The best year of my life so far February 07, 2019

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 04/01/2018 to 02/01/2019 with

Sophia University: Tokyo - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about self-reliance, time and money management, and that I am capable of overcoming obstacles on my own. I wouldn't trade it for the world, even the difficult times.

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

Sophia University had a very friendly and kind staff for exchange students. Whether it be personal or academic, they were always willing to help.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Japanese food is simply... the best.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had only a few Japanese friends, but we were close. So that was perfect for me. I learned a lot thanks to them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

ISOS was always fast to respond and help me out.

* Safety:

Tokyo (and Japan) are famous for how safe they are. The only major concerns were when people were being creepy.

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

I was worried I wouldn't be able to learn much if I lived in Tokyo, but I was so wrong! Tokyo may be international compared to the rest of Japan, but it is still very much Japanese. So much culture, language, and experiences to be had.

Finances

* 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)

I worked over a year before I left, plus I received scholarships. So I didn't have any major problems.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget monthly, weekly, or even daily if you need to. I had friends only carry the cash they were allowed to spend daily, although this can be dangerous in emergency times. Keep your budget in mind always, and offer yourself rewards as incentives to spend smart.

Language

* 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

Other than my language classes, my classes were taught in English, so that gave me less exposure. But that was my choice.

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? Intermediate level
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? Make friends!! Find fun ways to practice other than textbook studying--it's important that you enjoy learning so as not to become discouraged.

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

  • International Students
* 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?
  • Tokyo the City
  • friends I made
  • the FOOD
* What could be improved?
  • Student outreach programs at host university
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that Japanese people really can be shy, and this can make it hard sometimes to feel like they want to be friends. I wish I could've forced myself to be more confident. I also would tell myself that: you WILL make mistakes, and that's perfectly okay! Just learn from them and use them to grow.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.