CET Japan
91% Rating
(20 Reviews)

CET Japan

Ready to expand your Japanese language skills both in class and during free time? The CET Japan program is designed to maximize language improvement and allows you to complete at least a full year of university-level Japanese each term. The flexible curriculum includes options for electives in Japanese or in English. You’ll share a furnished, off-campus living space with local roommates. The cozy campus is just 15 minutes from downtown Osaka. Weekend trips and group excursions take you off the tourist map, to hot springs, a re-created ninja village, or a ropes course in the mountains. Japanese language learners of all levels and majors are welcome to attend the fall and spring programs. The summer program has a full-time language pledge and is open to students with at least 2 previous semesters of Japanese language.

Locations
Asia » Japan » Osaka
Asia » Japan
Subject Areas
Asian Studies
Conservation and Preservation
Cultural Studies
East Asian Studies
Philosophy
Sociology
Sustainable Development
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Summer
Accommodation
Apartment
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
GPA Requirement
Starting Price
$5,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
CET makes it a point to include as much as possible. The CET program fee covers tuition, housing with a Japanese roommate, activities and excursions (including an overnight excursion), visa fees, medical insurance and course materials/textbooks.

The program fee does not include transportation to/from Japan and to/from campus and meals.

Still wondering how to budget for your time abroad? CET offers scholarships, and CET staff is happy to provide advice on keeping discretionary purchases to a minimum (i.e., they can tell you where to get cheap eats).

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    85%
  • Support
    90%
  • Fun
    85%
  • Housing
    78%
  • Safety
    97%

Program Reviews (20)

Lauren
Female

An amazing language learning experience

9/10

The CET program in Osaka is, in my opinion, one of the best study abroad programs in Japan. It will NOT be the program for you, however, if your goal is to have an easy semester that allows a lot of travel and free time. It WILL be if you want to enhance your Japanese language ability and truly live like a Japanese college student. The Japanese classes are intense, often, and have a lot of work involved. The language pledge forces you to express yourself in and use Japanese every single day. Living with a Japanese roommate means that you have to communicate and learn about your roommate's style of living, and it also gives you an easy entrance into how a real Japanese college student lives. Because there are a lot of pros and cons of this program's aspects, I will break it into parts.

Japanese language classes
Pros:
- They are HARD and rightfully so. You will see your Japanese improve quickly.
- The professors are amazing, available, and encouraging.
- The class field trips made me more connected to different parts of the culture, while also using Japanese to understand them and talk about them. My favorite was probably my class's trip to Himeji-jo.
- The classes are small (at least smaller than at my home university).
- The project class was a huge turning point for me. I would have never thought that I was capable of interviewing local Japanese people, creating a presentation about a topic, and presenting it completely in Japanese.
Cons:
- The learning gaps between class levels are large. My class (200 level) was more encouraging and fun, but we also learned a lot. My friends in the 300 and 400 levels found these classes extremely hard and time-consuming, and were incredibly stressed about them.
- If you're looking for a program with good English-taught electives, I would not recommend this program. My electives were, quite simply, jokes, and did not challenge me in the way I hoped. That being said, it was fun to take a Japanese culture class while in Japan.

Living situation
Pros:
- Living with my Japanese roommate gave me a view of what it was like to be a college student in Japan.
- I was able to practice with my roommate and get help on my homework almost always.
- I made a friend that I can still connect with and talk to, even after I left.
- I lived in an apartment in Toyonaka with only my roommate, so my experience was different than the majority of students who lived in share houses. However, living in a small city on the edge of Osaka was amazing -- I was able to travel by train to anywhere and eat anything within the vicinity of my apartment.
Cons:
- Some people get closer to their roommates than others, which is frustrating.
- Some roommates don't try to hang out with the American students and are busy with their own lives.
- There are definitely cultural differences that come with living with someone from a different country.
- How you live in Osaka is strongly dependent on where you get placed. Students living in share houses had very different experiences that students living in apartments.

Excursions and Travel
Pros:
- The CET official excursions were AMAZING and things I would have never thought to do myself. Examples include: eating a vegetarian meal at a Buddhist temple, traveling to Gifu prefecture and staying in a ryokan, visiting Byodoin temple
Cons:
- There was VERY little time for travel outside of the program. We had 2 breaks during the spring semester, and one was Golden Week. I wish there had been more long weekends so that we could explore more of Japan.

