I had a thoroughly fantastic time at Sophia Past Review

By (COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCES AND SUPPORT SERVICES., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 10/15/2010 to 07/22/2011 with

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was extremely worthwhile. I gained a knowledge of an entire culture, many many friends, and a skill that I value a lot. To this day I keep in touch with 30+ people that I met there, and have plans to return to see them that I hold very dear. It was a fantastic experience, not for all, but definitely for me, and it was most likely my most enjoyable year in undergrad.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

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?

Selected Dormitory was a little far from the school (the school has no on-campus dormitories)

* Food:

A little expensive but generally good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Japan is not exactly an easy place to "fit in", but the school was very international and contained many people from many places, and many events were available to experience japanese culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

People generally only found trouble if they were looking for it, despite living in a city that used to be a hot spot for illegal activity.

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)

Tokyo was an expensive place to live, especially due to shifts and changes in the world economy.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* 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? While I was there, I bought essential foods first (things to keep you alive), and also make sure to enroll in programs at local supermarkets (for example water-purchasing programs) that will save you money.


* 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

Classes became less useful in actual conversation (ex. I did not talk to too many japanese students about the effects of the ozone), but were useful.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 2nd Year 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? There is no substitute for actual interaction with Japanese students. Join a club, speak IN Japanese constantly. People will react to that, and will speak back to you in Japanese, as it is more comfortable to them (though there might be some that ask for you to speak English so they may practice). Though in class you are able to learn many grammar points, kanji, and vocabulary, without experiencing how real Japanese use these points of the language, your knowledge will be incomplete. Subtle points of the language can be found while speaking to a native.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Freedom to pick and choose classes, and use time as I saw fit
  • Exposure to other cultures (not just Japanese)
  • Length
* What could be improved?
  • Dormitory options
  • Extension options
  • Class options for non-Japanese majors
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I knew that living in Tokyo would be so expensive. Also, it was extremely important to look high and low for apartments before moving, but there are very foreigner-friendly companies willing to work with students who want to find an apartment.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.