Studying abroad in Tokyo ain’t all its cracked up to be.

A reader passed along an article that appeared in the Temple News, which looks to be a student-run newspaper for the university.

It says, “studying abroad in Tokyo comes with fine print”, and that Temple Japan isn’t exactly the institution that the rah-rah crowd make it out to be.

A lot of the article goes to cultural adjustments you have to make when you live in Japan, which, as person who put in five years there, I can tell you very few young people seem to have a problem with.

The hassles about renting and finding an academic crowd to hang around wtih might be bigger difficulties.

But the primary difficulty seems to be getting worthwhile classes, which is what you ordinarily attend a college for, right? (I am right about that, right?)

Here is the Money Quote:

“I’m used to Main Campus and a million classes to choose from,” Furukawa said. “Some of the Japan-admit kids were saying it’s hard to get the classes they need to graduate on time, so apparently it’s a common feeling. Of my four classes this semester, three of them were basically jokes.

(Emphasis added.)

Seventy-five percent of a semester schedule, basically jokes.


I wonder what one class was the one that wasn’t a joke.

I know exactly what’s wrong with Temple Japan. It’s that it isn’t a joint venture with a Japanese university (where the Japanese government, and not Pennsylvania, is paying the rent.) The classes as the school is structured are always going to be jokes, because the whole premise of the operation is to take American classes in a Tokyo environment.

I know there are those TUJ successes who are going to come back at me on this, but usually they talk about specific, relatively small numbers of good happenings, while I am trying to look at the overall picture.

You can easily rearrange Temple Japan into something else and still have the success stories. You just don’t need to hide where the rent for the facilities comes from in order to do it.

I know Waseda runs a year abroad program with Syracuse University (New York), which is highly regarded for what it does. Why can’t Temple Japan ask to set up in some space at one of the Tokyo universities, or ICU, or some other better-established facility, and offer a credible curriculum? Not one that overemphasizes the fact that you are taking American college credit classes in the “Tokyo environment”, (with not enough capable expats around to teach the classes . . . )

I hope that Pennsylvania’s new Corbett Administration appoints someone to the 34-member Temple board of directors who will finally ask the tough questions. As I keep saying, it’s really not a lot to ask.