There is value in every country, some just have more; Japan Past Review

By (Villanova University) - abroad from 04/09/2012 to 07/31/2012 with

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that American culture is limited in comparison to cultures that have existed for thousands of years. The problems we have with racism and violence do not exist to the degree we have grown to accept. We have alot of lessons to learn from the world and knowing the language is just the first step.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The education at Sophia was very rigorous as expected from a school in Japan. All the teachers were professionals in their field and required students to spend alot of time outside of the classroom preparing to receive the next's lesson's material.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

N/A direct enrollment

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an international community apartment complex called DK House Shinkoiwa, Tokyo. The property manager was very organized and accommodated foreign students excellently. People who lived in this complex for a long period of time were very inviting and open to new residents. Often the resdients organized dinners and trip in and around Tokyo.

* Food:

Food was excellent. The portions were much smaller than America. Sometimes the waiter would miscalculate the bill so I had to calculate the bills every time I went to eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The language barrier is large between English and Japanese so fitting into the culture took a little longer than a month and a half. The language is vital to learning the culture becasue their interaction are very formal and the explanations for the reasoning behind many practices is not directly translatable. Getting outside of the school environment and finding a club or work was the best way to integrate into the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no needs for healthcare while I was in Japan.

* Safety:

Japan is the safest place on planet earth.

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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You cannot save money in Japan.


* 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? Elementary
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? Speak the language and you will become fluent. Be ready to change your perception of fun and humor.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • I enrolled directly so I had alot of freedom
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing I had full control over what to do.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I should have joined a club. That is a great way to find friends quickly in Japan.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

International Trade

Course Department: Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Instructor: Aki Asano
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Material required per-requisites from Intro and Intermediate Economics. The Professor has a unique teaching style and class attendance is a must in order to pass the class. The textbook is never used. The grade was based on 3 tests and one presentation. All the material was very helpful for understanding international trade but the time commitment is greater than most classes abroad.
Credit Transfer Issues: IDK yet