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3 posts from October 2010


walking tour from yotsuya to the imperial palace

Earlier this month, CIEE students had the opportunity to join a walking tour of central Tokyo. Led by local Japanese guides, groups of four to five students walked from the Sophia University campus to the Imperial Palace, stopping by sights such as the Diet Building, Parliamentary Museum and Garden, and the government office area before passing through Sakuradamon to reach Nijubashi (double bridge) at the Imperial Palace.

Students enjoyed hearing about the history of the campus neighborhood from local residents, and were surprised to learn that Sophia University’s athletic fields occupy the former outer moat of the Imperial Palace.

This semester, tours were offered for three different levels of Japanese language skills. Students with advanced Japanese signed up for a tour that was conducted 80% in Japanese, while students with intermediate and beginning Japanese signed up for tours conducted in 50% and 20% Japanese, respectively. This chance for additional Japanese language practice was very well received by the participants.

Imperial palace 


fall semester is underway

Classes have now been in session for over a week, and the “course shopping” period has come to an end. CIEE students are able to choose between regular or intensive Japanese, and are placed according to level. Sophia’s Faculty of Liberal Arts offers a wide variety of classes in the humanities, social sciences and business, and all CIEE students take at least one class related to Japan. This fall, students could choose among courses such as “History of Japanese Foreign Relations,” “Japanese Religions” and “Management in Japan.”

One of the most rewarding parts of campus life in Japan is participation in student clubs and circles. Overseas students often say that joining a club is the best way to make Japanese friends. Clubs and circles popular with CIEE students include culture-related clubs such as ikebana (flower arrangement), tea ceremony and dance, as well as sports-related groups such as aikido and tennis. 

Club session 
During the orientation period, CIEE organized a club fair, where students had the opportunity to hear brief presentations by various clubs and circles.


welcome to japan

Yokoso and welcome to Japan! In mid-September students from colleges and universities across the United States joined us at the CIEE Study Center in Tokyo, Japan for fall semester orientation. CIEE students study in the Faculty of Liberal Arts (FLA) at Sophia University, a prestigious, private Japanese university in central Tokyo. 

During the two-week orientation period, CIEE students settled into their homestays and dormitories, and became acclimated to life in Japan. Learning to navigate the complex railway network (the greater Tokyo area has 136 individual rail lines with over 1,000 stations) before the first day of classes is often a student’s first goal. In addition to various orientation workshops and lectures on campus, CIEE students spent a day at a local Japanese elementary school and went on an excursion to Kamakura, home to many historically significant Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The highlight of the trip to Kamakura was a visit to Kotoku-in, renowned for its large, outdoor bronze Buddha.

Daibutsu fall 10 
Some of the other CIEE activities planned for fall semester include a taiko drum workshop, Yotsuya-Imperial Palace walking tour, Tokyo Bay-area bike tour, soba-making, Noh/Kyogen performances, and a weekend excursion to Hiroshima and Miyajima.