I attended my first Online Pre-departure Orientation the other day. It was actually really hi-techy and cool because the conference call occurred over the Internet. 20 other students from different areas in the US attended, and the Director of the Japan CIEE program who led this orientation session was in Japan. The concept of how small and accessible different areas of the world are really hit me during this presentation. The presentation covered all the main topics: Location, living situation, the university campus, special events, transportation, academics, clubs etc. This slew of information made me so excited that I had trouble sleeping that night. Less than a week to go. And the countdown officially begins.
So you may be wondering….
Why did I choose to study at Sophia University?
Sophia University is a prestigious university located in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. I knew that improving my Japanese was my first priority so the intensive Japanese learning program caught my eye at once. Then there was also the question of whether I wanted to live in a big city or in a rural area, go to a school with a large or small student population, commute to school or live on campus, go in the fall or the spring… ahh so many different options! I knew that no matter which place I chose, I would still have a unique and brilliant study abroad experience. I guess a part of me just wanted it to match up with my ideal expectations. Tokyo was my first choice and a small part of me knew that I wanted to go there no matter what happens.
I actually made a pros and cons list for every school that I was interested in going to. For Sophia University, the pros list I had written contained “host family experience”, “language intensive program” and “multicultural city”. In contrast to this, “EXPENSIVE!!” in bold red letters highlighted the top of my cons section. Study abroad returnees warned me that I should be prepared to spend around $3000 to $5000 while living in Tokyo. YIKES! However, thanks to my work-study award, other scholarships and help from my parents, this problem was solved. One advice to people who want to study abroad but can’t afford it is…. APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS!!
Here are some helpful study abroad scholarship websites:
1.Freeman Awards for Study in Asia. Awards up to $5000 for one semester. Link: *http://www.iie.org/en/programs/freeman-asia*
- Boren Scholarship. Awards up to $10,000 for a semester. In order to receive this scholarship, applicants must demonstrate how their study abroad experience will help U.S national security. Link: *http://www.borenawards.org/program*
- CIEE Global Access Initiative. Awards up to $5000 for one semester. Students must be studying abroad with CIEE receive it. Link: *http://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/scholarships/gain/*
(please remove the * sign)
Extra fun facts =)
Sophia University is also known as “Jouchi Daigaku (上智大学), which means “University of Higher Wisdom”.
It was established in 1913 and founded based on the teachings of Jesuit missionaries who came to Japan to spread the word of the gospel.
The spring semester begins in April and ends at the end of July. The autumn semester starts in September and ends in February.
There are 10,528 undergraduate students and 7% of the student population is composed of International students.
The main campus located in Yotsuya is situated in a historically rich area right next to the Chiyoda castle, which is also known as the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
This year is the 100th anniversary!