Others
Pros:
- CET offered fun activities during the week that really enhanced my experience. These included: takoyaki party, karaoke party, origami making workshop, naginata demonstration, calligraphy class, etc.
- The CET staff were always available to students, especially with things like injuries/illness and emotional difficulties. Additionally, they always helped with simple Japanese living requirements like paying bills, enrolling in health insurance, etc.
- Living in Osaka means that you are close to SO many major cities. Nara, Kobe, and Kyoto are all barely 45 minutes away. Thus, it is easy to travel around the areas and visit famous places on weekends. This starkly contrasts studying abroad in Tokyo, where you need to take a bullet train or airplane to get to larger cities in other regions.
- The language pledge forced me to think in Japanese and express myself through the words I knew. This was probably the MOST important point that enhanced my language ability.
Cons:
- CET is on a normal American spring semester system, which means that Japanese students were on summer vacation for a majority of the time. Thus, there were no opportunities to participate in clubs or events on the OGU campus, and meeting other Japanese students proved exceptionally difficult.
- CET staff is strict on the language pledge. Although it was extremely beneficial, it was frustrating when you wanted to befriend other English-speaking students. Additionally, CET staff scolded Japanese students that wanted to speak English with us, which was unfortunate.

Overall, this program truly changed my thinking in terms of what I wish to do after I graduate. I loved Japan so much that I decided I wanted to steer my career goals toward living and working in Japan. If you want to learn Japanese and live in a way that is more closely aligned with how it is truly like to live in Japan (vs. living in a bubble where your only friends are other American students studying abroad), then this is the program for you.

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Natsuko
Female
22 years old
Corona

CET Intensive Japan: Challenging, but Fun

9/10

My experience in Osaka may be different from what "foreigners" experienced because I am Japanese-American, so I look Japanese and can do conversational Japanese. I heard many stories of my international classmates being stared at by random people in the train, when walking in the streets, etc., but they got used to it and just ignored the stares. Although I can speak conversational Japanese, CET placed me in a level (4) in which I could challenge myself. I had little knowledge of kanji, so being placed in a higher level was challenging because of the amount of learning kanji (25-50 kanjis a week) and writing we had to do. The support of the teachers and staff really helped me get through the semester. The teachers are all very friendly and are willing to help the students with utmost care.

CET also provided a chance to stay at a Japanese family for a weekend in a city called Sanda, which is about an hour train ride. The experience differs from house to house, but I enjoyed my host family very much. My host mom would teach me how to cook Japanese food (okonomiyaki). and since it was almost Girl's Day (March 3), we made a traditional dish called chirashizushi. Although the trip was short, I had a memorable time with them. I am very thankful for CET for providing a chance for us to experience what it is like to live in a Japanese family.

I believe my experience at Japan changed dramatically when I joined "Nihon Buyou," which is a traditional Japanese dance class offered once a week. I got really close with the other international students who took her class and with the teacher. We were like a family. She would invite us to her house and she would teach us how to make traditional Japanese food. At the end of the program party, we would perform a dance that we have practiced throughout the semester.

How can this program be improved?

Since I was in a higher level Japanese, I did not have much trouble expressing my thoughts, but the lower level students had difficulty, which made it difficult for us to really communicate. CET has a language pledge, in which you can only speak Japanese in the building where you are studying (International Center). Most of the time the lower level Japanese wouldn't stay long to chat in the Japanese lounge (a room where you can relax, do your homework, and snack on some food that CET provides), so it was a bit difficult to talk with them. But the purpose of the program is for them to improve their Japanese, so it's understandable to have the pledge, but maybe having fun events where the higher level students can help with the lower level students with their Japanese could help create bonds between students.

Kazimier
Male
20 years old
Coralville, Iowa

CET Japan Summer 2016

10/10

If you want to travel somewhere to meet awesome people, go to Japan. The Japanese I met were some of the nicest, most considerate, most helpful people I've ever known, and that made the trip completely worth it. My roommate never hesitated to help me with my homework or show me a cool tourist destination. Some thing about Japan can be tough to figure out at first, and I would have struggled a lot had it not been for everyone going out of their way to help me. The Japanese were also always very respectful to me. I never had to deal with an angry cashier or frustrated bus driver; they were always calm and patient. Putting aside the incredible culture and super interesting language, Japanese people alone are reason enough to go to Japan.

How can this program be improved?

The full-time language pledge made it somewhat difficult to establish good relationships and friendships with the other American students due to our limited Japanese ability. I think it would be good to have weekly events where we could speak English and get to know one another better.

Bryanna
Female
23 years old
Aliso Viejo, CA
Soka University of America

Fun with CET Osaka

9/10

CET was an amazing experience with a great housing program! Instead of a dorm, I lived in an apartment with a local Japanese student from the same university. I became really close with my roommate & her family and often joined them for dinner on holidays, which really helped me improve my Japanese (and Osaka-ben) outside of class. In addition to CET program activities we did together, my roommate showed me around Kyoto, took me to her calligraphy class (she's attended since she was 4!), and even invited me on a road trip to Fukuoka and Yamaguchi prefectures during Golden Week to visit her father's childhood home. Overall, CET's roommate program is an incredible way to foster both your language learning and life-long relationships on study abroad.

How can this program be improved?

Although the language pledge is helpful for immersion and faster language learning, some beginning level students struggled with it. Because they had little to no Japanese experience, some said they didn’t feel confident practicing outside of class without first knowing the basics.

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Francesco
Male
24 years old
Ithaca New York
Cornell University

Great Experience Overall

8/10

I really enjoyed my experience in Osaka. I think my most difficult challenge was trying to learn Japanese from scratch. However, I eventually got over the language barrier thanks to the staff at CET.

How can this program be improved?

Schedule more time to travel.

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Jesus
Male
24 years old
Bonita, California
Yale University

Definitely consider this program!

10/10

The summer I spent with this program was life-changing. Osaka is surrounded by so much culture and history that I was continually learning on a day-to-day basis. I could take a stroll around the city and run into the most delicious food I've ever tasted, take a train to Kyoto and visit a famous temple, visit Nara and interact with deer roaming on the streets; the possibilities were endless! Every weekend was a new adventure and the Japanese roommates only made it even better. They are actually the best part of the whole program. Aside from constant language practice at home, they were always so excited to take us out to a new area or organize a get together at someone's house. At first it was hard to interact because everyone had just met and most of us weren't used to the language yet. However, the roommates made me feel so comfortable that I got over my fear of saying something wrong and quickly began to speak naturally. Now the main reason I want to go back is to see them all again. I absolutely recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?

The gap between the courses offered is too large. For example, the 2nd year class seemed to easy for some people, yet they also did not feel prepared enough for the 3rd year class, so they were in an awkward situation. There should be intermediate courses added, or the curriculum should be modified to account for the difference in ability between each of the three levels.

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Tony
Male
24 years old
Mission Viejo, CA
University of Kentucky

Growing Up Abroad

10/10

This program is by far the best thing I ever participated in. If you are serious about learning a language, then CET is the way to go. The academics are truly challenging, and the language pledge can be difficult for lower level speakers, but if you can push through, you will find your abilities improved tremendesouly in just a short amount of time. I lost a lot of sleep, but it was worth it because i was able to create so many memories with such great people everyday and with the special activities CET plans.

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Theodore
Male
24 years old
United States
Occidental College

CET Semester in Osaka, Japan

9/10

I just returned home from studying abroad in Osaka, Japan. While I am very happy to be home, I also realize that I probably will never get a chance to study abroad again. Whether with CET or another program, study abroad is a must do.

I decided to study abroad for the fall of my junior year. It had almost nothing to do with my major, although I did receive credit for some classes that will go towards my major. Before I chose CET, I had taken one full year (two semesters) of Japanese language classes. During my time abroad, I wanted to find a program that would give me the best opportunity to learn as much Japanese as possible. CET, therefore, stuck out as a target program for me. I applied, got accepted, and filled out all my paperwork, got my visa, and headed to Japan.

Pre-Departure
CET's staff did a good job pre-departure of responding to emails promptly and answering all my questions, which I had a lot of. Like all programs, there are a lot of forms to fill out, and CET did their best to help me get everything done.

Post Arrival
Upon arrival in Japan, we were guided by CET staff from the airport to campus. Getting to campus and getting settled in was easy and efficient.

The First Week
The first week was a long week. We had a lot of free time to get used to everything. I was thankful for that time, but it was dull for many of us because our Japanese roommates were still on vacation. I was dying to get out and explore, eat, play club sports, and do new things, but unfortunately I wasn't confident enough in my Japanese skills to try and go out on my own in a city I knew nothing about.

Academics
The first week of classes was an interesting and slightly awkward period. Everyone was at different levels in their Japanese language studies and the teachers had yet to finalize who was in which level class. In addition, every day, we were taken outside the classroom to learn how to do important things in Japan (buy groceries, ride the train, mail a letter). It was interesting and informative, but at times I felt we were a big inconvenience to the locals we were obliged to ask menial questions to.
Nevertheless, I learned basic skills needed to live in Japan.

