An Unforgettable Experience! Past Review

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 04/01/2016 to 07/31/2016 with

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I've learned that you can't really understand a country and its culture without actually being there and experiencing it. I have learned a lot about Japan as a country and about the people that love there. It was definitely worthwhile. I did many things I never did before and it really made me step out of my comfort zone.

Review Photos

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

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.

I enjoyed most of my classes. It was a little difficult juggling school in a foreign country, but very manageable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I actually liked the dorm I stayed at, DK House Matsudo. It was about an hour commute from school, but that is very common in Tokyo. I had Japanese friends who commuted up to 2 hours. I can't be helped in such a densely populated city.

* Food:

If you love Japanese food you will be fine! But if you're craving other food it is a little difficult to find, will be expensive, and is usually tweaked to fit Japanese tastes! But regardless it's all delicious!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I picked up on the mannerisms and habits fairly quickly. There are still somethings I will still never be able to do properly as a foreigner, but I've come to live with that.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any issues, but it was a bit of a pain to have to apply for Japanese Health Insurance even though we had overseas insurance.

* Safety:

Japan is really safe. You don't usually have to worry about anything happening, since everywhere is always bustling with people. Also Japanese citizens are very good about returning lost items, so need to worry about theft.

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

I met some incredible people from all over the world! Sophia University is quite diverse and many of the local students are proficient in English. And even if they are not they are eager to learn and practice! It was fun being able to teach each other! I made some life long friends and made some incredible memories.


* 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)

For me it was a little difficult since I had to pay for rent at home as well. Japan is definitely not on the cheap side, but if you budget and spend wisely it's very affordable. I also cooked a lot and didn't eat out too much.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $25-$50/week (depends if I cooked that week or not)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget and cook if you can! Shop at Daiso (Japanese $1 store) for little lifestyle necessities, its so cheap and they have everything there.


* 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

You can get by in Tokyo without knowing much Japanese. But there were occasions where if was needed and sometimes I had to ask my Japanese friends for assistance. Its up to you whether you really 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? JPN 611D
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? Trying speaking to as many people as you can. That's really the only way to improve your Japanese.

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?
  • The people.
* What could be improved?
  • Having prior knowledge about the Japanese Health Insurance.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to apply to Japanese Health Insurance and how to go about it afterwards you've applied and what to do once you leave.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.