AICAD in Japan

Video and Photos


Seeking to challenge yourself as an artist in a new context? The AICAD in Japan program is for students from schools within the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). Studio Arts courses give you the tools you need to expand your portfolio. Japanese language courses, area studies courses, and local roommates all provide support to help you thrive in this new environment. Students of all Japanese language levels and AICAD schools are welcome.

Questions & Answers


based on 3 reviews
  • Academics 8
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 7.7
  • Housing 8.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
Default avatar

AICAD in Japan

I was an AICAD student studying in Japan from January to August of 2016. Some of my most favorite memories in my life right now are from my months in Japan: learning and being able to finally speak Japanese, adventuring, connecting with Japanese roommates and other study abroad students, and experiencing a new way of life. Japan has so much to offer and I feel I was definitely able to make the most of my time. That being said, you can also end up only going to classes, never talking to your roommate, and only experiencing the activities the program schedules on field trips, so if you want the most out of the experience, it is important to be proactive.
I came into the program knowing very limited Japanese. There a far amount of English on signage around Japan, but honestly not many people speak English, so the entire experience is really being immersed in a Japanese only environment. At first, I couldn't speak it, and the first day I had a lot of challenges communicating with my roommate, who spoke very limited English. That being said, even by about two months into the program, I was able to get to a level of proficiency where I was able to stay with a non-English speaking family with minimal trouble. At the end of the program, the amount I was able to understand and speak really astounded me.
Being able to learn the language while we explored the country open up a lot of unique opportunities, too. Many of the most interesting activities that you can do are only advertised in Japanese, or are hosted by regular non-English speaking Japanese. My friend and I made our way up to Hokkaido for one of our breaks, and found ourselves in Furano, a small town surrounded by nature and mountains, and famous for it's winter skiing, summer lavender fields, and fresh dairy. When we went, we also didn't plan very well and didn't know what we wanted to do, but we spotted a tour of a dairy farm on our brochure, and decided to give it a try. In order to get a tour, you have to call and make an appointment in Japanese, but we were able to do it and get a personal experience making ice cream from scratch. We later went to Tottori, where because we could communicate with the owner, we went blueberry picking and got free yogurt at the end of it. The owner even gave us a ride back to the station because she was so tickled we could speak to her.
Japan in general is an amazingly fun country to explore, but without knowing the language there are a good amount of things that are barred off to you. Going through this program is a really unique opportunity that helps open up a lot of opportunities and interactions with real people you wouldn't otherwise have gotten.
On the art side, the art school you go to, Osaka University of the Arts, has a beautiful campus, and really friendly teachers. It is in south Osaka, which doesn't have a lot of foreigners, so it's easy to feel out of place if you don't look Japanese. I took printmaking. Hora-sensei is very sweet, but will only speak to you in English. The print-making itself was interesting for me because that's not my major so I had to experiment and learn how to do it from scratch, so perhaps if you are already far along with printmaking proficiency, the class will feel more like an open studio because there is not very strict direction. It might help to come into the class with an idea for a project.

What would you improve about this program?
The housing situation for AICAD students gets a little dicey, because you might have to choose between living close to Osaka Gakuin University (where you have Japanese classes and where all the roommates are) and possibly being closer to Osaka University of the Arts, which would cut down the two hour commute there and back every day, but might cut you off socially from the rest of the CET group. As it was, once the AICAD students started to go to art classes, we already felt a bit cut off because the days we were at class, we were too far away to attend most of the programming.
The program is also working to move away from its current landlords, which is a step in a much better direction, as the past landlords were very eccentric and had a few unreasonable standards and penalties if anything were to happen to the rooms. The overcharge for rent you might have to pay also varies from house to house, as some of the houses were older or had separate kitchens and sucked up more energy, forcing you to have to pay more than if you were in a different house.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

AICAD in Japan

This semester was a bit strange for everyone, myself included. The third level class was too large, consisting of half of the program's students. Many people were unhappy and were bombarded with a large amount of busywork. There were also very few organized events for the duration of the entire program, so many students rarely got to interact with the other students, and even the Japanese roommates.

For those other art students, specifically printmakers and animators, this is not the ideal program for creating art. Only plate lithography for printmaking and glassblowing were available this semester. Being an international student, they limit the classes you're allowed to take, especially if you have no prior Japanese language experience. The art teachers were very nice though. But the classes you want to take may not be available.

The Japanese language portion of this program is the main focus, not the art. That said, most of the time will be dedicated to learning Japanese. The Japanese language teachers I had were very lovely, patient, and knowledgable. The best part of the program was the language portion, even if the assignments were tedious at times.

The program itself was not organized well, communication was very last-minute for a majority of the time, leaving both students and faculty confused. Peoples' personal problems were also not handled properly, if not, taken care of too late. Unhelpful, nosy, and somewhat deceitful head staff became bothersome, leaving everyone on edge in the learning environment.

CET's Japan programs also focus heavily on the roommates, but many of the roommates were too busy to dedicate the necessary amount of time to the program.

That said, this was only my experience, and the program will change each semester. Take from this as you would like.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar

CET Intensive Japanese Language Study Abroad In Osaka

Hello. If you are reading this you are probably considering studying abroad in Japan. Congratulations, because this is a good place to be in.

Studying abroad in Japan is a remarkable experience and if you feel that you as a person are up for it I highly recommend it. Everyone who goes abroad will have a different experience but I can assure you that it will be challenging at times, it will be frustrating, it will be lonely, but it will also be incredibly beautiful. Also having CET to help you out isn't a bad thing either.

So, good luck to you future travelers and enjoy your time abroad!

What would you improve about this program?
There where times where I felt that the rigor of the academics got in the way of the experience. I was going to Japan as an art student hoping to take art classes (which I did) but I was surprised at how intense the academics where when I first arrived. That being said, after some time I was able to manage my time far easier and enjoy Japanese life as well as the academic life.
Yes, I recommend this program

About CET Academic Programs

CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio...