CET Japan

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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.

Questions & Answers


based on 22 reviews
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.5
  • Housing 7.8
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 22 of 22
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Osaka, How Do I Love You? Let Me Count the Ways

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

Yes, I recommend
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A summary of my life and some of my favorite things to do

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Friends, Language, Adventure

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.
Yes, I recommend
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CET Osaka Summer 2013

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Best Summer of My Frickin' Life!!!

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.
Yes, I recommend
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CET Osaka (Fall)

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.
Yes, I recommend
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CET Osaka

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.
Yes, I recommend


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About CET Academic Programs

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...