Fantastic, taught me a lot about life Past Review

By (Asian Studies: Japanese, University of Texas - Pan American) for

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This has completely changed my future plans - I fully intend to work in Japan at some point in the future.

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.

It really depended on the class as in most Universities - some teacher's workload was ridiculous whereas some too light and some very reasonable. The teaching method wasn't much different from that of my home university, considering that the program was oriented towards foreign exchange students. The strictness of attendance was a bit ridiculous. One class gave students an instant F if they missed 3 classes for whatever reason. I wish they would allow us to take courses in Japanese.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It was very organized and had good connections with my home university so everything went smoothly. Only one thing is the way they group the foreign exchange students in one faculty makes you feel a bit secluded from the Japanese students. As long as you actively find and participate in clubs that should be no problem. Also, they're very strict on where people should stand in the language courses. I had passed my intensive course with little effort and wanted to skip the next level but that was completely forbidden. They wouldn't even let me re-take the placement language test even though I would have just had to walk in and take it with all the new coming students. Was disappointing and confusing. I decided not to take a language course after that because the level I was required to take was in no way a challenge.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Was a bit far and expensive for the location. Everyone was really friendly and I made a lot of friends. There were a good bit of Japanese people living here as well so it was nice for my language acquisition.

* Food:

Food was great. Much better than American food in terms of healthiness. Eat anywhere and you'll enjoy it. Never felt like I was lacking something

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

People are great, transportation system is fantastic. As long as you have a positive attitude and can speak the language, it'll be more than enjoyable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Never had any health problems or felt in danger.

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


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

It was okay, I mainly improved my writing and reading skills. All my speaking skills were improved outside of the class by talking with other people. I used Japanese as much as possible. I practiced with Japanese friends I had met through clubs and whatnot.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Strictness of your placement in classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Go into it head on with a good attitude and it'll be great. As long as you're ready to take action, talk to people and participate in events, you'll love it. The only kids I've heard of that haven't enjoyed the experience were the ones who decided to go to class, come home to their room, eat and sleep. Make sure to get out there.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Japanese Women's History

Course Department: AHST3520 FLA
Instructor: Bettina
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was very organized and I liked the way it was arranged as a group discussion. The teacher expected a lot out of the students. However, it was hard to tell which points of information were really important and should be taken in. Weren't too many times when I thought "Oh! This is significant!"
Credit Transfer Issues: I'm still working on this
Course Name/Rating:

Topics in Linguistics

Course Department: ALNG4520
Instructor: Motohashi
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Challenging material. At some points the teacher didn't seem as organized as the other class I had taken with him. He was of course very knowledgeable and was ready to answer any questions we might have had. Enjoyed the class.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Intensive Japanese 2

Course Department: AJPN270A
Instructor: Noguchi
Instruction Language: Japanese
Comments: Was an 'intensive' language course. Had it five days a week for two class periods. Was a bit of a droll at sometimes since you were mainly grinding through drills and whatnot. Couldn't say it different from my home university all that much. Participated as much as I would have normally. Wasn't too difficult.
Credit Transfer Issues: Still working on getting this one re-evaluated
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: CSE60230
Instructor: Fukuda
Instruction Language: Japanese
Comments: Good, organized and straightforward. Taught basics of using Microsoft Office and HTML
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Introduction to Art History

Course Department: AART2010
Instructor: Hayashi
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was kind of disappointing. Long lectures with all kinds of information about the art works and artists. Two tests throughout the entire class - both tests required memorizing some 200+ artworks
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Introduction to Japanese Linguistics

Course Department: ALNG3010
Instructor: Motohashi
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Good course - nice introduction to the structure of Japanese linguistics.
Credit Transfer Issues: Still working on it
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: GSE42300
Instructor: Osamu
Instruction Language: Japanese
Comments: Pretty intriguing class. Had only one final test. The teacher explained in detail things like : Alcohol + Metabolism, Fermentation, Distillation, Making of alcohol and Cheese etc. Teacher had nice presentation slides to go with his lecture and he was very clear.
Credit Transfer Issues: