CET Academic Programs

Program Reviews

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Nisreen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you want to learn Arabic, this is the place to be! Despite having studied four years of university-level Arabic prior to the program, the biggest improvement in my language skills was definitely during my two months in Jordan. Not only are the teachers and staff are absolutely phenomenal (incredibly sweet, supportive, and understanding) but the curriculum is incredibly challenging and engaging.

The setting is also perfect. Not only are you set in Amman, but the program is also held within the Univerist of Jordan campus, meaning you have a wonderful opportunity to get to know other Jordanian students your age. One of the students even offered to arrange for me to become a regular at a lecture/class while I was there! Being at the University of Jordan also means that you have the wonderful opportunity of participating in campus extracurriculars and events, an opportunity that you should definitely not pass up! Being assigned a language partner from the university (still a close friend of mine!) means that your skills just keep improving.

The program also actively tries to include you into Amman's social scene. Your language partner will take you out to different locations (often to visit their families as well) and your Jordanian roommate will work hard to introduce you to his/her friends. As long as you stay open to new experiences and actively try to explore, you will make lifelong memories and friends.

The housing situation is also incredibly safe and comfortable. That being said, it is definitely different from the type of comfort you might find at a European or American study abroad program but despite some minor hiccups, we were very happy with the situation. Being assigned a local roommate only makes it that much friendlier.

That being said, there are some tips to share:
- Do your own studying and research about Jordan and the Middle East before arriving. You will learn a LOT about Jordan and Arab culture while in Amman but, as most of the teachers have grown up in Jordan and never lived in the West, they will be teaching you curriculum based on their perceptions of how the West looks at the Middle East. Sometimes these (though completely well-meaning) intentions end up re-inforcing stereotypes that are untrue.
- Although the housing situation is wonderful, make sure to BRING WARM CLOTHES! Water shortages in Amman means that central heating is not a common amenity and it gets incredibly cold in the winter!
- Evaluate what you want to get out of your study abroad experience. If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and excited at the idea of adventure, this is the program for you! This will not be like a program in Europe - to meet people and have exciting experience, you have to be actively trying to take risks and meet new people! Once you do that though, you're gold.

All in all, this was an absolutely heartwarming experience and, hands down, I would definitely do it again. I met some incredibly wonderful people and people who I will be friends with for a long time (both American and Jordanian). If you have the opportunity to go to this program, don't pass it up.

What was your funniest moment?
There was a stray cat that somehow made it into our apartment building while my roommates and I were hanging out at another classmate's apartment! For some reason, the cat wouldn't leave the hall and was right outside the door of the appartment - when it came time to leave, we couldn't get out. It was especially hilarious because 3/4 of the girls with me were terrified of cats and the cat kept trying to get into the appartment (it almost did once!). Making it back home was definitely a (hilarious) struggle. For the next four nights, we'd hear the cat meowing at our door until we finally fed it some chicken.
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Zayna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

After completing all levels of Arabic at my university, I participated in the CET Virtual Summer program for the intensive study of Arabic to sharpen my skills in hopes of developing a more advanced understanding of the language. This program was much more challenging than any Arabic class I took prior. One of the key assignments that we worked on throughout the entire program was a research paper on a topic of our choice. Although it seemed a difficult task in the beginning, with the very fast-paced nature of the classes and the big focus on learning new and more advanced vocabulary, writing the research paper became quite simple and even enjoyable.

Apart from that, the entire staff was very eager to help, whether it was to answer questions or do some oral language practice. Although the program was virtual, the staff and teachers succeeded in creating a very welcoming, authentically Jordanian environment (in terms of culture).

Although the academic aspect was very fast-paced, it was also very well-designed and I felt as if I really understood everything we were taught and that I was learning at a comfortable pace. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to advance their Arabic language skills, whether it's modern standard Arabic or colloquial.

What would you improve about this program?
I would advise them not to rush through the curriculum so fast, maybe by covering fewer topics.
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Ava
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Japan

This is a great program for those who want to acquire Japanese language, as well as experience Japanese culture while also getting to learn about it in a class setting. Due to the language pledge that all CET students take at the beginning of the program, students are more likely to acquire the Japanese language. And I loved living with Japanese roommates. It was a great way to practice the language and learn the customs. And they really help you feel at home in Osaka. I had to leave early due to the COVID-19 situation, but I can't wait to go back!

What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment was hanging out with my housemates in our kitchen. We colored my hair and just joked around and laughed ourselves silly.
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Camille
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Japan

Going to Japan really helped me learn more about what kind of person I am and how countries are fascinatingly similar despite outwardly completely different.There are parts of it that I love that I can only find here. I loved the sleepy Hayao Miyazaki-esque neighborhoods with their winding roads that could lead to unexpected sights, like an unexpected cafe or a small park.
Seeing all these different places helped me feel less conscientious. At times it felt very lonely being one of a few Americans and when I first came here, I felt helpless and nothing really made sense to me. Now that I have left Japan, nothing is quite the same. I’ve learned from embarrassing and difficult times and become a more confident person. The world has become a much wider and more vibrant place, and I find myself eager to explore it.

Academics: There is no doubt you will improve your Japanese. They take their academics very seriously in this program. In addition to the immersion, there is a language pledge to discourage English speaking, and they also require one-on-one teaching in addition to the regular curriculum and excursions, but a schedule is given every week so it is not hard to know what to prepare for.

Support: The staff and roommates were always very kind and happy to help. If you had a problem or concern, they were happy to set aside some time to talk it over and offer advice if you wanted it.

Fun: Karaoke nights, eating out, and excursions were really fun times for me! Even if you cannot speak that much Japanese, it's not hard to participate and get swept up into the fun. It was a good time to relax from studying, try new food and bond with others.

Housing: As long as you keep it clean, the room I had at Lavianne was pleasant to stay in, though the bathroom leaked a bit. You cannot open the screens of the windows but the room had a functional kitchen and refrigerator. The sister apartment, Arabesque, was not the same quality, I heard. One of the students living there had to clean up after a previous messy tenant and had gotten ill from a filthy AC unit, and the units are much smaller in comparison to Lavianne.

Safety: I felt it was much safer to wander in Japan than it is here in the US, particularly after dark. I often saw children unaccompanied by adults playing by themselves in parks as the sun sets and it was not unusual for my roommates to be out very late. In addition, CET takes their safety very seriously and reports via LINE chat if something changes or is amiss, and are available if you are in serious trouble.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Anglerfish liver sushi. I wanted to try everything unusual, and this certainly served, unexpectedly found in a kaitenzushi restaurant. It's a little hard to describe, except a little strange, like ricotta cheese with an oceanic flavor topping sushi rice, but the flavor was rich if you want something much heavier than otoro sushi.
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Jared
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Japan

CET Japan: Spring 2020 is a time I will never forget. The friendships that were created, the experiences I had, and the academic breakthroughs I grew from makes me want to return to Japan every day. I will elaborate on each area below, but I wanted to provide a summary of my experience in Japan.
I would like to start off by saying that my study abroad program in Osaka was unfortunately cut short due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. While unfortunate that I had to return to America only after two and a half months in Osaka, the CET Administration handled the situation professionally and did what was right for the safety of its students.
While the course load for the CET Language Classes were intense, the growth in my proficiency was far beyond what I was hoping for. Due to the support I had from my professors and newly made Japanese friends, I felt that I was having a great time conversing in Japanese rather than studying all day for lackluster results. Luckily, my housing situation provided a large dining space where many family-style dinners and nights I will never forget took place. The amount of fun and great experiences I had with my loving roommates struggles to fit in this review section. By saying the housing, transportation (especially to sightseeing locations), and safety were amazing, I am doing this program a disservice. Do yourself a favor and apply for CET Japan.
Academics: I studied third year Japanese during my time in Osaka. CET Japan is famous for its rigorous and fulfilling language courses. All I can say is wow. I have never learned so much in such a short period of time. The elements of immersion and the language pledge brought my language proficiency to a level I had only hoped to achieve (keep in mind, the immersion only lasted 2.5 months). While the remainder of the course was moved online, while in Japan I absorbed so much material not only from the great professors but being able to speak Japanese with my enthusiatic-to-help roommates.
Support: While time in a foreign country can be quite difficult, CET faculty and roommates were very understanding and happy to help. Whether it was a mental health issue or having a cold, everyone was ready to lend a hand.
Fun: There were countless nights of exploring new parts of town, singing karaoke till our voices were gone, and gaming sessions in our sharehouse. While I cannot tell every story here, I say one has to experience it for themselves. This was arguably the best time I had during college, if not my life.
Housing: I was fortunate to have my own room with seven other men in a sharehouse. It was located in a nice neighborhood with two fully functioning kitchens, two full bathrooms, and a nice porch in the backyard. Each room had its own heating and cooling, so it could be set to your individual preference. The dining room was the best feature for me. It was great for having gatherings and meals with all my new friends.
Safety: Japan as a whole is famous for its safety. CET Osaka Japan's location was no exception. I cannot recall a single time (even while travelling the whole country) that I felt unsafe.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not be afraid of new experiences. Be open to everything; whether it be food, travels, or meeting new people. Everyone in this program is caring and wants to have a great time with you. Do not be shy and let the fun take over.
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Alex
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Japan

I'll be co-opting the format used by Oliver for my review, because his seems quite well organized, and because he and I spent about 85% of our time in Osaka together, so our reviews will probably be rather similar.

