Location
  • Japan
    • Tokyo
Term
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Anthropology Asian Studies Economics History Marketing Sociology

Program Details

Program Type
Provider
Degree Level
Bachelors
Housing
Host Family
Language
English

Pricing

Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/tokyo
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Activities Classes Some Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Visa
Apr 19, 2021
Feb 10, 2020

About Program

Now is your chance to live and learn in one of the world’s most famous cultural metropolises. Whether you’re people-watching in the hip Shibuya neighborhood, visiting Asakusa temple, or exploring Okinawa on a course-related excursion, your semester in Tokyo will be a whirlwind of adventure. As you explore your host city, Tokyo will become your classroom.

You will take a 6-credit language course specially designed for IES Abroad students, taught at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), plus area studies courses taught in English.

Start your adventure with IES Abroad today.

Video and Photos

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Popular Programs

students participating in mokuhanga (wood painting)

Expand your understanding of Japan with our Language & Culture Program by immersing yourself in contemporary Japan and Japanese culture. When you study abroad in Tokyo, you will take a 6-credit language course specially designed for IES Abroad students, taught at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), plus area studies courses taught in English.

student on a hike standing on a rock with a hiking stick with clouds and expansive mountains behind him

This program is excellent for serious students at all levels who seek to study Japanese language in an intensive 6-credit course and delve into an exciting exploration of Japanese culture. As one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, Tokyo will challenge you to look at the world differently. Mastering public transportation, trying exotic foods, experiencing a lifestyle that combines fast-paced modernity with age-old traditions – all of these will offer insights into your own reality.

Program Reviews

9.53 Rating
based on 30 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 90%
  • 7-8 rating 10%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7.6
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 30 reviews
Default avatar
Khalia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I met my second family and they were a big support system for me!

I spent a semester in Tokyo, Japan in Fall 2019. I was the only one from my college and state going on this IES Abroad program. I wasn't sure if my Japanese was sufficient to navigate around in the city or to ask for specific help whenever I needed it. It was the first time I would be away from home for so long. So I was excited to see how it would turn out, and I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to adjust to life in Japan because Japan and Georgia, USA are entirely different. However, IES Abroad allowed me to make a Japanese friend through email (e-pal) and meet my future classmates through Facebook so I would have someone I know meet me at the airport. There were 40 international students and 20 E-pals that would grow to be some lifelong friends. All of us were so unique and came from different backgrounds, majors, and language levels. The staff that worked at the IES Center were like family to a lot of us. They really looked out for us and helped us learn how to adjust and cope with occasional homesickness. The program had trips to Nikko and Hokkaido that allowed us to explore the differences that exist in various prefectures of Japan.
I lived with a host family, and they helped me adjust to the lifestyle and practice my Japanese. Every morning my host mom would say, "what is today? What is the date? What will you do today?" in Japanese, and I would have to respond in Japanese. In the evening times, my host parents would ask me: "how was my day? What did I eat for lunch? What did I learn?" and so on. It was great and not at all as overwhelming as one may think. They were patient with me and waited for me to think out my response and would gently correct me when my grammar was wrong. I am vegan, which means that I do not eat meat, dairy, fish, eggs, or any animal byproducts. So my options were a little bit restricted, but my host mom had vegan cookbooks and researched my dietary needs. So she would make new dishes or modify well-known dishes so that I could eat with the family. So this is something I am extremely grateful for because not many people are willing to do this or occasionally adjust their meals to accommodate someone for four months. I truly felt like I had a new family and hope to keep in contact with them now that I have returned to America. I made many lifelong friends while I was in Japan, and this experience helped me grow as a person. I hope in the future I can come back to work and live in Japan.

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't improve anything about this program. It was great!
10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Semester

I had such an amazing time studying with IES Abroad in Tokyo! The administrators were so encouraging when I expressed interest in getting involved with the local community. The traveling opportunities were so much fun, and I enjoyed our excursions a lot. The coursework was a little light, but it allowed me time to really get out and explore Japan, and most of the Japanese learning I did occurred when I interacted with other students at Kanda University of International Studies. The KUIS campus is absolutely gorgeous - a wonderful place to spend a semester.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I was encouraged to join clubs on campus, so I joined the wadaiko (Japanese traditional drumming) circle at Kanda University. I was the only foreigner in the club, and activities were conducted in Japanese only. It was really hard to adjust, but I always had a blast playing the drums, my language skills really improved, and I'm so grateful for all the people I met.
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Amy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Time Exploring Tokyo!

