An Amazing Chance to Learn More About Japan and Yourself September 23, 2019

By (Linguistics & East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) - abroad from 09/05/2016 to 05/25/2017 with

University of Illinois: Illinois Year-in-Japan Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Over the course of one year, I not only gained a wealth of textbook knowledge about Japanese language and culture, I also was able to experience Japanese life firsthand, which was very important to me. This "extra-curricular" way of learning pushed me to break the limits of my own independence and courage: there was a whole new place for me to explore, and I had a time limit to do everything! While the cultural differences and challenges were hard at times, I came out on the other side a more well-rounded, confident individual, so I think that it was worth it.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were definitely rigorous, and at times could be a little stressful, but the content was interesting, engaging, and applicable both inside and outside of school!

* 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

While the Year in Japan program was tough both academically and culturally, without it I would never be in the same place today. I changed a lot as a person, and had a lot of incredible experiences abroad.


* 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)

The scholarships that were available allowed me to live comfortably.


* 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? Only one year of basic courses
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? Talk with your host family! Talk with Japanese students! Talk with the person making your coffee! You'll make a lot of mistakes, but the best way to become comfortable learning a language is exposure and use. Get out of your comfort zone both physically and linguistically.

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
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?
  • Homestay
  • Great location to explore Japan
  • Interesting classes
* What could be improved?
  • Administration-participant feedback
  • Course intensity
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew a little more about the different forms culture shock can take, and more on how to effectively recognize and recover from it.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!