After that first week, we progressed into our main studies from our textbook. I was placed into the level 2 Japanese class. Once I got used to my professors (先生), I really started to love my class. The pace at which we learned new grammar, vocabulary, and kanji was very fast, but because my teachers were so good, it was easy for me to do my best and enjoy the learning process. I cannot praise my teachers enough (I had two teachers that taught our class each for an hour a day). They were extremely patient, fun, and most importantly passionate about teaching. There was a mutual understanding that improving our language skills was our number one priority. The textbook we used (GENKI 2) was a very well designed and written textbook too. Learning was very straightforwards. I got out what I put in. With five students total in my class, we got a lot of personal attention, which really caters to my learning style. Overall, the Japanese classes were the number one strength of this program. In four months, we completed a full year of japanese. It's amazing how much we improved.

Living/Housing
I lived in a shared house with five minutes away from campus. There were eight of us total, four foreign students, four local students, all attending classes at Osaka Gakuin University. We were each assigned a roommate, but we each had out own rooms. I am extremely thankful that the CET staff (Lauren Nakasato) arranged this for us. Because it was Japan, the space was small and limited, but it was satisfactory. My room had everything I needed(slow wifi/tv/sink/shared kitchen/American style bathroom, showers, laundry machice), although in the winter time it was freezing at night and we were only given one heavy blanket. Because there was no central heating, and because using our heating units were expensive, we were encouraged to tough it out and wear as much warm clothes as possible. But even if I wore everything at night, it was still cold. CET please give your future students more than one blanket. If you are a future student, pack long underwear. It sounded unnecessary to me, but I wish I had it. Other than that, the housing situation was awesome. All the roommates had part time jobs, but because there were four of them, there was usually a local Japanese student around to help with homework, answer questions, or come out with us. My housemates were awesome. My roommate was awesome too. We were all compatible, and I am thankful to have had them around. CET would not be the same without the roommate program.

Osaka Gakuin
The University we studied at has around 5000 undergraduates I think. I never could find the number online, but 5000 is what local students estimated. The campus is nice, small, and has a good cafeteria where you can get a filling lunch for 3/4$ which is great for students who didn't receive any stipend from their home schools. There is also a fully functional, American style gym where you can do any kind of exercise you want (treadmills, olympic squat racks, bench press, dumbbells, stretching room). There are three full time trainers there that can help you if you need a spotter. They are super nice, but do not understand too much english. Nevertheless, I went almost everyday. OGU is known for their sports teams, but not for their academics. Most students do not have homework, and they said that they did not have to work hard during class. But this is completely separate from the studying that we did.

Clubs
Going into study abroad, I was very excited to join sports clubs/circles and meet new people through competition and having fun on the field/court. From what CET told me, and what is on their website (countless student clubs!), I had high expectations. Almost halfway through the semester, I still was unable to join any clubs. CET must change this on their website. It was very misleading. I had brought my baseball gear from America, hoping to play any level of organized baseball. I didn't care, I just wanted to play. But it was clear that the student clubs on campus did not want foreign students with limited conversational abilities to get in the way, which in all fairness, we would have. However, I sent many emails pleading for a chance to try out, and I was able to join the rubber baseball team, which turned out to be awesome. The guys were awesome, welcoming, and nice to me. The hardest part was getting connected. In reality, CET has little to no framework for foreign students to get involved in these clubs. From my experience I learned that getting involved in these clubs comes down to how bad you want to join and how persistent you are. In the end it worked out great for me, but I only got to play for the last two months of my trip. My suggestion for incoming students is to see what your roommates and housemates are involved in and ask to join in with their help.

The City
Osaka is a crazy city. Osaka Gakuin is 15 minutes away from downtown Umeda which is a hub of nightlife, food, and sightseeing. You are also very close to Kyoto, Namba, and other amazing cities, both modern, and traditional. Many students were able to travel as far as South Korea on their three day weekends (which there were many of). Plane tickets are cheap and if you have the time, definitely travel around Japan. Its easy and its worth it. I wish I had travelled more around Japan. This again comes back to how much you want it. You get out what you put in. In the end it is up to you to go out and see Japan. Go for it.

Roommate Program
My roommate and I were a very good fit. Many were not as fortunate. But because most of us lived in shared houses with up to eight people, there was always flexibility between roommate pairs so everyone had someone they could connect with. The language barrier was my biggest issue. I only had a years worth of Japanese before coming to Japan, so it was very hard for me to express myself fully. My roommate knew a good amount of English though so we were able to navigate difficult situations. There were some things we never were able to explain to each other, and it was frustrating, but in the end it was all right. Making mistakes was unavoidable, and it was best just to get over it and move on. My biggest difficulty with my roommate was that it was really hard to figure out what he wanted (what kind of food to eat, where to go, what to do on weekends). We both feared inconveniencing each other, and so we would get into the "anything is ok" conversation loop. I tried to explain that I knew relatively nothing about the Osaka area and that I will do/eat anything, but my roommate was form Okinawa so he also did not know the area. Nevertheless, we had a great experience together. We ended up playing baseball together on the same team. He is coming to America this summer and wants to go skydiving. Lucky me.

