Goodbye! Reviewing IES Tokyo

Tiffany Sun
January 13, 2017

The title speaks for itself, as usual! Thank you all for sticking with me and watching my vlogs and reading my posts. I really do hope they are useful or at least entertaining for future study abroad students! As my last post, I wanted to talk about IES Abroad Tokyo as a program. Obviously, this might sound contrived, coming from a published blog post from the IES Abroad Program itself, but actually, let me be the first to say that IES Abroad has no say in the content that I write (aside from occasionally correcting grammatical errors and additionally having guidelines that prohibit using profanity and doing dangerous or possibly illegal activities), thus I could call them poo-poo heads and no one would stop me. Not that I would actually call them poo-poo heads or anything. I digress.

I must say, IES Abroad Tokyo has been one of the greatest programs of my life. I do attribute this also to my fellow students who took the same program as I did, as they contributed so much to my learning, social awareness, and safety. Of course, as with any program with Americans in it, there was a fair amount of drama, and I personally believe it is impossible to like everyone in such a large group of people. However, this is no fault of the program. Regardless, the friends that I made were a significant part of my positive experience, and every group of students will differ. What will stay the same, on the other hand, is the staff, which are the kindest, most dedicated, hardworking teams I have ever met in my life. Shoutouts to Caleb-san, Lee-san, Ishikawa-san, Shin-san, and Takahashi-san for being so on the ball during the semester, helping us whenever we needed, and making this program so smooth-running and incredible. I sometimes just sit back and remain amazed by how a small team of people can efficiently take care of so many students at once, but they truly care for everyone that comes through their doors, and make the program what it is.

I'm highlighting features of the program that may make it stand out from other programs, as well--the first being the field placement. There's actually no Japanese requirement for this, and while it is technically preferred, you really can learn as you go, as I had friends that took it with almost no Japanese knowledge. I recommend this SO MUCH. It's essentially a cultural exchange in the form of an internship, where you get placed in a company in an industry you have interest in, and get to communicate with people who aren't necessarily just college students, and learn in a business setting. This was such an important experience for me, and if you're dedicated to it, you will learn so much about Japan, and they will probably learn a lot from you.

Another feature is simply the help you are provided. If you have a problem or even the slightest inquiry, the IES Abroad Tokyo team is there to search things up and help you if you're feeling lost. Obviously, do research first, but anything from homestays (or dormstays), to being sick, to "is it polite to eat in public on the subway," to travel plans, they've got your back. Additionally, the e-Pal program that they have with KUIS allows you to join the KUIS community with ease and meet more friends this way, and break the social awkwardness that would come from just being thrust alone into a Japanese university. Actually, this e-Pal program was such a highlight of IES Abroad Tokyo--being able to be paired up with a Japanese student from KUIS and talking to them before arrival, then hanging out with them, joining the KUIS community, making new friends, and having this new community of people to talk to was such as blessing.

I'd also say the field trips were the BOMB. I already mentioned them in the video, but wouldn't want to give too much away, since if you do decide to take the program, it ought to be a surprise! We also had a student council, that got to plan field trips and had a budget, and we did some student input and decided as a group where we wanted to go! We went to places like the Ghibli Museum, Mt. Takao hiking, movie nights, the Snoopy Museum, and best of all tickets and transportation were covered! The ability to affect the program as an individual and being able to contribute to making field trip plans and such is also so amazing, and I really appreciated it. I really can't say anymore!

This post has already gone on so long. As a parting note, I should mention that IES Abroad Chicago, which you have to go through before you have any contact with IES Abroad Tokyo, can be a little disorganized, as sometimes they do not answer emails/calls and other mishaps do happen, but I emphasize my confidence that nothing major should occur, and it is most definitely worth it to get to IES Abroad Tokyo at the end. Also, try the blogging program! I admit it can be quite a chore, but now I have things to look back on from my experience here and also, hopefully, $200 haha.

Anyways, thank you guys again for sticking around with me! I had a great time at IES Abroad Tokyo, and will definitely be going to Japan again, so it's not the last of my adventures. See you guys around!

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Tiffany Sun

<p>Live every day to the fullest! I&#39;m a proud Eph of Williams College, travelling around Tokyo and wherever else Japan may take me! I hope you&#39;ll stick around to see what I do, whether it&#39;s eating my weight in food or crying over my tests. Trust me, I&#39;ll be doing plenty of both.</p>

2016 Fall
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