Cultural Differences Clash March 27, 2018

By (Hamilton College) - abroad from 08/28/2017 to 03/10/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Tokyo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Experience is always worthwhile.

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.

I found no purpose to the mandatory Middlebury program classes, I found them unnecessary and a waste of time that could;ve been used on other I.C.U academic courses for exposure into the academic classes which were honestly really good exposure into the academic life of other Japanese classmates. Academically, Hamilton courses are a lot more rigorous than I.C.U. courses.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I am not sure if it was a cultural difference but it seemed as if the administrator wasn't really interested in the study abroad students. She seemed very uninterested and detached to the students. I personally didn't like her as the administrator.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did not enjoy living in my dorm as to there was way too many rules impeding interaction between other people. It was my last choice of dorm that i was put into. Also the Housing Office doesn't really inform you of dates to be able to change dorms or any information on that. People in the dorm were in a sense "fake" nice because they had to in a sense "put up with each other" Again this is all from my point of view and feelings that I received while being there.

* Food:

Since I cant eat raw food I struggled a bit in Japan, otherwise the school cafeteria was best for cheap foods. Buying food to cook was really expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I didn't feel integrated with the local culture because foreigners will always be seen as the "other", sometimes people would talk about you on the subway in Japanese without knowing you could understand them and that really upset me. The conservative homogeneous way of life didn't sit well with me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Didn't really use it

* Safety:

Honestly it is an intensely safe country. Things to watch out is if you go clubbing, never go by yourself if you're a female.

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40 to 100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get various scholarships or a job


* 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

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? JLP 4
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? Make Japanese friends although hard and difficult.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • N/A
* What could be improved?
  • Administrator
  • Courses
  • Dorm Decision
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How strict dorms are.