability in the language and I quickly fell behind. We also went on a trip where we engaged with middle school students but this was extremely awkward for me due to my lack of language ability and the student's shyness and lack of English ability.

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? JLP4
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Tottori trip
  • My internship for credit
* What could be improved?
  • Middlebury course curriculum did not feel relevant or interesting
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Look into the Waseda program

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!