That Thing Called Summer School
Most of the posts made to the blog have been about the amazing things we've all seen/done, mainly because there are so many cool things to do while here in Japan. However, another aspect of the CIEE program is that participants have to take classes for the duration of the program, and I feel like this deserves some illumination as well.
If you've looked at either the CIEE or Sophia University website, you know that each student has to sign up for two classes for the 4 weeks of the program. Classes run from 8:30am - 1pm and everyone is in class at the same time, which means everyone is also out of class at the same time. That the classes are early lends the rest of the day to further Tokyo exploration or Sophia University cultural events. (I've actually managed to do both on some days.)
So it doesn't take up much time, excluding the fact that there is homework to be done for most classes. However, I basically wanted to strees the importance of picking class you find interesting and that fit your overall plan for your Japan stay. For instance, if you would prefer exploring Japan than studying for class, I wouldn't recommend taking a language course. They move fast and require a good bit of studying to stay on top of it. Of course, some other participants may disagree with me, but this is also be dependent on the level of Japanese language knowledge each person enters the program with. On that note, I know Sophia's website recommends taking 2B with 1 or 2 semesters of Japanese, but I would say you actually need about 2 years of it. Just a suggestion from my experience.
Interest in the subject is also important because, despite where it is, class is still class. And class can be boring, whether that be because of the teacher or personal interest. I am currently taking Japanese 2B and Contemporary Japanese Society, and while I am interested in both subjects, I sometimes find Society boring because of the teaching style. However, I still learn and I'm not (always) bored simply because I do find the subject interesting.
This is not to discourage anyone from either of these classes or any others, but this is a part of the program and you have to attend these classes 6 days a week. It's better and easier if you actually like them, especially if you intend to receive credit for them at your home school.