Academics: 9/10
It's fairly obvious from the get-go that CET is a very academic-oriented program, which takes itself very seriously. About 3 hours of class per day, with 1 one-on-one class per week, and the option to take elective courses with the rest of the international program at the school provides a really great environment for academic growth. I came into the program with a pretty solid foundation in Japanese, and was placed into the level 3 class with two others, making us the largest class in the program, with the level 1 class having a single person, the level 2 class having 2, and the level 4 class having 2 people. This is actually where I found my only issue with the academic portion of the program: level 3 seemed to be a catch-all for people that weren't novices, but also weren't nearly fluent. I was the top of my class by a good margin, while there was one person in my class that probably shouldn't have been, and noticeably slowed us down. However, I was clearly not good enough for the level 4 class, while this other person was clearly above the level of the level 2 class, which made for a rather awkward class environment for us in level 3, because we were all at pretty distinct levels. That aside, the academics were very good. The academic director of the program even offered us a kanji workshop twice a week for those of us who wanted to get ahead in our writing, though I was the only person that took her up on the offer. Still, it was one more great academic resource that I was very happy to make use of. And the electives we were able to take, while outside of CET jurisdiction and thus not really a reflection on them rather on the school, were also outstanding. My religion elective class went on a number of trips to important religious historical sites in and around the region, allowing for even more growth.

Language Pledge: 7/10
You'll find that I have a similar opinion to other reviewers in this regard. CET is very strict about the language pledge, which while good academically, is not so good for the people in the lower levels in about every other situation. The level 4s could basically only hold real, in-depth conversations with eachother, the program workers, actual Japanese people, and sometimes me or one other lower-level student, if the topic was something relatively common. The level 1 student could express themself only through one or two-word sentences. Essentially, while I like the pledge for what it is and for the growth I was able to obtain through it, I think it could maybe have been a little more lenient on the lower-level people, who often felt very isolated when we went out as groups, because they couldn't really participate in the dialogue.
Housing: 4/10
The housing wasn't great. I lived in Lavianne, an apartment complex in Ibaraki, which is two stops away from Kishibe where the school is. That's actually not a detriment, I thought the location of my housing was really good. Sure, sometimes it got annoying that half the program could literally walk to the college, while we had to make a 30-40 minute commute by train, but we lucked out in having a great mall nearby, and a great running path. The real issue I had with the housing was that it was a tiny old apartment being shared by two people. When we arrived, my roommate and I found both of our chairs broken and had to wait for them to be repaired. We slept on futons 3 inches away from one another. The bathroom was a plastic room in the corner with no ventilation, and the shower leaked for the first 3 months. All in all, it was a generally uncomfortable living situation, though luckily the program keeps us so occupied, and there's so much to do in Osaka, that we never had to spend overmuch time in the rooms.
Roommate: 9/10
I was very lucky in that my roommate and I got on like brothers from the get-go. We didn't argue a single time, we had set times when we both had to be in the room no matter what, to go over schoolwork and so I could ask any questions I had, we had set nights a week when we ate dinner together no matter what. Even when he got a job and became much more busy, he always made sure he was there for our arranged times. We even got into the habit of watching Japanese reality TV together once or twice a week. I only give this a 9 because some weekends he wouldn't come home until the next afternoon, which was kinda scary, and because I know that not all roommate pairs were as close as we were.
Safety: 10/10
Japan is weirdly safe. We often passed elementary school aged children walking to school alone in the mornings, something which would never fly in the US, especially in such a large city as Osaka. I spent a semester in Bilbao, Spain, and the difference was night and day. Even though nothing ever happened to me in Spain, a number of people in my group were assaulted or robbed, and I never felt quite safe walking alone at night. In Japan, though, I could walk through the seediest part of Shinsaibashi or Nanba, the nightlife districts of Osaka, alone and at night, and never feel unsafe. Sure part of that is that I'm a 6'2" man, so I'd probably feel safer than most regardless of where I am, but the fact remains that it always felt safe. Even with all that inherent safety, though, CET went above and beyond in their preparing us for the city. We had a number of safety orientations at the beginning to tell us exactly how to get by and how to be safe in Japan, and I always felt that the coordinators and program leaders would answer the phone if I felt unsafe for any reason. I really can find no fault with the program as far as safety. If you need proof that Japan is safe, my friends and I missed the last train in Shinsaibashi one night, and instead of hanging out and waiting till morning for the first train, we just walked home. We walked 14 miles home, through 3 or 4 smaller "cities", started at midnight and arrived home at about 6am, and not once did any of us feel unsafe.
Fun: 8/10
Not much to say in this regard. It's an intensive academic program in a foreign country. You'll have your fair share of work, but also an even greater opportunity to explore and experience new things. The program hosts a number of amazing trips, the trains connect virtually the entire country, and the nightlife in Osaka is great. There's always something to do, for those willing to search for it. Plus, all students at Osaka Gakuin University get free access to the school gym, which is a great gym that's often not too busy. Sometimes it'll be filled with like 30 high schoolers just sitting on the machines, but for the most part it's essentially empty.
Food: 10/10
If you like Japanese food, you're in luck, because this program does, in fact, take place in ?Japan. There's easy access to literally any food you want, and if you can't find something, there are grocery stores in most areas. There's even McDonald's, Taco Bell, and other American bad food restaurants that are easily locateable if you get homesick for horrible food, like my friend did.

All said and done, it's a really great program and I'd recommend it to anybody who wants to immerse themselves in Japanese language and culture and come out far more knowledgeable than they went in.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
There are a couple contenders, but the most unfamiliar thing that I ate with relative frequency was chicken heart. It's just a pub food in Japan, so whenever we went out, we inevitably ate some skewered chicken hearts. It made me a little queasy to consider at first, but it's really quite good once you try it.
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Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Brazil

CET Brazil was a phenomenal program. I didn't really know what to expect before I arrived, but as soon as I landed in Brazil I was welcomed with warmth and love. These feelings carried over into every aspect of my time abroad. My Brazilian roommate has become one my best friends; we still talk every week. I have heard of some students struggling to connect with people on their abroad programs, but I don't think anyone on my program would say they experienced that. We became a family; all of the international students, the Brazilian students, and even the faculty and staff. It quickly became a second home. Outside of this, however, CET Brazil provides you with ample opportunity and freedom to really get to know São Paulo. They provide workshops for you to attend and set up events for the first few weeks to get you comfortable with traveling around alone. And with the help of the Brazilian roommates, you are emerged into the culture much faster. They are there for you every step of the way, from registering your passport to navigating grocery stores to finding fun activities that are suited for you. The classes are also created for you. They have Portuguese classes for every level, I've made friends who spoke no Portuguese when they arrived and left being able to have full conversation both in and out of the classroom. CET works closely with the University, so you fully supported if you decide to take classes at PUC. The professors both at PUC and CET try to help you take course that interest you. I went to Brazil to further research I was doing for my honors thesis, and even though my program got cut short, all my professors continuously checked in with me and introduced me to people they believed would help me. All the Brazilian students I met at university were so excited and supportive of my taking classes fully in Portuguese. They were so welcoming and even after the first day of meeting them invited me to go out with them. Night live in São Paulo is incredible. The music and dancing carry themselves out into the streets, you fall in love with everything so quickly. Public transportation is easy to navigate and the city is crawling with hotspots and pop-up shops. Amazing graffiti and site-seeing. And for those who are not big city people, it is easy to bus over to beaches, other cities and beautiful nature sites. Throughout the program, you are also reminded of your position staying in the neighborhood of Perdizes. CET Brazil has mandatory classes that focus on the inequities that exist in Brazil, and create the space for students to connect what they are learning back into their own countries. I truly cannot express how amazing my experience was and how incredible of a program CET is. And even with its flaws, all staff members were open to always hearing from students on what would make the program better, and would always find ways to implement those suggested improvements.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open to talking to random people. Some of my closest friends/people I still talk to are those who I met out on the street. Even if you don't speak Portuguese well, people are so open and want to speak to you. Be willing to take risks, don't be afraid of the city.
Leaynet
2/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Brazil

My expereince in Brazil through CET was unfortunately horrible, because of the mistreatment I received from CET staff and students (both the Americans and local Brazilians). I didn't feel at home and clearly felt like I was NOT part of the CET family. I was left out a lot throughout my trip. I felt discriminated. The only thing I really liked about my time in Brazil through CET was the fact that I got to visit different places. This was not what I initially anticipated when I decided to study abroad.

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Britton
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Prague

If you're reading this review, you're just like me when I was trying to decide between a few study abroad programs. First and foremost, I can 100% assure you that CET Prague is an amazing program.

Prague is by far the most beautiful city in Europe in terms of architecture (for nature I would recommend Croatia). There are so many things to do in Prague from museums and historical sites to an array of restaurants, pubs, and clubs. There are farmers markets, food / wine festivals and so many unique social gatherings throughout the city that I found fascinating.