Overall
You get what you put in. CET gives you everything you need to start. The clubs experience was frustrating, but I succeeded in the end. It was cold at night sometimes, but I had an amazing time. I saw so much of Japan, learned so much Japanese, and made friends that I will keep forever. I am lucky. Some people did not have as good a time as I did. It all comes back to how far outside your comfort zone you are willing to go.

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Grace
Female
24 years old
United States
Lewis & Clark College

Intense but rewarding

10/10

I admit there were times that I felt really frustrated with the program because it was very hard. However, at the same time, it was because the program pushed me so much that I learnt so much Japanese.

How can this program be improved?

Extend the length of the summer program.

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Jesse
Male
24 years old
Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan

Do not pass up this opportunity

10/10

Before I left for Japan to complete the CET program, I was actually kind of anxious to just "get it over with" and come back home to finish school. By the end of the program however, I could not have felt more at home in Japan.

Everything about the summer intensive program was excellent from start to finish. Classes were Monday through Friday, from about 9am to 3pm with some breaks. Class was challenging. Working through a full year's worth of material in only two months meant that we were faced with multiple quizzes each day, and weekly presentations and essays. Students were expected to come to class prepared, and lesson plans and expectations were clear each week. Although I can only speak for my class, the material was a lot of fun every day and the students really got to know each other. There was an obvious improvement in everyone's spoken and written Japanese ability from the start of the course until the end.

What really made this program special was the social dynamic between the students and the Japanese roommates. I lived in a house with 7 others, and it became the spot for most people to gather after classes and for events. The Japanese students worked very hard to make sure everyone felt included, and group events were planned several times a week throughout the duration of the summer. Having never lived with this many people under one roof before, I was not sure what to expect - but the roommate aspect was easily the best part of the entire experience for me. Every conversation - from how to cook something to experiences growing up - was a learning opportunity. My former roommates are some of my best friends now, and when I return to Japan I will be certain to see them again.

I remember going on a run during one of my last days in the program and reflecting on my time there. I was excited to see friends and family back home, but I also felt like I was leaving a whole life that I had created in Osaka. It is hard to know what to expect when you sign up for an intensive language program, but my experience with CET could not have been better.

How can this program be improved?

It would have been great to have a little more time tacked on to the end of the program - after classes had ended - to really say goodbye to everyone and visit those final places you had yet to see. We had to move out of our housing the day after the final exam, and even just a couple more days would have been really nice.

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Evan
Male
24 years old
Claremont California
Claremont McKenna College

Great Classes, Weak Social Environment

5/10

Best Japanese Classes I've ever taken!
Professors have a solid curriculum and will take the time to teach you anything in Japanese you are curious about.
Isolation from university students
Lack of extracurriculars
Japanese roommate was fun and helped me a lot with my Japanese
Love Osaka!!!

How can this program be improved?

Increase extracurriculars. There are almost none. There was a kendo club, which starts almost at the end of study abroad, a tea ceremony club which would get cancelled regularly and an English teaching club. That's all that I remember, but this is clearly not enough for 4 months, especially when we weren't in any of the classes with other students whom most commuted from home, so it was almost impossible to make friends from the university.
Even if CET cannot find school extracurricular activities, it is essential that CET give students information to different events and activities in the neighborhood and or city. I came on this program to greatly improve my Japanese so that I would be able to work in Japan, so I wanted to make Japanese friends, which was hard to do.

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Nicole
Female
24 years old
Amherst, Ma
Amherst College

A Truly Rewarding Experience

9/10

Overall, CET Osaka was a truly rewarding experience. This program's strongest assets include the intensive Japanese classes and the roommate program. Use it all to your advantage and practice as much Japanese as you can!

How can this program be improved?

I think the housing facilities could be improved and complaints that have been submitted should be reviewed for the comfort of future participants. I also think clarification about the location of the program would be useful. The school is not in the center of the bustling city, but rather in a more suburban environment, so frequent transportation on the train is something participants need to be ready for if they wish to explore. It was also difficult to actually join clubs because of the difference between the program's timeline and Japanese students' school calendar, so better accommodations for people who are interested in joining clubs would be great!

Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for taking the time to write a review on your CET program! It's always wonderful to hear about your experiences abroad and is invaluable to us as we help new students make the most of their study abroad experience. Please stay in touch! Join our LinkedIn group; follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; and feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss any aspect of your experience further. -Shelley Jessee, CET staff

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Abby
Female
24 years old
Seattle, WA
Lewis & Clark College

CET Osaka Program

9/10

Studying abroad in Japan was one of the best experiences of my life. I have always wanted to participate in the JET program and live and work in Japan, but before studying abroad and spending a year there, that goal felt more like a dream that might not be realized than something that I could actually work towards. I felt so comfortable in Japan and I can't wait until I can go back!

How can this program be improved?

I would try to focus more on getting the international students in touch with other students at the university. Almost all of the students I met and became friends with were students who were involved in the CET program as roommates or had been in the past. Although I made great friends with these students, it would have been nice to have more opportunities to meet more of the general student body.

Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for taking the time to write a review on your CET program! It's always wonderful to hear about your experiences abroad and is invaluable to us as we help new students make the most of their study abroad experience. Please stay in touch! Join our LinkedIn group; follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; and feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss any aspect of your experience further. -Shelley Jessee, CET staff

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Kimly
Female
24 years old
Orange County, California
Soka University of America

Osaka, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count the Ways

10/10

I wake up in the morning to a rooster's cry in the distance. I bike to school beside the river with a thick piece of パン in my mouth. I pass by the group of elderly men on their morning walk along the river. 「おはようございまーす!」
Living in Japan is surreal - the resident director can sure echo that with you. The entire experience is surreal, from the classes being taught entirely in Japanese to the residents talking to you as a native. You have the freedom you receive to explore the beautiful area on your own and participating with the local culture on all levels. Cherry blossom season was the most stunning one's life could take. 桜 petals raining down on you have the power to calm all your troubles.
Although one cannot account for one's peers, the staff were so helpful and encouraging, it was not difficult to solve any issues. Truly one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.

Response from CET Academic Programs

Thanks for taking the time to write a review on your CET program! It's always wonderful to hear about your experiences abroad and is invaluable to us as we help new students make the most of their study abroad experience. Please stay in touch! Join our LinkedIn group; follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; and feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss any aspect of your experience further. -Shelley Jessee, CET staff

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Liz
Female
24 years old
Portland, Oregon
Lewis & Clark College

A summary of my life and some of my favorite things to do

7/10

I lived in a house with 3 other American girls and 4 Japanese girls, each in our own room. We'd cook at home and our house was often a gathering place for the students of the program, Japanese and American. I had about 10 hours of Japanese classes a week with students from CET, and then an additional 2 classes, one in English, one in Japanese, with exchange students from CET and other programs. It was hard to break out of the exchange student bubble and meet other Japanese students.
One of the great advantages of living in Osaka (and Japan in general) is how easy it is to travel, and I spent many of my weekends traveling in Osaka, or Kyoto, or Kobe. While I cooked most of my meals, which meant I didn't necessarily eat a traditional Japanese meal most of the time, there are lots of great restaurants to eat at -- and it's not as expensive as everyone says! Prices are very similar to the US, and there is lots of delicious food to try--okonomiyaki, ramen, soba, udon, takoyaki, taiyaki were some of my favorites. Also, I loved being able to go to a sentou or onsen as often as I liked, almost once a week in my case, and that is one of the things I miss moust about living in Aikawa, my neighborhood in Osaka.

How can this program be improved?

I really really wish I had been more immersed in the culture. Living with Americans I spoke too much English, and going to school with Americans and other exchange students rather than Japanese made it much harder to meet Japanese people, experience the culture first-hand, and improve on the language.

Response from CET Academic Programs

Thank you for submitting your thoughts on GoOverseas, Liz. We value student feedback and strive to improve our programs based on student feedback. It’s good to know that you enjoyed the program and life in Osaka. The delicious food, fun people and beautiful sights of the Kansai region are hard to beat! That said, we are sorry to hear that the program left you wishing for more connections with Japanese people. We hope that you took advantage of the cultural immersion available to you through your local roommates and teachers. If you have other thoughts of ways that CET can facilitate greater levels of immersion while allowing sufficient time for language study, we would welcome your ideas. Please be in touch with CET (800.225.4262 or [email protected]) and ask for the Director of Institutional Relations.

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Amber
Female
24 years old
St. Paul, Minnesota
Macalester College

Friends, Language, Adventure

9/10

I chose CET for the chance to be roommates with a Japanese student, and to experience Osaka, a city that seemed to be a loud, fun, vibrant counterculture to Tokyo. My semester abroad turned out to exceed all my expectations and left me with heartwarming memories and a whole lot of personal growth.

