Mary Mackenzie Runager, Fall 2017 Participant
I highly, HIGHLY recommend this program. I honestly regret only going one semester when I could have gone for a whole year. With it being my first time leaving the country, I was so worried about culture shock and homesickness. But I was struck with neither during this trip for numerous reasons. The people of the college (and even the country in general) are some of the kindest, most helpful human beings that I have ever met. There is no need to worry about being lost in the unfamiliar language or culture, because it is pretty much guaranteed that you will be able to find help from either the staff of the university or a fellow exchange student. Every day was an adventure, and I never got bored. I took pictures or videos every day because there was always something exciting and fun to enjoy. The female dorm was quite nice, and the food served there was delicious. It was like getting the meals that you would normally get in a home-stay situation. The country is also very safe. I mean they made a big deal over a wallet-snatcher on the news. The crime rate is incredibly low, so I felt safe all the time. The price for the overall trip is reasonable as well. The field trips and various classes that are offered at the university are interesting, and the professors and Japanese volunteer students are lovely as well. It is perfect for finishing up a Japanese minor or even just getting college credits for an adventure in a foreign country. However, I still have some minor criticisms of the program. I gave a 5 out of 5 star rating because I think that the pros outweigh the cons. But if it were possible, it would probably be more accurate to give this program a rating of 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I overall enjoyed my school experience over there, but the language courses were a bit difficult. I like a good challenge, but the pace of learning was a little too fast for my taste. We spent 3 months going through the entirety of one textbook that it takes two semesters at UAB to learn. If you are good at learning at a fast pace, then you should have no problem, but I sometimes found it to be slightly overwhelming. The language course is also 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. I am not accustomed to having a class this long and often, so sometimes the language class would be a bit difficult to sit through. But it never got unbearable for me. Overall, I was thrilled with my time in Tokyo participating in this program. I made so many friends, ate tons of delicious food (especially curry!!), explored the vibrant culture, and learned a great deal during the time I spent there. I can't wait to return to the country someday, hopefully soon.
Summer 2016 Participant
It was a great program and I had the opportunity to learn a lot and also do what I wanted to do in Japan. I would have liked the program to be a bit longer I feel that if it had been a full three months then the course load would not have been so heavy and I could have absorbed the information more. Other than that I have no complaints the staff at Nihon University were very helpful and accommodating and I had a great time hanging out with the other international students and also the Japanese student volunteers. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to rapidly improve their Japanese skills and get to know Tokyo and its culture.