The CET staff is arguably the best part of the program. I can personally speak for Petra, Martina, and Maggie, which are three people you'll be in contact with the most. They truly cared about my concerns and helped me throughout the semester. Additionally, the housing offered by CET is superb. The apartments are spacious with high ceilings. Some units are nicer than others, but overall I thought all of the apartments were all nice. And I should mention that a housekeeper comes to clean weekly. My roommate and I were also lucky, we shared our apartment with an awesome Czech student.

The professors were generally very nice. I didn't find any of the classes challenging, but that's not to say they weren't interesting. I didn't have to put in a lot of study time, which was nice because that made it possible to travel more. If it's offered, I highly recommend taking Resistance and Dissent taught by Pavla. She one of the most eccentric and interesting professors I've ever taken and her course is really fun. I should note that all of the courses are taught at the CET center, not at a Charles University building. You won't be taking courses with other Czech students, all of your courses will be with other students from the United States. This is purely because all of the classes are offered in English, with the exception of the Czech course. I thought I would prefer to be in a foreign university setting, but I really liked the CET center. I think this might matter to some people, so this might be something to consider.

The travelling opportunities provide by CET are great. I believe there were two traveling seminars. The first travelling seminar you'll visit Krakow, Auschwitz, Brno, and Vienna. The second travelling seminar is in Budapest. In addition to these, CET staff will take you to several cities and towns throughout the Czech Republic. These travelling opportunities, which are provided by CET are unique. Most study abroad programs do not offer travel opportunities like this. I definitely think this is something to consider.

I wanted to write briefly about my experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The aforementioned staff members were extremely open-minded and eager to help each student regardless of one's unique identity. At one point in the semester there was a sponsored meetup for LGBTQ+ students studying at Charles University, which was fun. Prague as a city is quite progressive for LGBTQ+ issues, there is an annual pride parade and there are several gay clubs, which are fun for everyone! The only problem I had was with my Czech teacher at CET. She was obviously ignorant about the LGBTQ+ community as per her comments throughout the semester. I notified staff about her comments and spoke to the teacher directly about attending diversity and inclusion workshops in the future. Although this teacher was not appreciated, she was a small negative in my overall very positive experience. I felt quite comfortable within the CET program and Prague.

After talking with friends about their study abroad experiences, I came to the conclusion that CET Prague is one of the best study abroad programs. The beauty coupled with an abundance of activities for students arguably makes Prague one of the best cities for study abroad. And I cannot say enough positive things about the CET staff. If you're on the fence between CET Prague and another program, I think CET Prague is a place for everyone.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
There were several weekends where students would take weekend trips to other countries. I really enjoyed visiting other countries, but I wish I had spent more time exploring Prague. If I could do it over again, I would make a list of things I wanted to do in Prague. But no regrets overall :)
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Liana
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
CET Florence

As a midyear student, I participated in the CET Florence Program during my very first semester of college. Everything about the experience of being abroad was brand new to me, but I was so ready to get going! I spent my semester studying in bars (the Italian word for a caffe), walking the city, attending classes at CET and traveling around Italy and Europe. There were a few parts of the program I found particularly challenging: first of all, the program is very small. If a cohort just doesn't click, it can be difficult to find close friends. That was my experience, and it pushed me to truly learn how to travel on my own and how to be productive and happy in my own routines. Second, the program is organized so that there is a 10 day fall break during which students are entirely responsible for figuring out travel plans. This was especially difficult for me because I did not find a group of friends I wanted to travel with, and my family did not come and visit. I also have never had experience planning my own trips before as a freshman in college. The CET staff are absolutely incredible whenever you need help academically or in terms of travel ideas and tips, so they were my primary resource for places to go and things to see! Some of my favorite parts of the CET experience included connecting with Florence through my Renaissance art history course, meeting Italian high school and university students, and enjoying some of the best food I have ever eaten during the Italian Food and Culture course. All in all, I came back to the states with more confidence and a stronger sense of independence than I knew I could have, some of the best travel stories and experiences ever, and I had fallen deeply in love with Florence.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that one way to improve CET Florence would be to, as part of the package, offer different travel options or suggestions to its students so that when the time comes to travel around Italy or Europe, students have a base of resources to refer to. There should be a list of sources given, long before students arrive in Florence, so that they can see what kinds of trips will be available for them to take (or not take!). For example, providing links to the websites for student study abroad tours (Smart Trip, Bus2Alps, etc.). This way, students can plan out their trips in advance, if they decide to, and can still have an easily accessible list of places to go and things to do if they find themselves stuck while abroad.