HOUSING: CET offers the chance to room (either in a house or an apartment) with Japanese students who attend Osaka Gakuin University. I lived in a house with three Japanese girls and two other Americans, about a fifteen minute bike ride down a gorgeous path from school. I believe my housing option was a happy middle between a homestay and a dorm - I had the independence of living on my own (cooking for myself, no curfews, privacy), and the opportunity for cultural exchange with Japanese my age. My housemates became some of my best friends - some of my best memories are small moments we all shared, sitting around the kitchen table studying together, my Japanese roommate explaining kanji to me, cooking American food for our Japanese friends. This sort of housing option operates as a safety net (you probably won't be isolated or lonely very often) and an opportunity to create lifelong bonds. Also, on a practical note, most study abroad programs in Japan require a significant commute to campus, but all of CET's housing is either within walking distance or a 15 minute bike ride/5 minute train ride.

ACADEMICS: CET academics are rigorous and tough; the standards are high, and include about 2-3 hours of Japanese class daily and a research project. You will spend at minimum one hour studying each night. Although I struggled at times, I completed the program amazed at how much my Japanese improved (especially compared to friends who participated in other programs). Additionally, many of the Japanese roommates (as well as people in Osaka generally) don't speak much English, especially compared to Tokyo, so the environment forces you to become comfortable communicating in Japanese! CET also offers electives in a wide range of subjects (I took a history course and an international law course while there). Finally, the interview-based research project is really what you make of it. I felt like it opened a lot of doors for me and gave me an excuse to strike up a conversation with someone I might never have talked to.

LOCATION: Osaka is amazing! Loud, fun, beautiful, DELICIOUS! People are friendly, talk to you on trains, and help you when you're lost. It's fun to explore the different parts of the city, as well as get to know the neighborhood where CET is. The dialect they speak there isn't as hard to understand as some people might tell you, and people get really excited when you can use it. Also, Osaka is centrally located in Kansai so that Kobe, Nara, and Kyoto are all only a short train ride away. Great for exploring!

This program truly challenged me academically and personally. I grew exponentially as a result of choosing CET and thanks to the incredible people I met while abroad. I hope other students consider this program - while of course I cannot guarantee that you will have an experience like mine, I can attest that the CET program provides a strong foundation for all of these positive experiences.

How can this program be improved?

If I had to chance anything, it would be to loosen the academics a little bit. I really enjoyed that the program was rigorous, and that I was learning so much, but at times trying to balance everything became very stressful. I believe part of it had to do with a difference in Japanese and American education systems - since our teacher was Japanese, I think she criticized us and treated struggle in a very different way than most of us were used to. However, that being said, our class still loved our teachers and they were great in the big picture.

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A.Knight
Female
24 years old
Winston-Salem, NC
Wake Forest University

CET Osaka Summer 2013

10/10

After having a few study-abroad options prove untimely or too expensive, a friend informed me of CET's Intensive Language and Culture Program in Osaka for the summer. After having approval from my Japanese teacher, and researching the program, I applied for CET Osaka. The price was right, and the length of the program gave me plenty of time to do other things during the summer. It helped fulfill several of the requirements for my major, and counted as 2 semesters worth of Japanese class in only two months. The academics of the program are very intense- unlike other study abroad programs that involved barely any work. My knowledge of kanji was greatly increased and reinforced, as we went through most of the textbook. If you want to learn a lot of kanji in a short time, and are serious about improving your verbal ability in Japanese, this is the program for you.
As for the learning environment, there may be a bit of a learning curve in understanding and fulfilling the standards the Japanese teachers have. They can seem a little strict; and unlike American professors, they do count absences against you, so it would behoove you to attend every class. But the teachers are all very kind and willing to help you, and I am still in contact with my former teachers today.
Osaka is a great city, and should totally be considered on par with Tokyo in terms of culture, shopping, and general enjoyment. Though me and many of my classmates and friends did not get to do much traveling outside of the Kansai region, we had a blast making Osaka our home and becoming familiar with the local culture. Overall, Osakans are very funny, and easy-going people, so it's easy to reach out for help, or extend the hand of friendship. Get out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in this wonderful place. I can't wait to go back there someday!

How can this program be improved?

I would make the class schedule or the syllabus available to students ahead of time, perhaps so they would have a better idea of what to expect academically.
Also, a calendar of local events, like summer festivals and holidays might be nice, so that students can better maximize their enjoyment of time outside of class.

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Mackenzie
Male
24 years old
United States
University of Michigan

Best Summer of My Frickin' Life!!!

