IES Abroad Programs
The IES Abroad Madrid Program is designed for those who want to experience the vitality of Spain! Live in its capital city and through course enrollment at the Universidad...
Our French Language Immersion & Area Studies Program has two important goals: to improve your written and verbal proficiency in French through language and area studies courses...
Come supplement the value an undergraduate degree with a study abroad or international internship experience in London! Programs include: Economics, Health Practice, International...
Take advantage of the chance to live and learn in Sydney, one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world! Students can immerse themselves in the academic and student...
The IES Abroad Paris Business & International Affairs Program offers students the option to take English-taught courses with French and international students at Novancia,...
Come study abroad in one of the most beautiful and famous cities in the world! Spend one semester or an entire year living, studying, and traveling through Paris, France....
Study abroad in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, Netherlands with IES, one of the oldest and most trusted programs in the business. With IES Abroad Amsterdam Semester and...
IES Abroad Reviews
So grateful for the new experience!
Submitted by Daniel De Boulay - The New School | July 06, 2017
I recently finished this program and would highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to be in a great location in Tokyo (right next to Yoyogi Koen) and experience a lot of cultural immersion. The program follows the Genki i and Genki ii books for the beginner and intermediate speakers and more specialized books for the upper levels. Classes are a little over 3 hours a day from 8:45 to 12 noon which allows you to have the rest of the day free.
The program schedules various outings and activities that have you get to know Japan outside of just the bustling city life of Tokyo. I believe the activities change a bit every year, but one of the continuing options is the weekend homestay in Mobara, Chiba. It's a more rural area, especially compared to Tokyo, however, the Homestay is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of the trip. The other trips include visits to various sites and stays like onsens and traditional Japanese inns.
The location in Yoyogi is great because it's quiet, but it's only a few minutes walk from the nearest station and only a 20-30 minute walk through the park to Harajuku. It's prime location.
Tokyo (compared to most cities) is expensive. I'd budget about $150 a week for necessities (food ect) and then another 150 for buying things/experiences. You don't need that extra 150, but since going to Tokyo isn't exactly a common opportunity, I'd say it's well worth the savings to do so.
Also you need much less clothes then you think. I'd pack for about a week and half worth of clothing, you don't need fancy dress shirts or many long pants. Tokyo is quite warm in the summer. I'd pack a swim trunk (unless you want to buy one in Tokyo) because the homestay is right near the ocean and it's absolutely marvelous.
I'd also go and check out the museums and galleries around Tokyo. I regret only being able to see a few but they're well worth it. Also for those interested in the Ghibli Museum, you have to buy a 10 ticket from a Lawson conbini (convenience store) machine. I'd either bring someone who can read a bit of Japanese, look it up online or look for ジブリ in the machine prompts. You have to get them pretty far ahead of time, but it's well worth it. The Ghibli museum is a ton of fun and has great souvenirs (but a lot of it is WAAAAY overpriced so be careful of that. The main gift shop is super expensive, but there's a bookshop a little bit hidden that is much more reasonable and has great books available. I'd recommend picking up one of the "movie novels" where they turn a Ghibli film into a manga as since you know the story it'll work as great practice to help your Japanese reading skills (plus it comes in Furigana))
The only thing I could ask from the program was to be a bit longer, 6 weeks goes by so fast!
One thing that I was worried about before attending is that the website lists a "curfew", however the curfew is a curfew in name only. It doesn't prohibit you from leaving/returning to the campus after hours, it just means after a certain time instead of freely going and coming you have to just sign in before coming back. We've had many nights out till dawn and had absolutely no issue coming back.
Program: IES Abroad Tokyo - Tokyo Summer
Submitted by William Lamb - Pomona College | June 14, 2017
I had a wonderful time in Salamanca-the sights, the culture, and the people were all fantastic. From being able to travel all over Spain with the program to being able to take classes in the local (and very prestigious) universities with local students, I enjoyed my time and would love to return to Spain.
