It was invigorating and a life changing experience! February 03, 2018

By (Montana State University - Bozeman) - abroad from 08/03/2017 to 08/13/2017 with

The GREEN Program: Japan - Disaster Mitigation and Nuclear to Renewable Transitions

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a new perspective of The World, Japan, and especially Fukushima. I learned how working together with a common goal in mind can unite people across the globe for a good cause.

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.

A great hands on experience! Having lectures from different agencies and then being able to tour their facilities was awesome. The whole experience was tangible and applicable to my field of study.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very accommodating. Well scheduled and executed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The caretakers of the Ryokan were so kind and helpful. Meals everyday hand prepared, very delicious. Clean rooms. Great traditional housing experience.

* Food:

Japan has some of the best cuisine. Have an open mind because it will most likely be delicious. All sorts of food available plenty of restaurants and stores. Gluten free, vegan, etc. easily available.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to festivals, parks, the aquarium and much more. We were invited to do the countdown for the Firework festival which was a huge honor. Very intimate cultural experience!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

All and any healthcare was provided through the program. There were no major health issues as far as I was aware. Personally it took my stomach a few days to get used to the food, but I was never sick.

* Safety:

Iwaki was a great location! Walked around all hours of the night and the people were happy to see visitors enjoying themselves! Not to mention you could ask for help practically anywhere!

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

I have never been around a more like-minded group of people! I have made life long friends and connections through this program and that itself is a priceless experience.

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)

All the housing, travel, food and entrance to events was basically covered. We were even given money for food and novelties to bring back home. Overall you Should bring a little money when going to another country. Definitely more than just 100$ for emergencies of any kind.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? maybe 50$ because I wanted to get novelties and eat at the festivals.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can survive on this adventure without spending a lot of money. You will still experience everything the program has to offer. That being said only spend money on things you need or can fit within your budget. Even if you only have 100$ to your name it will be fine.

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

It was Important to learn the traditional greetings and salutations and continue to use them as it was Japanese custom. We were taught some important symbols such as entrance/exit and help desks. Overall the program engaged the foreign language aspect head on and was easy to follow.

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? NONE as far as Japanese. I read some books for beginners.
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? Read some books before going. It was a huge step ahead of most students. Taught me some of the basic customs as well as conversations one would most likely experience while traveling.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Host Family
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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 FOOD
  • THE CULTURE
  • THE GOAL of the program
* What could be improved?
  • nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The cost of most food and novelties is completely manageable! I wouldn't have brought so much money had I known I could literally only spend 1$-5$ a day on food and maybe 10$ on all sorts of knick-knacks!