Wonderful Time in Japan! August 30, 2019

By (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) - abroad from 09/01/2018 to 05/31/2019 with

University of Illinois: Illinois Year-in-Japan Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Living in Japan helped me to become more self-confident and independent. At the start of the program, I was nervous to go places by myself, but received advice from a former student that it was best to go out by yourself, because if you went with another international student, you would just end up speaking English. This turned out to be great advice. I went to a bar by myself for the first time and ended up talking to so many different people and making so many new friends I was encouraged to go back and try again, and again, and again with different restaurants, bars, concerts, and cafes. Each time I tried going somewhere new bolstered my self-confidence as I realized that I was perfectly capable of doing things I never would have done back in America. I also improved my Japanese skills greatly, as I was always meeting new people and having interesting conversations. People stopped asking me “are you a tourist?” and started asking me “how long have you lived in Japan?” At some places I even became a regular and came to be good friends with the bartenders and several other regular customers. This program has helped me so much. I’ve delved deeper into my hobbies and interests and found what makes me happy. I’ve learned what it’s like to live away from home, independent of my parents and hometown. I’ve learned about Japanese language, culture, history, art, and even economics through classes at Konan University. I have visited culturally and historically significant sites, like a one-thousand year old hot spring bath or the oldest wooden structure in the world. Better yet, I’ve actually understood the significance of these sites, and been able to appreciate them fully, from learning about them in class. I’ve made great friends, got to see bands a younger fifteen-year-old me would have died to see play live, and have even met and had drinks with one of my favorite musicians. I had a wonderful time, academically and emotionally, and I can’t wait to return to Japan after graduation.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with 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

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30

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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? A 200 level course.
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? Go to bars and cafes and talk to people!

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

  • 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?
  • Making friends
  • Learning Japanese
  • Homestay experience
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't be afraid to go places by yourself.

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.