I'd been to Japan before, so I more or less knew what to expect from being in Japan, but I got to explore Japan a lot through this program! Each IES class had field trips in Tokyo to expand on what we learned. We had two cultural activities through IES: learning about Noh in Nakano and making Chicken Ramen in Yokohama. We also went on IES field trips to Hokkaido and Nikko! This program does well with helping you learn about Japan by being IN Japan, not just being in a classroom! The KUIS campus also has lots of clubs, including taiko and kendo, and an entire building dedicated to encouraging students to speak English, so you'll definitely feel comfortable on campus too!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Going to Nikko and trying the onsen was scary at first, but going with friends made it a lot easier! It ended up being a lot more fun than (and nowhere NEAR as scary as) I'd imagined!
10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Matthew
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Summer in Tokyo

As the clouds above soaked a dampened atmosphere, I hurried under an awning to take shelter from the first shower of the rainy season. As if being conducted by maestros along the tops of adjacent skyscrapers, flurries of hotfooted salarymen began to weave between their fellow commuters in a rush hour ballad, only to crescendo in the simultaneous opening of their clear plastic umbrellas as they left the stage of Shinjuku station. Once notorious for employing “pushers” to push commuters onto overloaded trains, Shinjuku station remains one of the busiest train stations in the world with over 3.5 million commuters passing through its gates every day. Although maybe not something that everyone would find amusing, it is a sight that made me truly appreciate the scope of the world.

I grew up surrounded by the sugar plantations sowed along the hills of Hanapepe, Hawaii. Though I would leave the island for university, I would again find myself in a bucolic bog in the wheatlands of Pullman, Washington at Washington State University. Studying computational neuroscience and Japanese, I decided that I should study abroad in Japan to gain an immersion into the language and culture to understand more of what Japan was about. That is when I discovered IES’s summer Tokyo program.

If chosen to participate in the program, you will meet up with your fellow students for a few days of orientation and placement examinations. At the time of my writing this review, there are six total classes spanning from the 1000 to 3000 level with two classes in each division. They are all held on the same campus that you will dorm at in the National Olympic Memorial Youth Centre in the outskirts of Shinjuku. You will dorm in an on campus dormitory, living in an approximate 15’X 5’single room with a desk, communal restrooms/wet rooms, and communal laundromat. I had tested into the higher division of the 3000 level classes. I believe the level of instruction in class is more than satisfactory. Classes are quite personal (~8-20 people). Each class does various extracurricular activities throughout the semester based on level. These range from cooking classes with native Japanese students to traveling to national museums to learn more about the country and culture of Japan. But I believe the true value of the program is found beyond the boundaries of the campus.

Shinjuku station lies a twenty-minute walk or five-minute train ride to the North of campus. From there, the entirety of Tokyo’s 23 wards, an area spanning 239 sq mi, is accessible via subways. metros, buses, and a multitude of other modes of transportation. A new perspective of Japanese culture to the commuters that get off at every station. From the hub of anime and everything Japanese pop related in Akihabara, to the 3-starred Michelin restaurants and ultra-luxury malls of Ginza, every destination that comes to mind when thinking of Japan is within a stone’s throw from the youth centre. You could even take a weekend trip to Kyoto or Sapporo if you wanted (something that I frequently did via the bullet train coming out of Tokyo station).

I have made many friends in the program, fellow exchange student and native Japanese alike. I will never forget the memories that we made in class, the nights in the karaoke booths in Shibuya, or the subsequent trips to the adjacent streets lined with “izakaya”s. You can only learn so much about Japan from inside of the classroom. But, if you are truly interested in learning more about the country, what its people and culture are really like, then why not take a summer to learn abroad in the most populous city in all of Japan?

11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Curran
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Tokyo Program

This program is great for anyone who wants to improve their Japanese language skills and learn more about Japan. There are lots of chances for students to go out into Japan, as well as communicate with Japanese students. The program places students at Kanda University of International Studies, which is a language school. Many of the students at the school speak very good English, so even students who have no prior Japanese knowledge will be able to make great friends. The staff at IES Tokyo are really fun to spend time with and always there for whatever you need. I had a great time staying with my host family, and really enjoyed all of the friends I made while I was in Japan. It is important to keep in mind that this program is actually located in Chiba, which is about a 45 minute train ride from central Tokyo. I really loved this location because it shows you a different side of Japan, away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo proper.

9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Cassandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My trip to Japan

Going to Japan and specifically Tokyo has always been a dream of mine. I am so grateful that IES was able to help me make this dream come true. I did a lot of research before leaving for my trip. I knew that the public transportation would be good. However, I didn't realize how easy it would be until I got there. I was worried about my lack of Japanese reading abilities. It proved to be fairly easy to find my way around and go in trips. I once went to Odaiba three times in one week! Now that I am back I find it odd that the transportation where I go to school isn't as efficient.

What would you improve about this program?
This program was amazing I am not sure how it could be improved.
10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Guy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Experience!