Our program almost all of us staying in homestays with local families around the city. This arrangement was probably one of the best aspects of the program, because we were able to adapt much more quickly to Spanish culture, food, and times with a supportive family that provided excellent meals for us, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Okay, so Spanish breakfast is basically just a piece of toast and some juice, but lunch and dinner are fantastic)
Classes were a major part of our life in Spain, and it was exciting taking classes at La Universidad de Salamanca, the third oldest university in Europe. My classmates were definitely interested in getting to know me and the other foreign students better, but I didn't realize just how many students from other countries in Europe also came to study here-the Erasmus program is very developed.
Of course, there were some difficulties that I had to adjust to-Spanish meals generally consist of a very small breakfast (definitely not what I'm used to), and then a huge lunch and dinner. Also, meals are exceedingly meat-heavy, so vegetarians beware. ^_^ I had a little trouble adapting because I generally don't eat much meat, but I grew to really enjoy it. However, it is good to supplement your diet with some fruits and vegetables on the side-there are numerous shops scattered around the city that are both excellent and cheap.
The program academics were honestly a little lacking compared to my experiences in the US, but it gave us more time to explore the city and acclimate ourselves to the new culture. Overall, I had an excellent experience, and would definitely suggest this program to others.
Great for language immersion
Submitted by Elizabeth Charles - Ithaca College | May 30, 2017
When deciding where to study abroad, I intentionally chose a non English speaking country and a program that very few people from my home school attended. At IES Abroad, my classrooms were museums and theaters (and small baroque palaces), my peers were people I had never met before, and my German lessons were always put to immediate use. This program would be perfect for anyone who wants to learn a new language and step out of her comfort zone.
Phenomenal location & program provider
Submitted by Pikes - Lawrence University | May 30, 2017
The IES Abroad staff was always ready and willing to help, or chat, or just grab a cup of tea. The program itself was life changing - there was quite a lot of opportunity to get out in the community (and outside of the community) in a group, as well as a lot of encouragement to travel on your own. I would recommend the program and provider to anyone!
Submitted by Tiffany Sun - Williams College | May 21, 2017
IES Tokyo has one of the most dedicated study abroad teams in that you'll ever see in any program. They're a good size for how many students attend each term, and are thoughtful and dedicated to your experience in abroad in terms of academics, cultural immersion, and safety.
Some of my favorite highlights that I felt stood out from other programs:
- The availability of a student council that is elected each term that gets to plan group trips according to interest (anything from hiking Mt. Takao, to going to the Ghibli Museum) that really brings the study abroad students and e-Pals together and also allows students to explore places that they may not otherwise have gone to
- Thoughtfully created field trips with cultural immersion and learning in mind, but also fun (we did a trip to Hiroshima where we visited and learned about the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, but also were given time to explore the city, and we also did a trip to Nikko where we got to experience Japanese onsen)
- E-Pal program, where you are paired with a Japanese student at KUIS, the local university. They serve as your friend, first and foremost, but they are also great resources for questions about Japan and it also serves as a good language exchange. This is probably one of the best ways to immerse yourself into the community.
- Social Organization Class that allows you to intern once a week at a company/organization/non-profit and gain experience in a Japanese work environment. It is definitely good for your resume, and is a great learning and community experience.
- Academic classes offered are fairly diverse, though it depends if they reach enough students to hold the class. The classes the IES center offers are fairly eye opening classes and often to field trips to different places in Tokyo or the area around it. The outcome and overall learning from these classes tend to vary but you really get back the amount of effort or interest you put into the class. They are not particularly difficult either, which is good as it gives you time to explore Tokyo and the rest of Japan while also allowing yourself to be exercised academically.
- Host families are very thoroughly screened and selected by the IES Tokyo team, so your host family will likely be very safe and understanding. I personally had one of the best experiences of my life with my host family, but every experience is different, though most of my classmates had very positive things to say about their host families as well.