it is more than you could imagine October 29, 2019

By (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign) - abroad from 09/01/2018 to 12/31/2018 with

University of Illinois: Illinois Year-in-Japan Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The memories, my friends, and an N2 certificate

Review Photos

University of Illinois: Illinois Year-in-Japan Program Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My name is Jiaao, I was in YIJ program at Konan University, Kobe, for one semester started from fall 2018 to the beginning of 2019. I will put this word before I start to talk about my life there. I would rather be there for one more semester even if I cannot graduate on time. Everything that you have here is more than what you could ever imagine. Academically, it is a happy experience, but never an easy one. You will be placed in one of the several levels after an exam. Do not worry about whether you did good or not because no matter what level you were put into, you will definitely learn a lot. I was put into the highest level and one day when I talk about some grammar with my classmate at another level, I realize some of the grammar they learned is unfamiliar to me. I then realize that even though I am at the highest level, there is always more to learn. The morning class is always going to be your language course. The instructors are the teacher of Konan University. I was worried a little bit at the beginning because local teachers may not know how to teach foreigners, but soon I found out they are professionals. It's never a boring class because you will have a chance to hear more about cultures, stories, watching videos that related to the materials, and some times even going out to talk to the locals. You will have your own research topics to eventually make a presentation and talk about it to your classmates. They give you a chance to local areas to talk and learn about your topic so learning about it is not like sitting in front of the desk and searching it online. By the end of the semester, you will have a chance to take an official Japanese test which if you learned carefully in your daily classes I think you will pass it. Afternoon classes are those cultural courses such as art or history. These courses are taught in English just like the classes you have been taking in your University. I do not know about the other classes but the two that I have done were the art and the history, which during the weekend the professor will take you out to actually go to those places to learn more about the subjects. For example, for the art of Kansai, we have been to temples, shrines and traditional Japanese castles to learn about architecture, religion, painting, and sculpture. For history, we went hiking one of the local mountains and also temples and shrines. All these field trips were paid by Konan University except for the meals, so you do not need to worry about the train tickets or the tickets to the temples, the school will pay you back to you pretty much once you come back from the trip.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Pretty good

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

You will do the homestay while you are here in Japan. It really depends where you will stay but they are all not too far from the school which takes no more than an hour to go to school. I lived with a generous granny and a dog and two cats. There were days that I simply do not go out but just stay at home with lovely friends. I assume the hosts are not speaking English just like mine, but communication is never the problem. On the contrary, you will get improved even if you do not study hard but to chat with the host daily.

* Food:


* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being an Asian, I did not felt a lot of culture shocks

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

you will have insurance once you arrived

* Safety:

Very safe

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



* 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)

You got scholarships, also you can work as a tutor.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about 100 bucks
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do not save money! everything is worth to try!


* 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

Japanese only, you will only use English when it is off school or in the afternoon classes

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? JAPN 204
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk to the locals and the students, don't be afraid!

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Local people
  • Host
  • field trip
* What could be improved?
  • no
  • no
  • no
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was wondering if it is worthy to spend a semester there since back then I am already a senior. I regret now because I should put off my graduation and do it for a whole year

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!