Travelling Adventures July 08, 2018

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 03/15/2018 to 06/26/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Tokyo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about cultural nuance, and also how being good at a foreign language doesn't mean you're competent at navigating the culture.

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 classes weren't excessively easy but they were definitely different than classes at an American school, and the expectations were quite different.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was awesome in terms of the facilities, but in reality living in a dorm that's exchange student only really hampers the experience.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not at all. Part of it is kind of inevitable just because Japanese society can be a little bit closed off to foreigners, but it didn't feel so much like a study abroad program so much as an American college experience transplanted in Tokyo. A large part of this was because it was really difficult to meet Japanese people, have conversations, and make friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

Although there were a lot of issues I had with the program, it was overall a pretty good experience.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? maybe 100 dollars a week or so.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to the convenient store! But lots of onigiri.

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

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? Upper level Japanese
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? Be really, really, really proactive. Respond to people in Japanese even when they talk to you in English. Which will happen more often than not within ICU. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, just go for it and be persistent.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Got to practice japanese
  • Fun people
  • Good location
* What could be improved?
  • Structure
  • Transparency
  • More rigor
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Being good at a language doesn't mean you know anything about the culture where that language is spoken, or that the people in that culture remotely care that you are working towards understanding their language.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

西洋古典学研究論

Course Department: Classical Studies
Instructor: Yoshinori Sano
Instruction Language: Japanese
Comments: This was an amazing experience academically, because the teacher made classwork extremely interesting! There wasn't a ton of homework, but it was a phenomenal chance to practice listening to Japanese AND learn more about Greek and Roman classics.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

JLP7

Course Department: Japanese Language
Instructor: Ikumi Ozawa
Instruction Language: Japanese
Comments: It was an interesting class that covered relevant material, but it wasn't extremely rigorous and the expectations + classroom atmosphere were somewhat strange.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Cultural Portfolio

Course Department:
Instructor: Sanae Eda
Instruction Language: Japanese
Comments: This was a pretty chill class. We talked about contemporary social issues in Japan and went on some field trips. My chief complaint is that it was wildly unpredictable (what we did in class was very capricious and completely dependent on the day), so much so that it felt less like a class and more like a chance to gather and reflect--which in itself is fine, but four days a week for those kinds of conversations is completely excessive.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Internship

Course Department:
Instructor: Sanae Eda?
Instruction Language: Japanese
Comments: My internship was a pretty good experience, but it was a little confusing because they didn't really have me doing anything. I kind of just sat there and occasionally entered data, but they were very generous to me and I feel like it was overall a decent work experience.
Credit Transfer Issues: