PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera

IES Abroad Nagoya Direct Enrollment - Nanzan University

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES and Nanzan

IES gave me a wonderful experience of studying at Nanzan University in Japan. The staff at IES were very helpful during the process of applying and integrating into my life in Japan. While there, they gave us the freedom of college students abroad and we learned on our own at a wonderful and immersive program at Nanzan University. Nanzan itself allowed us many opportunities to immerse in the culture and speak to native speakers. The classroom program was also very intensive! We spent about five hours each day in class. As for IES, they gave us many experiences, such as a group field trip to Kyoto which was one of my best memories. I would definitely recommend the Nanzan direct enrollment program through IES abroad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

My time at Nanzan

I got the opportunity to study overseas in Japan, thanks to IES Abroad and I can say that it was a wonderful experience. The immersion and activities that this program provide were amazing. Everything from spending a weekend in Kyoto, to watching the incredible TAO drums which took my breath away and more. There was the added benefit that I knew that even though I was overseas and away from my friends and family, that I had a group of fellow IES students who were there to help me out and join me on my adventures. The program coordinators were informative and ready to answer questions and were some addition peace of mind while overseas. All in all, I had a great time with this program and would recommend.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Comprehensive and So Much Fun!

When you get over the initial shyness and start using your Japanese skills, the whole community begins to open up to you. One of the most gratifying experiences is seeing a shopkeepers expression light up when you start speaking to them in Japanese. Aichi Prefecture also has some of the kindest people I've ever met in Japan, and has proven itself to be one of the most welcoming environments I've ever experienced. I was enrolled in the 400 and 500 level Japanese courses, and each semester significantly improved every aspect of my language ability by solidifying concepts I'd already learned, and concretely laying out new ones. The courses outside the language department were designed to be manageable and fit within the demands of a language-intensive course while still offering students new insight into more complex aspects of Japan. Masae and Satoshi, our coordinators, were absolutely fantastic. They were always there when we needed help or advice, and they brought a bright and lively dimension to all our travel experiences. Any questions we had, they were ready and willing to answer. I couldn't ask for better administration.

The dormitory offered up a unique blend of college life and closeness with local culture by housing us with Nanzan's Japanese students. We were quick to build a sense of community, and there was an overall atmosphere of openess and friendship. Though at times it was hard not to feel pressure to engage in events that conflicted with our busy schedules, the whole experience was fun and unforgettable.

I don't think I could have picked a better program for my needs. Apart from extensive improvement in my language skills, I gained greater insight into the daily life and culture of Japan. I found it easier to interact with local residents the more my language skills improved, and my confidence improved greatly. I gained many friends from, not just Japan, but around the world, because of this experience, and I will never forget it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A Semester and Summer in Nagoya, Japan

I spent the last 7 months studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan at Nanzan University through IES Abroad.
IES:
I chose to study abroad with IES mostly because my siblings had used IES to study abroad while they were in college. I did not really know that many other options for studying abroad, but after researching a bit more, I stuck with my previous decision. The application process itself was a bit stressful, but I attribute that to Nanzan's strict application, and the whole process of applying for a visa. (Hint: You are probably going to want to budget many occasions of overnight shipping pieces of your application.) Despite the stress before leaving the country, IES does a great job of handling everything for you afterwards! I appreciated not having to plan for travel and trips, but also not having to deal with the academic paperwork (especially when compared to students not in a program). The local (your country of study) IES director and staff were also pretty accessible, and always happy to help you if you had any questions or needed assistance! I recommend IES simply based on the fact that they are a big help in an otherwise highly stressful time. They really work towards simplifying and streamlining your study abroad experience as much as possible, so you can focus on having fun and/or studying. I also really appreciated the trips that IES planned for us. We were able to see some really great places and have really good experiences, while not having to worry about planning it! The quality of hotel and travel was always top notch as well.
Nanzan University's Center for Japanese Studies:
I recommend for anyone studying abroad not just to look at Study abroad programs like IES, but to look carefully at the university they are attached to, as if you were picking out your first university all over again. While I am pleased with the level of education and intensive study I received at Nanzan University (Center for Japanese Studies), but there were a few things I would have liked to know beforehand. First of all, the Center for Japanese Studies runs an intensive Japanese study program and it is just that. If you are not prepared for a heavy workload and speaking only Japanese in the classroom, then I would look elsewhere. If you are interested in developing your Japanese level significantly, then I have two recommendations. 1) Look into Nanzan's teaching style and curriculum (including textbooks) and compare it to your own University or your own study experience. While I believe that my own University's curriculum is quite good, I ended up placing in a lower level than I had anticipated, mostly because there were gaps between what my University views as important and what Nanzan University views as important at a certain level. It really wasn't a big problem and I still learned quite a lot, but you should be aware of it, especially if your home University is picky about what level you place into. 2) Do not do the summer session. If you are trying to make a big difference in your Japanese ability then the Year or Semester option is probably best. The summer session is a great 6 weeks of intensive learning, but it can be a lot for only 6 weeks, and is very fast paced.
Housing:
I had a really wonderful 7 months living in Nagoya! I spent the first five months living with my host family. I chose a homestay rather than the dorms, because I had heard from previous students that due to the Japanese academic schedule, there would be a large period of time where Japanese students would not be on campus. It is already such a short semester, and so I decided that living with a host family would allow me to use my Japanese on a regular basis. I highly recommend it! (Disclaimer: Everyone's experience with host families are different, it simply depends on you and the host family.) I owe a large portion of my Japanese language speaking ability development to my host parents and their willingness to talk with and help me. I spent June and July living in Nanzan University's International student (female) dorm (disclaimer: the male international dorm is set up a bit differently). The rooms are nice and set up in a suite style with a kitchen and common area, shared shower and two bathrooms, everyone has their own bedroom. Usually you will have at least one Japanese roommate. The rooms also come pre-furnished, but you may or may not have to pay for your own internet (this has changed between the spring and summer semester and may undergo more changes).
Nagoya:
I am before choosing a study abroad program or University, choosing the right city in Japan was important to me. I did not want to go to either Tokyo or Kyoto for fear of being stuck with a "tourist" image, rather than the "resident" image that I wanted. In addition, (as I learned from traveling) it is easier to get a lot more Japanese speaking real world application if you are not in a city where everyone will try to use English with you. Nagoya is the perfect halfway point between big city and just outside of the tourist range. There are quite a few foreigners that attend some of the universities here or come to work, but definitely not to the degree of Tokyo or Kyoto. Nagoya is also very residential compared to Tokyo or Kyoto, so while there are bustling areas to have fun, it actually fits a slower pace that I was kind of happy with. Realizing IES had a program in Nagoya is what really drew me in, and I am very happy with the results!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Lots of good memories

I had two programs to choose from for my study abroad semester in Japan: IES Tokyo or IES Nagoya. My Japanese teacher suggested the Nagoya program for a few reasons. First, since with the Nagoya program you are a student of Nanzan University, a Japanese university, you get more immersion and although you are still taking classes with foreigners, you can join university clubs and socialize with Japanese students. Secondly, Nagoya is less tourisity than Tokyo, which means not everyone speaks English and you are forced to use Japanese in your daily life. Thirdly, Nagoya is a major train / bullet train stop, and is situated between Kyoto and Tokyo. I prefer the old capital Kyoto to Tokyo, and so the location is perfect for me as I can visit Kyoto as often as I want, whereas it might take 4 times as long to get to Kyoto from Tokyo.

For my semester in Nanzan University I took Japanese (obviously), Japanese translation, Japanese Society, Tea Ceremony, and Woodblock Printing. All of the classes were extremely interesting, and the workload did not at all hinder my plans to travel every weekend. Japanese translation was fun because we got to work with a variety of materials such as short stories, manga, and song lyrics, while getting extra practice on what we learned in the other Japanese classes. For some classes, such as Tea Ceremony and Woodblock Printing, the teachers could not speak English very well, but they spoke Japanese very clearly and used simple words so that we could understand them. The teachers got us involved in seasonal Japanese events as they happen - we got to do flower arrangement in the Tea Ceremony class on Girls' Day, for example, and got to do a tea ceremony outside during cherry blossom season.

Our accommodation arrangements were made through Nanzan University. I am a vegetarian, and since there are not a lot of vegetarians in Japan I did not expect to get a host family which was my first option. However, Nanzan was able to match me with a host family! The host mother was very attentive to my needs, and asked me upon our first meeting what I could and could not eat in detail. She would always check with me when she was unsure of something, too. During a trip with my host mother to Shirakawa-go, we stayed at a traditional, family-run Japanese inn that my host mother stayed at way back when she was in high school! She taught me about the inn, and pointed me to good spots to visit or to get food that I otherwise would not have known about had I travelled alone. It was a great experience being on a host program, since you get to experience daily life as part of a Japanese family: you don't just read about what the Japanese have for breakfast, or what they do during certain festivals, and so on - living with a host family, these daily activities become a part of who you are.

I was able to explore Nagoya as well as travel outside of it every weekend. Transportation in Japan is very very expensive, but there are things you can do to minimize the costs, such as taking normal trains or buses instead of more the more costly Shinkansen (bullet train). Being on an IES Abroad program as well as a Nanzan University program, you get the best of both worlds: you get to go on on excursions organized by both programs. With IES we have been to Hiroshima, Nara, and Nagahama, and with Nanzan we have been to places inside Nagoya such as Nagoya Castle, or the Toyota Manufacturing Plant. On the IES program trips we were able to stay at traditional Japanese inns and have traditional Japanese set meals (kaiseki) - they are very costly and if I had travelled alone I probably would not be able to experience these things.

One thing that might count as a negative for Spring-semester students: in Japan, the new semester does not start until April, so you will not get to meet the local students for the first 4 months that you are here. However, there are still Japanese students in the dorms, or if you have a host family, you can talk with them! April is when all of the club activities start, too, and you can join them if you want to befriend Japanese students. I was in the Shorinji Kempo club, and even though my Japanese was not fluent the members there were extremely nice.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

An Amazing Japanese Learning Experience

One of my favorite memories from my study abroad experience in Japan was going to the Nagoya Festival! I went with a group of my friends, and we all dressed up in traditional Japanese attire for fun. There were lots of food stalls everywhere that sold all kinds of interesting and delicious foods. They also had a parade and Japanese games/ activities. It was a lot of fun!

I chose this program because I wanted to experience daily life in Japan, and I wanted to improve my Japanese language skills. I also chose this program because of the field trips that were included.

I lived in the Nagoya Koryu Kaikan (NKK), which is the dormitory right across the street from Nanzan University. The rooms are set up in an apartment style, with a kitchen, bathroom, and 4 single bedrooms in each apartment. Both Japanese and international students live here, so it is easy to make friends with both the Japanese students and other international students. However, most students living here tend to speak in English, so it can be challenging to practice using Japanese all the time. I still enjoyed living in this dorm because of all the friends I made here during my time in Japan.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

An Amazing Japanese Learning Experience

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who is interested in studying abroad in Japan! While you do not need to be fluent in Japanese to be in this program, you will definitely get a lot more out of the experience if you have taken a couple years or more of Japanese before starting this program. Since many people in Nagoya do not speak very much English, you will definitely be practicing your conversational Japanese often. This can be challenging at times, but your Japanese will definitely improve! At Nanzan University, you will be required to take Japanese classes, and you can also choose from a number of elective classes. I definitely recommend trying at least one of the arts classes if you can. If you ever need help with anything, the CJS and IES staff members are very friendly and always willing to help! The subway system is pretty good in Nagoya, so it is very easy and safe to get around the city, and you can also visit other nearby cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto. In addition to traveling on your own, IES also offers awesome weekend field trips which are already included in the program fee! On these trips, you will get to eat a lot of great food, stay in nice Japanese inns, and do a lot of exciting activities that you probably wouldn't have the opportunity to do on your own. The field trips were definitely one of the best parts of the experience! You won't be disappointed!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

The Adventure of a Lifetime

Certainly a life altering experience and adventure for me. Living in Japan taught me so much about a culture that was so foreign to me.. Not only did I have fun and meet new friends, but I also was submerged in an amazing culture that allowed me to grow and mature like never before in my life. My mind has been so much more globalized after participating in this trip of a lifetime.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

The IES program Nagoya can be anything you...

The IES program Nagoya can be anything you want it to be. I liked to party, but only on the weekends, and Nagoya was a great place for people like me. I lived in a homestay where no English was spoken, so I definintely improved my casual Japanese. My only "complaint" was that you spend so much time with other IES and CJS (exchange) students, that unless you push the bubble, it will be difficult to meet Japanese students. If I'd been more proactive, there would've been hundreds of students willing to hang out with me; I know this because they were hanging out with a lot of my good friends. IES is by far the best-organized of all the of study abroad programs I looked at, and CJS at Nanzan University was a fantastic complement to American-only IES. A major plus of IES that CJS-only students didn't get was the opportunity to take pre-organized "field trips" around the region. Not having to worry about my travel budget for these trips was a huge plus (they'd been paid in advance). Totally worth the extra fees.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Why did it have to end?

Hands down, one of the most eye-opening semesters in my life. IES Abroad Nagoya set all of the craziest and most honest expectations about Japan that I didn't even have much culture shock when I got there. I just remember the time as super crazy fun and the feeling of excitement of getting to go to Japanese classes and speak lots of Japanese with newly found friends. At first, I wasn't really sure whether Nagoya as a city would be able to offer what Tokyo does but I couldn't have made a better choice of studying in Nagoya. It's a wonderful city to deeply learn about Japanese culture as it resembles a big city with a small town feel. Nanzan University was also one of the only universities that offer classes in traditional arts, such as calligraphy, tea ceremony and flower arranging. These art forms are essential elements to Japan's rich culture that one wouldn't want to miss trying out. The on-site coordinators (shout out to Masae-san and Satoshi-sensei!) were always there for us and sent us lots of updates, but definitely were not babysitting us. Thanks to the program and my awesome coordinators, me and my study abroad pals were able to balance our classroom life with diverse weekend field trips to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Nara and so many more historically enriching and fascinating places. Besides from just traveling, the program and Nanzan University, its direct partner, provided us with tons of cultural events that we can attend. It ranged from soba-making in Magome town to an afternoon spent in Japan Plaza speaking only in Japanese to local students, to visiting Toyota factory and learning about its "just-in-time" car-making process. I went in with an empty mindset so that I could absorb everything and anything I could have encountered, and it was all worth it! Although my program ended a few months ago, the experience is still freshly painted my mind and the feeling of nostalgia still lingers. It would be a dream come true if I can return and maybe live there someday.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Worth it

My choice to study abroad in Japan, with IES Abroad Nanzan in particular, was probably the best decision I've made to date. The administrators of the program are very helpful, those who help you with the application process and those on site in Japan. This program offers spectacular trips around Japan that other abroad programs don't necessarily offer. I was amazing to be able to see all of these great cultural cities that, if i had had to plan myself, I probably would not have been able to see. My home stay was a very authentic view of Japanese culture. Admittedly, it was hard to get used to at first, but my family was very nice and went the extra mile to make my stay comfortable. Nanzan University offers a large variety of clubs to join and it has a center called The Japan Plaza where students can go to speak only Japanese and get help from other international students as well as native Japanese students. The university itself also offers trips that you can go on in addition to the ones held by IES. The Japanese education system is different from the American one, so it can be frustrating at times, but the teachers at Nanzan are very approachable and willing to help. Studying in Japan really made me comfortable speaking Japanese on a daily basis, to the point where upon my return it occasionally felt strange to speak in English. IF you have the chance to study abroad with IES, it would be a mistake not to take it.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    6

The true face of Japan

I can easily say that the 5 months I spent in Nagoya were the best of my life. I wish I could have stayed for the full 10 months, and I was incredibly sad to return to the states. The intensive courses were challenging but very rewarding; by the end of the program I had made noticeable leaps in my language abilities. While I enjoyed going out on my own cultural excursions, the trips arranged by IES were incredibly enjoyable. I was able to visit places that I never would have on my own, and got to interact with locals during origami and pottery workshops.

However, I would not recommend this program for those without any prior Japanese experience. The classes are very difficult and require a high level of work ethic and skill.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

A growing experience

I studied abroad in Nagoya for a spring semester through IES Abroad. In short, I would definitely recommend the program to anyone considering study abroad in Japan. For a longer explanation:

1.) The IES Program
The IES orientation in Inuyama was a great way to brush up on the language and be eased into the different culture in an informative and supportive environment that also allowed me to meet people and make friends before being sent off to Nanzan proper. The two IES representatives were incredibly helpful and genuinely seemed to care about the well-being of each individual in the program. The field trips (Hiroshima, Iga, etc.) and cultural activities (arts and cuisine workshops, etc.) set up by IES were also incredibly fun. I wouldn't have experienced half the cultural things I did without the help of IES, and I definitely appreciated the trips to other cities that I wouldn't have been able to finance on my own. Even if you don't go to Japan, I would recommend working with IES since they provide so much support.

2.) Nanzan Academics

The Center for Japanese Studies at Nanzan was staffed by universally nice and helpful people. The entrance process to determine what level of Japanese class you should be in is very extensive, so you'll most likely be placed in the best level for you. The language instructors were also very nice and supportive, and I thought the packets made for the classes were very helpful (oftentimes better than the textbook). I wish that the other academic courses would be given the same level of consideration as the language classes (the other ones are hit-and-miss as far as quality), but this ultimately is a language-learning program. The Japanese methods of teaching are something to get used to if you come from a Western country, and it can sometimes be frustrating. I have my complaints about it, but they're very subjective complaints, and it's more of a cultural difference than something being overtly negative. For those of you looking for a low-stress school year, though, Japanese universities are famously laid back, and the CJS program is no exception. Around mid-terms or finals you may scramble around to remember your kanji, but, for the most part, you have the leeway to put classes on the back-burner and just enjoy being in the country.

3.) The City

I really love the city of Nagoya. I'm not a city-kid. I would not have survived in Tokyo (good place to visit once, though). If you're someone looking for a huge, bustling city, Nagoya may be a bit too quiet for you. For me, though, it was the perfect size. Sakae and Kanayama have the night life you want. Fushimi has a very interesting science museum even if you can't read the signs. There's a zoo; there's the Boston Museum of Art (free for students, by the way); there's an aquarium; there's a huge park with My Neighbor Totoro references that is constantly holding festivals; there are shopping centers everywhere for any need you could possibly have. You can get manga extremely cheap. There are nooks and crannies with very interesting bars and restaurants and shops. And you still have to take the subway everywhere, so you still feel like you're in a city. I had about a 40 minute commute by subway from my homestay to Nanzan, which was typical from what I saw. You get used to it, though. It's also extremely safe, or I at least felt extremely safe. Walking home late at night from the subway station wasn't in any way unpleasant. I had to go to a clinic twice while abroad -- once for getting sick and the second time after twisting my ankle -- and, even if they don't speak English and you haven't memorized your "trip to the hospital" Japanese vocabulary, I found that the doctors really try their best to help you to the best of their capacity, so don't be afraid of getting medical help if you think you need it either.

4.) Social Life

I am an introvert, so making friends or having a vibrant nightlife were not things that I've found easy doing in the past. But it was surprisingly easy to build a social circle and have things to do on Friday and Saturday nights while I was in Nagoya. My host family was wonderful -- home cooked family dinner every night, trips to museums and zoos, going to Sushi Roll to make the kids happy, etc. As I said above, the IES orientation was a great way to establish a friend group in a foreign country full of people you've never met. If I didn't have something to do with my native or other ex-pat friends -- who I met through international parties, mostly -- I could also hang out with my IES friends on Fridays. As a note, Japanese social lives tend to involve bars, alcohol, and lots of karaoke. You will go out for karaoke more in one month in Japan than you've ever thought possible. Drinking isn't a necessary thing, but be warned that it's going to happen around you if you're out late enough. You'll also find yourself going to a lot of cafes if you meet with anyone during the day. I also taught English (it's incredibly easy to become a tutor if you want to) in my free time, which was a wonderfully rewarding experience. My going away party with my students was one of the happiest moments that I had abroad.

Overall, though there were negative points, as there are with anything, I still love the city and I love the friends I made there. If you have reservations about being a gaijin in such an ethnically homogeneous country: Yes, you do tend to stick out like a sore thumb if you're not on campus with the other study abroad students, sometimes people stare, but I didn't experience anything hostile or mean-spirited for the entire time I was there, and I'm a black woman. So no worries. I definitely want to return to Japan soon.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

Things to keep in mind & check

Nanzan University Program

Before you think about seriously applying to IES Abroad for Nanzan University, you should check if their Japanese courses are align with yours. From my experience, I was not planning to be in the upper Japanese courses, because I have only gone over GENKI 1. But Nanzan University of second year Japanese does not start off with GENKI 2, it starts off with GENKI 2 chapter 15. That’s about 2 or 3 chapters behind if you think about how fast they will be going. I highly advise you to go over your materials if you want to get into the right level, especially since Nanzan University makes you take two placement test upon arrival. If you get placed in the level that you did not want, there is almost no way you can change that. A friend of mine got placed into a lower level and had to repeat a Japanese class she already knew. She tried talking to the professors, but they said they wanted her to stay in the current level she was put in. The good news is that, you can take the test again after a week if you truly feel that you are in the wrong level.

Host family

All host families are different and all my friends had different experiences with their host family. My experience however was not as satisfying. I originally thought I would be spending a lot of time with my host family, such as going out with them on their daily errands or learning Japanese culture from them. Instead, my experience was very mundane. They spent the majority of their time watching television, going over assignments with their children and preparing for dinner. My host parents seemed to like routines, and were independent. I tried asking them about their life in Japan several times and what they would advise to do in Japan. It was a bit difficult to communicate with them because my Japanese level was not as high and elaborating on topics was very difficult on both ends. I do not advise living with a host family if you have not studied Japanese for at least 3 years. My host family was also fairly new and had only hosted one student before me. With that being said, I often had to solve my problems on my own. Other than that, I was really happy that my host family had two children. It was fun playing with them, introducing them to American games and also learning from them as to what’s popular in Japan. Everyday was definitely rowdy, but very warm and engaging. I was one of the few who were lucky enough to have host children and those who did have host children said they enjoyed their stay more versus having a parent/parents as their host.

IES Program

This was the best decision I made on deciding which program to go on. IES took us to various locations that were popular in Japan. Basically, they took us to must-see sites and it definitely was a must see! Fushimi Inari, which is a shrine in Kyoto, was probably one of the best ones in my opinion. The only downside was that it rained that day, and just on a side note, it rains a lot in Japan, so be prepare to bring an umbrella wherever you go. The hotels we stayed in were amazing and I love all the onsen we went to. The food was also excellent. Be sure to at least try everything on your plate before deciding you don’t like it, even if your food has eyeballs. The coordinators were very nice and helpful as well and were able to share many cultural aspects to us, especially when we first dined and had no idea how to eat certain Japanese food. Also, just be prepared to have a jam-packed schedule whenever you go on your trips. You do have a short breaks in between activities to rest, but at most we got around 2 hours to rest, which is not a lot when you are always on the go.

Tips
1) Bring good and comfy shoes to Japan. You’ll be doing a lot of walking or even running if you’re trying to catch a train.
2) If you’re planning to go during the fall, bring more summer clothes versus winter because in Japan it’s a lot warmer. DO NOT bring your boots or coats because Japan most likely will not snow at all until February.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Year In Nagoya

I participated in the IES Nagoya program for the 2014-2015 academic year. The program itself was wonderful. I was directly enrolled into the Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) program at Nanzan University. I met people from all over the world that shared a common interest in Japanese culture and language. I joined a dance circle and performed with other Japanese students at the Nanzan Festival. I was taught Japanese in Japanese and really got to see myself improve on a daily basis. The CJS staff were very helpful in aiding foreign students in anything academic and with housing concerns. During school hours, they were my go to for any problems and questions I had about anything. My professors were also really supportive and were always concerned about my well-being and how I was handling the workload. For academic support, I felt that I could rely on the CJS staff to help me when I needed it.

Instead of living in the Nanzan dorm, I chose to live with a host family. I lived in a small apartment outside of Nagoya with a host mom, dad and 2 year old sister. Living with a host family was one of the best decisions I made when I decided to study abroad with IES. Through my host family, I was able to gain a third support system. My host family helped me with learning Japanese, took care of me when I was sick, took me to places within and around Nagoya and made me the most delicious meals. Without my host family, I feel as if my first few months in Japan would have been more stressful than fun in regards to adjustment. I also had to commute 40 minutes to get to school every day, and although that may seem like a chore, the commute helped me gain confidence and comfort in using navigating around Nagoya.

Since Nagoya is situated right in the middle of Japan, it was the ideal place for traveling to other places to experience different aspects of Japanese culture. IES planned monthly trips, concerts and other culture related activities for me to participate in for cultural immersion and adjustment. The IES Nagoya staff did an amazing job at planning the trips/events. I got to learn about different topics and go to places that I probably would not have been able to go to by myself. I felt the IES Nagoya staff became more than just staff; they became friends. They really took care of me while I was in Nagoya and did everything that they could to have us enjoy living and studying in Japan. My host mom would always look at my travel itineraries and say that I was lucky to be a part of IES and other CJS students would be envious of everything IES provided for its students (commuting subsidies, lunches at delicious local restaurants, exclusive experiences such as meeting geisha and maiko in Kyoto). I am definitely grateful to IES for helping to make my study abroad experience so memorable.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Great Learning Experience

I would suggest this program for anyone who has already taken Japanese classes and wants to go to Japan in order to improve their Japanese. Nagoya is the third largest city in Japan, but less international than Tokyo, and so there are fewer people who will try to speak English to you. The Japanese classes at Nanzan are also manageable, but intensive, and there’s a decent amount of homework. You’re more or less forced to use Japanese and to improve in Japanese. If you don’t speak a lot of Japanese and want to go to Japan because you like anime… this program probably isn’t for you.

Other than Japanese, I took Japanese Society, Traditional Japanese Literature, and Woodblock Printing. Japanese Society and Woodblock Printing were both fantastic (although not as intense as the Japanese classes). Both were done in a style that let you personalize your learning experience and read/make what you wanted to. Traditional Japanese Literature was pretty disappointing – the professor rambled a lot, and we didn’t get to discuss literature very much. I heard other students complaining that non-Japanese classes at Nanzan can be very hit or miss.

I stayed with a host family, which ended up being a pretty negative experience. The members of my host family fought constantly and didn’t seem to want to spend a lot of time with me. I’m not really sure why they decided to host an international student. A lot of other people had more positive experiences with host families, but signing up for a host family means taking a chance that you could have an experience more like mine. If you’re worried about that, I’d suggest living in the dorm. Everyone I knew who lived in the dorm had a great time, and it’s in a really convenient location right across the street from Nanzan.

I loved the friends I made in at Nanzan, and I got a lot of chances to explore Japan with them. On top of traveling with friends, the IES field trips were really fun (and a part of the reason I chose this program). You get the opportunity to stay in traditional Japanese inns and eat traditional meals. Definitely a highlight of the program.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    5

Great Growth Experience

I participated in IES Nagoya during the Fall 2014 semester. I recommend this program for anyone who is serious about learning the Japanese language and is adventurous and enthusiastic about exploring Japan and its culture. Compared to Tokyo, Nagoya has few tourists, so it is a great place if you want to meet locals and speak primarily in Japanese, as I did. For that reason, I was hoping to live in a homestay, but was instead placed in an international dormitory where was the primary language spoken was English. Because I did not want to spend most of my day speaking English and playing video games, I felt isolated at times. However, there were a few local students living there, and I became good friends with one of them. Also, a major advantage of living in the dorm is that it’s only a five-minute walk from the Nanzan campus. If you live in the dorm, I would suggest branching out and meeting as many local students as possible.

Nanzan is a great place to study Japanese intensively. The professors are friendly and supportive, and encourage active participation. The workload was sometimes challenging, but never overwhelming, leaving plenty of time for you to pursue other interests. The Japan Plaza is a comfortable environment to practice speaking in only Japanese, hang out, and seek help with homework. Nanzan is also a great place to meet local students, especially during the fall semester when they are on campus. I joined a group called International Friendship Circle, where twice a week I ate lunch and chatted with Japanese students. I also joined a basketball circle. These were great opportunities to make friends and feel more connected to the school, and so I would encourage everyone to participate in activities outside of class at Nanzan.

A major benefit of IES is the inclusion of pre-paid field trips to places like Kyoto and Kanazawa. We stayed at very nice traditional Japanese inns with hot springs (onsen) and multi-course dinners. IES also provided tickets to arts performances, including a taiko drumming concert, which I especially enjoyed. The IES staff were also friendly and supportive, and events were well-organized. Especially useful was a three-orientation immediately upon arrival that helped me adjust to Japanese life.

Although I enjoyed several fun moments in Japan, the best thing about going abroad was the self-confidence I gained from adapting to and succeeding in a foreign environment. It wasn’t always easy or fun, but it was a tremendous growth experience, and I’m glad I made the decision to go.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    6

Great Growth Experience

I participated in IES Nagoya during the Fall 2014 semester. I recommend this program for anyone who is serious about learning the Japanese language and is adventurous and enthusiastic about exploring Japan and its culture. Compared to Tokyo, Nagoya has few tourists, so it is a great place if you want to meet locals and speak primarily in Japanese, as I did. For that reason, I was hoping to live in a homestay, but was instead placed in an international dormitory where was the primary language spoken was English. However, there were a few local students living there, and I became good friends with one of them. Also, a major advantage of living in the dorm is that it’s only a five-minute walk from the Nanzan campus. If you live in the dorm, I would suggest branching out and meeting as many local students as possible.

Nanzan is a great place to study Japanese intensively. The professors are friendly and supportive, and encourage active participation. The workload was sometimes challenging, but never overwhelming, leaving plenty of time for you to pursue other interests. The Japan Plaza is a comfortable environment to practice speaking in only Japanese, hang out, and seek help with homework. Nanzan is also a great place to meet local students, especially during the fall semester when they are on campus. I joined a group called International Friendship Circle, where twice a week I ate lunch and chatted with Japanese students. I also joined a basketball circle. These were great opportunities to make friends and feel more connected to the school, and so I would encourage everyone to participate in activities outside of class at Nanzan.

A major benefit of IES is the inclusion of pre-paid field trips to places like Kyoto and Kanazawa. We stayed at very nice traditional Japanese inns with hot springs (onsen) and multi-course dinners. IES also provided tickets to arts performances, including a taiko drumming concert, which I especially enjoyed. The IES staff were also friendly and supportive, and events were well-organized. Especially useful was a three-orientation immediately upon arrival that helped me adjust to Japanese life.

Although I enjoyed several fun moments in Japan, the best thing about going abroad was the self-confidence I gained from adapting to and succeeding in a foreign environment. It was a tremendous growth experience, and I’m glad I made the decision to go.