Studying abroad is such a unique experience, and I feel like I was able to get the most out of my time by studying through IES. The program staff in Japan were fantastic, and they held regular events to help us explore the local area and culture. These included trips to nearby cultural or historical landmarks, such as the big Buddha statue in Kamakura or the shrines in Asakusa, as well as kabuki theater and a glass-blowing shop where we made our own Japanese-style wind chimes. I definitely recommend participating in as many of these and similar events as you can.
The school I attended, Kanda University of International studies (KUIS) or 神田外語大学, was also special and helped my time in Japan be as amazing as it was. As a foreign language school, everyone at KUIS is required to study English. While the majority of students are of course not yet fluent, this meant that they were overall more comfortable in speaking English and, more importantly, more eager to interact with overseas students and make international friends. I came in with several years of Japanese study already under my belt, and improving my language skills was probably the biggest reason I decided to study in Japan. I was very glad to attend a school where everyone was excited to talk to me and would be more than happy to help me with my Japanese when requested. I was easily able to make many close friends who I still keep in touch with.
In terms of housing options, we could either do homestay or live in a dorm or an apartment. Students were on average probably 45-60 minutes away from the school via train and walking or biking; this commute was a little tiring every day, but that's not too bad for Japan, and you get used to it. I personally lived in the apartments, and I really enjoyed it. It gave me more freedom than the dorms or homestay (I didn't have a curfew, for instance), and it gave me the chance to cook more and explore the local cuisine rather than being on a meal plan in a dorm. I had a single, with two other people (local Japanese people) living in the same apartment, but they mostly kept to themselves so it honestly felt like I was living alone sometimes. This was nice at times, but I had also hoped to be able to talk with them more and become friends. From talking to my other friends living in the apartments, this seemed to be a somewhat common experience.
My main complaint about the program would be the classes; in particular, the three-hour lecture-based classes were often tedious, and I felt like most of the classes didn't cover their topics as deeply as I would have liked. The required Japanese language course was an exception - I improved my language skills a lot, and the teacher was extremely helpful. I wish we had learned a bit more kanji, but the class focused on mostly grammar, vocab, and speaking, which, in my opinion, are probably the most important aspects of learning Japanese. Other classes could be boring at times, but the workload was very manageable and left plenty of time to enjoy the local culture.
Overall, my study abroad experience in Japan was definitely the best time I have ever had in my life, and I would recommend it to anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
It could offer a wider range of courses (such as some that focus on STEM subjects) and revise some of the existing ones to make them more engaging.
10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Matthew
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Thankful for IES Tokyo

A big goal in life of mine was to visit Japan and I'm so proud I can say I accomplished that by the age 20. I've been interested in Japanese culture since I was five years old. One day in the summer of 2017 I was watching random videos on Youtube and I found IES Abroad Tokyo's youtube channel and that one video made me immediatly apply to the program. I did more research online and each time this program sounded more amazing after each article.

The flight to Japan was nerve-racking and I was honestly scared, but as soon as we landed at the airport and met the IES staff, other students, and E-Pals (our online Japanese student pen pal) I immediately felt at home. Everyone was so welcoming and easy to talk too. We studied at Kanda University of International Studies which its students primarily focus on different languages, but English is a requirement to enter. So it was extremely easy to make new friends and be an active member on campus by joining clubs. The Japanese course that was mandatory for us to take actually helped so much I was able to utilize the language in less than two weeks of starting classes. IES Abroad took us on various cultural excursions we flew to the island Okinawa for 4 days and got to participate in activities that a normal tourist would not be able to do. We even met up with students at Meio University for a couple of hours and we all bonded and added each other on social media. We visited Kamakura which is known for it's temples and shrines, and we got to go to various locations in Tokyo! I'll forever be thankful for this program, because I know If I didn't participate in this program I would've not been able to do any of this.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel like the academics weren't as engaging as I thought they were going to be. Reading the syllabus before even applying to the program I was super excited for some of the courses, but 2 weeks into the program I felt disengaged and some of the professors teaching styles didn't help make things better.
9 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

As for the weekly schedule, I was in the language intensive program, not the language and culture program, so it may be slightly different. In addition, I was in the program in Fall of 2012, so it may very well be different now. The weekly schedule with a host family was like this: Japanese language class from 9 am to 12 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday Classes in the evening on...

After classes, which are Monday-Friday 8:30am-12pm, you are free to do as you like. There are a couple field trips organized by IES Abroad, only a few of which are mandatory. So, if you prefer to pass on the non-mandatory field trips, you are allowed to do so. Weekends are usually free so you can make your own plans. Short answer: you have a lot of free time and the freedom to explore and do your...