Japan is F***cking Awesome Past Review

By (Finance And Economics, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 09/21/2012 to 07/31/2013 with

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
ABSOLUTELY. I would do it again a thousand times over. Studying abroad teaches things about yourself that you will never learn just by studying in America.

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 professors were hit or miss. Some of them were decent but I would say that most of them were not the best teachers. University in Japan is not as difficult or as important as in the US, it is more about simply getting accepted and then a relatively free ride from there. That being said the academic rigor was not very difficult. The only class that may take actual time to study would be the intensive Japanese courses.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I didn't talk to the on-site administration of my program very much but I had varying views. Most of the time they were nice and helpful, a few of the times they were rude and rigid.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose an independent apartment instead of University housing. It was tiny, expensive and lacked many of the things we consider a good apartment here in the US. However, I knew all of this going in so if you choose independent apartments, be prepared to pay A LOT if you want one that is a decent size with more modern accouterments.

* Food:

Absolutely delicious! the food never got old for me in the cafeteria's and if you decide to go out, there is a world of delicious food waiting for you! It is the city with the most Michelin Stars as well as the city with the most restaurants in the WORLD.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Sophia University is nice and relatively easy to integrate into, however it is easy to get sucked in to speaking english quite a bit. However, even if your Japanese is terrible, you can still join all the clubs and mingle with the japanese students so if you put the effort in it should be relatively easy.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any issue so I never used the healthcare in Sophia or Japan and cannot therefore give a legitimate review of this.

* Safety:

You will never find a safer city in the world. I walked outside to get a snack or to visit a store many times in 2 in the morning and never felt dangerous whatsoever. There is a reason that Tokyo has the lowest crime for a city that developed or that big.

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)

It is in fact very easy to spend a ton of money every week if you want. There were quite a bit of things I wished to buy so depending on the week I would save a lot or spend a lot. However, it is also quite easy to save money on food if you wanted to. Simply go to places like yoshinoya and matsuya.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $130 on food and weekly expenses
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at Yotsuya, Matsuya, and Kaiten Zushi restaurants, or ramen stores to eat cheap. Or eat at Cafeteria.


* 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

It is entirely up to you on how much Japanese you use. It is easy to speak completely in Japanese or not at all.

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? I had completed Second Year of 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? Simply speak Japanese as much as possible even if you think you are making mistakes, it is the only way to improve. Join some Japanese groups that are made to practice Japanese for foreigners. Make some Japanese friends and join a Club with Japanese speakers.

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

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Immersive interaction to learn a language
  • Meeting new people
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To speak more Japanese!!!!

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!