Fun, enriching experience August 01, 2019

By (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) - abroad from 09/05/2018 to 12/21/2018 with

University of Illinois: Illinois Year-in-Japan Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
There will be hard times for sure, and you may feel tired and homesick more than once, but it’s not until you travel that you realize how much the world has to offer and how much there is left to be seen. Having made new friends from all corners of the world, I came out of the program feeling like I had become a global citizen, with a newfound appreciation for the power of language and cultural exchange. I will definitely carry this experience with me for the rest of my life and cannot recommend it enough—Get out of your comfort zone. Go out and travel, study abroad, and discover something new. There’s really nothing else like it.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I looked forward to going to class every day. Enough work to keep you learning, but not intense enough to stop you from going out and exploring Japan on your own.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Faculty and staff were always helpful, taking care of any problems or questions I had.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Loved my host family, possibly the most enriching part of the YiJ experience.

* Food:

Food in Japan is generally cheaper than in the US, and the convenience stores all around the area offer more than enough to cover any needs you have. The cafeteria at Konan University is excellent as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Interacting with my host family and the students at Konan University every day helped me feel completely immersed in the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

YiJ exceeded all my expectations for what a study abroad experience could be and I could not imagine doing it again but with a different program.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 7000 yen
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Consider dining in at the cafeteria or buying food at a convenience store instead of going out to eat for lunch too often.


* 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

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
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? Your host family is there for you every day. As much as possible, use Japanese with them, and have fun talking to them. They're interesting people living their own lives who are ready to engage with you if you want to get better at Japanese.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people I met
  • Support system (administrative & financial)
  • Kobe
* What could be improved?
  • Classes could be more organized, especially the electives
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Honestly, the less I knew going in, the more of an adventure it turned out to be.

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.