10/10

ALL of the Japanese roommates were amazing people to get to know!! The beauty of CET is that not just your roommate, but all the other roommates too, are your friends and want to hang out with you just as much as you want to hang out with them. Moreover, program participants are welcome to interact with non-CET OGU students as well. Because many students at the university are majoring in foreign language, hospitality, or international studies, they really enjoy getting to know foreigners. I felt like a superstar on OGU's campus because of the very friendly reception. I can honestly say I've made lifelong Japanese friends through this program and communicate with many more even today.

How can this program be improved?

The CET program requires students to go out into the local community and engage in research that will presented at the end of the term. While, in theory, this does not seem like a bad concept, however, the time necessary to complete the project could be better and more enjoyably spent on other ways to integrate students into the community, like joining an extracurricular club at the school. Between daily homework, the project, and personal travel there wasn't much time participate in a club because the program length (8 weeks) was so limited. This review pertains to the summer program specifically.

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Ishani
Female
24 years old
Claremont, CA
Scripps College

CET Osaka (Fall)

10/10

I picked CET's program for convenience (it lines up with the US school year) and because of the appeal of the housing situation. And indeed, the housing situation was easily something I wound up being hugely grateful for. We, the foreign students, were neither isolated in an international student dorm, nor treated as guests by a home-stay family. Within our houses we were equals, roommates, and ultimately, family. As such, during the times when homesickness or culture shock might have otherwise been overwhelming, we had immediate support right outside our doors. The only problem with housing is the variation in residences - some homes have drying machines, others don't; some have large common areas, while others are much more cramped. This can also change how you interact with your roommates, so you might have to make more of an effort if you don't have a common space.
Similarly, the program staff was very supportive, especially the Resident Director. The local teachers could, however, set expectations rather high, and they were not always as understanding of failure - in Japan it is seen as a result of simply not working hard enough. This could be very stressful, especially in the more advanced class levels, though in my case I'd been lucky enough to have covered a few chapters of our textbook in my previous Japanese class. Classes tend to be quite small, so they are intensive - but they also help hone your language skill quickly and efficiently.
In terms of having a good experience outside of class, Osaka is a great place to find yourself. My roommates and I made friends with a group of old men who walked along the path we biked to school, and their smiles and high-fives were a wonderful part of many mornings. Kobe and Kyoto are both easily reachable by train, as is downtown Osaka, and whether you like sightseeing or clubbing or shopping, you certainly won't run out of things to do! Plan carefully though, since as the semester draws to a close it gets much busier academically. As much as I enjoyed an early winter trip to a mountain onsen, I would have been a lot less stressed if I wasn't also worrying about my final project at the same time.
Ultimately, of course, I had a great time in Osaka with CET. I still keep up with my roommates, I learned more Japanese than I'd ever hoped to, and I came away with a lot of great memories. If I could do it all again, I would!

How can this program be improved?

I think this was more relevant for the advanced class, but it would be really good if someone from an American school perspective (the RD, for example) was able to look over the curriculum and monitor in-classroom behavior a bit more closely. At times the Japanese teachers could get very harsh when expectations weren't met, and American students tend to take those kinds of criticisms very personally, leading to a lot of hurt feelings and frustration.

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JenMB
Male
24 years old
Queens, New York
Amherst College

CET Osaka

8/10

CET's Japanese Language program in Osaka offers a tremendous opportunity to improve your language skills while learning about the culture through the people. From day one you begin to build relationships with your Japanese roommate, who not only gives you insight into the culture and cool places to go, but can also be a means for you to meet more Japanese people than you may be able to in a program with just foreign students. In my experience I hung out with more Japanese students than actual foreigners for a majority of the program. They were even able to tell me how much my Japanese improved. I remember one day me and my roommate were on our way to Tokyo and he said that he's impressed with my language skills because initially it was difficult for me to understand him but now he is able to speak quickly and I would pick up everything he said. So your skills will definitely improve a lot.
In terms of Osaka, the city is AMAZING and probably has a great mix of traditional Japanese elements and very modern city experiences. The people are probably amongst the most friendly of all of Japan. I became very good friends with a group of people outside the program on a random trip to Osaka Castle. They struck up a random conversation with me and I ended up hanging out with them for the next 4-5 hours and I still keep in touch with them today.
Some of the difficulties are that being so immersed into the culture and lifestyle from day one can be overwhelming initially. But I think this is where the strength of the program is; you become quickly accustomed to being constantly out of your comfort zone to the point where after the entire experience you feel 100% confident in your language and interpersonal abilities and apply this confidence to other aspects of your everyday life.

How can this program be improved?

I think there should be more of a balance between the rigorous academics and an outside of the classroom experience. At times balancing the two put much stress on students.

About The Provider

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CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio of semester, summer, and short-term customized programs for college, high

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