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.
Duncan P McCrary, Academic Year 2015 Participant
Overall, it was a good program, but the course is almost certainly designed to be a semester only program. To elaborate further, the classes are split into five different skill levels beginning from A (No experience) and ending at E (N1 JLPT proficiency). Upon arriving, I was placed into "B Class" and proceeded along with my studies accordingly.
The issues arose after finishing B Class. For the second semester, we took another placement test to see which class we should be in, and we were moved up to C Class. Ordinarily that is the natural progression of things, but the stopping point for B Class and the starting point for C Class are entirely different places in completely different textbooks. The discrepancy between classes tied with the two-month gap between semesters actually caused the teachers of C Class to "downscale" the curriculum to accommodate for the gap, meaning they cut content and also slowed down the pace, which is a gracious thing to do, but the fact that it was necessary at all stirs up frustration even in me now.
Again, I enjoyed my time in the program and in Japan. But the juxtaposition of the first and second semesters left me (and I can only assume others in the program) jarred and burned out about the language and culture. I took a "break" from the language as soon as I got back and, regrettably, have not picked it back up since, but I blame my lack of motivation more on myself now, rather than the residual bitterness of the latter half of the program.
I met great people and experienced things that would not have been possible if I was not provided this opportunity, the benefits far outweigh the negatives, but talking about negatives is always easier than positives. I believe, in order to get the best out of one's stay on this program, either go for a single semester, or go for a year starting in either A or C class, as the gap only seem to appear between B and C.