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.