AICAD Arts and Language Program in Japan

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About

Are you ready to embark on a journey that allows you to explore your interest in Japanese language and art production? With AICAD, you will have the opportunity to engage with intensive Japanese language lessons created for all levels of language abilities. Half of your academic time will be spent in hands-on art production courses at the prestigious Osaka University of Arts. Your housing will offer you daily opportunities to interact with Japanese students, giving you the opportunity to learn Japanese organically and adjust to your life in Japan swiftly and easily. The semester you spend at Osaka is designed to be rich with creativity and natural exposure to the fascinating language. This program is open to all students of AICAD consortium schools.

Highlights
  • Personal, intensive language courses
  • Earn studio art credits
  • Study alongside Japanese students
  • Live with local Japanese roommates
  • Live just 15 minutes away from the heart of the city

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

8.67 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 66.67%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 33.33%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 7.7
  • Housing 8.3
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AICAD in Japan

I was an AICAD student studying in Japan from January to August of 2016. Some of my most favorite memories in my life right now are from my months in Japan: learning and being able to finally speak Japanese, adventuring, connecting with Japanese roommates and other study abroad students, and experiencing a new way of life. Japan has so much to offer and I feel I was definitely able to make the most of my time. That being said, you can also end up only going to classes, never talking to your roommate, and only experiencing the activities the program schedules on field trips, so if you want the most out of the experience, it is important to be proactive.
I came into the program knowing very limited Japanese. There a far amount of English on signage around Japan, but honestly not many people speak English, so the entire experience is really being immersed in a Japanese only environment. At first, I couldn't speak it, and the first day I had a lot of challenges communicating with my roommate, who spoke very limited English. That being said, even by about two months into the program, I was able to get to a level of proficiency where I was able to stay with a non-English speaking family with minimal trouble. At the end of the program, the amount I was able to understand and speak really astounded me.
Being able to learn the language while we explored the country open up a lot of unique opportunities, too. Many of the most interesting activities that you can do are only advertised in Japanese, or are hosted by regular non-English speaking Japanese. My friend and I made our way up to Hokkaido for one of our breaks, and found ourselves in Furano, a small town surrounded by nature and mountains, and famous for it's winter skiing, summer lavender fields, and fresh dairy. When we went, we also didn't plan very well and didn't know what we wanted to do, but we spotted a tour of a dairy farm on our brochure, and decided to give it a try. In order to get a tour, you have to call and make an appointment in Japanese, but we were able to do it and get a personal experience making ice cream from scratch. We later went to Tottori, where because we could communicate with the owner, we went blueberry picking and got free yogurt at the end of it. The owner even gave us a ride back to the station because she was so tickled we could speak to her.
Japan in general is an amazingly fun country to explore, but without knowing the language there are a good amount of things that are barred off to you. Going through this program is a really unique opportunity that helps open up a lot of opportunities and interactions with real people you wouldn't otherwise have gotten.
On the art side, the art school you go to, Osaka University of the Arts, has a beautiful campus, and really friendly teachers. It is in south Osaka, which doesn't have a lot of foreigners, so it's easy to feel out of place if you don't look Japanese. I took printmaking. Hora-sensei is very sweet, but will only speak to you in English. The print-making itself was interesting for me because that's not my major so I had to experiment and learn how to do it from scratch, so perhaps if you are already far along with printmaking proficiency, the class will feel more like an open studio because there is not very strict direction. It might help to come into the class with an idea for a project.

What would you improve about this program?
The housing situation for AICAD students gets a little dicey, because you might have to choose between living close to Osaka Gakuin University (where you have Japanese classes and where all the roommates are) and possibly being closer to Osaka University of the Arts, which would cut down the two hour commute there and back every day, but might cut you off socially from the rest of the CET group. As it was, once the AICAD students started to go to art classes, we already felt a bit cut off because the days we were at class, we were too far away to attend most of the programming.
The program is also working to move away from its current landlords, which is a step in a much better direction, as the past landlords were very eccentric and had a few unreasonable standards and penalties if anything were to happen to the rooms. The overcharge for rent you might have to pay also varies from house to house, as some of the houses were older or had separate kitchens and sucked up more energy, forcing you to have to pay more than if you were in a different house.
Default avatar
Ida
6/10
No, I don't recommend this program

AICAD in Japan

This semester was a bit strange for everyone, myself included. The third level class was too large, consisting of half of the program's students. Many people were unhappy and were bombarded with a large amount of busywork. There were also very few organized events for the duration of the entire program, so many students rarely got to interact with the other students, and even the Japanese roommates.

For those other art students, specifically printmakers and animators, this is not the ideal program for creating art. Only plate lithography for printmaking and glassblowing were available this semester. Being an international student, they limit the classes you're allowed to take, especially if you have no prior Japanese language experience. The art teachers were very nice though. But the classes you want to take may not be available.

The Japanese language portion of this program is the main focus, not the art. That said, most of the time will be dedicated to learning Japanese. The Japanese language teachers I had were very lovely, patient, and knowledgable. The best part of the program was the language portion, even if the assignments were tedious at times.

The program itself was not organized well, communication was very last-minute for a majority of the time, leaving both students and faculty confused. Peoples' personal problems were also not handled properly, if not, taken care of too late. Unhelpful, nosy, and somewhat deceitful head staff became bothersome, leaving everyone on edge in the learning environment.

CET's Japan programs also focus heavily on the roommates, but many of the roommates were too busy to dedicate the necessary amount of time to the program.

That said, this was only my experience, and the program will change each semester. Take from this as you would like.

What would you improve about this program?
Sept 2020: I cannot edit my initial review, but I've wanted to write my takeaways and other notes five years later.
The AICAD in Japan program is meant to be experienced during the spring semester, it is nearly double the length and the schedule is much more manageable, especially for those with little-to-no Japanese skills. The only reason you should go in the fall is if you can’t go in spring, can’t afford to, or do not wish to spend that long abroad. This review is for the fall semester that I experienced.

Japanese language was the morning-afternoon M-F, and at the beginning of the semester, you made the decision of how many times you went to Osaka University of Arts(OUA). I chose three days each week, so Tue-Thur directly after Japanese language, I would commute to OUA. This was one of the key differences between fall and spring, with the spring providing the classes at different parts of the year so they would not coincide as much, allowing for more free time. For the last month and a half or so of language learning, the lessons were so fast it made it very difficult to retain the information we were learning. However, the professors were extremely kind and understanding.

One of the biggest parts of the program was its roommate pairing. I unfortunately got a horrible roommate who paid as little attention to me as possible, laughed at my small mistakes when helping with homework, and would hang out with other American students but never me. I was a chore to her. I complained about her in the latter part of the semester and she apologized, but this didn’t change anything. I should have known she didn’t like me when all the other Japanese students would say hi to me and talk with me, but my roommate would barely engage. So if you have any issue with roommates, don't be afraid to speak up. Remember that you're paying for this experience, so anything you let slide only hurts yourself. Thankfully there was another Japanese roommate in my house, she was very kind and always took a little extra time out of her busy life to help me. This is probably the part of my experience that makes me the saddest, even to this day it makes me feel bitter.

I took this study abroad as the time to try my absolute hardest to be as social as possible and learn as much as possible. And I know I did as best as I could, but the program fell short on keeping some Japanese students active with the program, helping American students with issues, and creating a healthy work/life balance. There was little trust between the resident director and the students, which in turn caused a lot of friction. If I had gone during the spring semester, I may have had a completely different experience. I know all of the faculty are different now, so remember that his is a review of the past.

I will end this on a positive note, CET’s programming were the best moments in the program. Excursions, weekend trips, activities they planned, those were fun because you got to interact with all of the American and Japanese students that you might not see as often, go different places, and experience Japan. I’d definitely recommend eating out as often as you’d like. It can end up far cheaper, easier, and more enjoyable than cooking in. My friendships made from this program are limited, but because I knew that this was happening and not likely to change, I took many solo trips, and I’d recommend getting out as much as possible. Remember that you shape your experience with your own hands.
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My initial review was filled with fresh wounds and I cannot edit it. Please take from it with a grain of salt.
Default avatar
Kimly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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