May 12, 2007 1:48 AM

Study Abroad Q&A I

Q: I'm thinking of going my sophomore year, what do you think?
A: The problem with Japan is that the deadline is early compared to most other countries. I'm glad that you're thinking early.There's a great program in Japan that is only for people in their sophomore year, so you may want to look at that. The deadline is in early November compared to Jan for countries like England. I had wanted to study abroad off in my sophomore year, but I missed the application deadline. Also, I just wasn't too sure I was mature enough to take care of myself. Also, if you're a science major, you'll have a difficult time taking your science classes in Japan. Nothing is going to transfer into my major for me because there just isn't suitable equivalents that I can take with my basic Japanese.

Q: How hard was it for you to apply?
A: Quite easy, slightly tedious. Writing the essay was the hard part. It's not difficult, but get someone to proofread it. Also, you need a recommendation. Since the deadline is early for the Japan program, you may not be able to get a recommendation from a professor to submit. Thus, if you're thinking of it while you're still a H.S. senior, go online, print out the recc. form, and ask your teacher to write one for you. When I actually did apply, I got a recc. from my academic advisor/past prof. I had done well in his class, so that was helpful too.

Q: Was Japan your first choice?
A: You can only apply for one country at a time. To apply to multiple countries, you need to get special permission. It's probably not too difficult to get. I wasn't interested in other countries. However, you do get to put down three choices for which program within the country you desire to attend. I did get my first choice. If you want to switch later, it may be possible. I switched my first choice a couple weeks before the program assignments came out and they were able to accomodate me. (I had applied for Tsukuba (only has dorm housing), but I decided that I wanted to homestay, so I switched to ICU).

Q: How expensive will it be for you?
A: The budget, if I go for dorm housing, will be about $17,000. For private housing (ex. homestays), it would be about $28,000. With financial aid, you won't be work study when you go abroad so all that will become 'fun' loans. In a good way, if I go for dorm housing (which is my first choice) the budget is about the same as a year in Berkeley. Also note that I'm on the ICU program which has mandatory summer school in Japan, so subtract a couple thousand for the summer program.

If anyone has anymore questions, just leave it in the comment box.

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