Learning Experience Past Review

By (Japanese Language and Literature., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 04/02/2012 to 07/31/2012 with

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was a worthwhile experience. I learned that I can function in a foreign country, on my own, after a bit of an initial shock. I also learned that I don't really have a lot in common with Japanese people.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Nerima was a bit far from Sophia (with a commute of almost an hour every day), but getting to stay in a house with both Japanese and other study abroad students enabled me to feel at ease at the beginning of my trip and easily make friends and practice my Japanese over the course of it.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Tokyo is an incredibly safe city, especially for one so large. I very rarely felt ill at ease, regardless of time of day or location.

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)

* 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? $250
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Tokyo is a very expensive city, but if you learn to cook Japanese food (especially if you are taught by a Japanese person), you can save on eating out while still experiencing the culture's local cuisine.


* 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? Advanced conversation and
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? Find some local friends. Do not spend all of your time with other study abroad students, especially ones who are not serious about learning the language. Join clubs, go to events, etc. Put yourself out there and just talk to people. Also, try not to worry about messing up, because you'll find that you mess up more if you do that, and that native speakers are generally happy to correct you.

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

  • 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?
  • My dorm, DK House was a great place to live
  • My Japanese professors were really awesome
* What could be improved?
  • More opportunities to get involved in the culture
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how little people that are not majoring in a language actually care about studying the language, even if they've taken the time (not to mention spent the money) to study abroad. I would not spend my time trying to convince them to study with me, but rather simply attempt to make more local friends.