Center Director’s Welcome to Kyoto & CIEE!

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CIEE Kyoto


Hajimemashite (nice to meet you) everyone! 

My name is Conor Aherne and I have the pleasure of leading the wonderful team at CIEE Kyoto. I’ve been in Japan for ten years, eight of those in Japan’s modern capital, Tokyo, and the past two in the Ancient Capital, Kyoto. Like many of you, I studied abroad in 2012 at a university in Tokyo and wow, what an experience it was! I also went to graduate school in Japan. I specialize in pre-modern Japanese history and I have a particular interest in the history of this beautiful city, Kyoto. 



Before I joined this incredible organization, I managed a consulting company and worked with Japanese and international organizations to develop the cross-cultural communication skills of their employees. During your on-site Orientation in Kyoto, we’ll talk about some of the challenges of intercultural communication you’ll likely experience during your time here and how to develop skills that will help you overcome these challenges. I am incredibly lucky that I get to both share my passion for Japanese history and cross-cultural communication with so many CIEE Kyoto students! 



Here's a not-so-fun-fact about me: I’m not very fun! I enjoy order, routine and low-adrenaline-type activities such as reading non-fiction, weight training at the gym and gaming (Zelda is a personal fave!). I do, though, like running and you’ll find me pounding the streets of Kyoto most nights in preparation for 10k races or marathons! I owe you at least one fun fact: I love river otters. If you do too, you need to come to Kyoto and visit the Loutre Otter Café just ten minutes from the CIEE Kyoto Center (picture included!). 


Kyoto is, in my opinion, the most beautiful city in Japan (and ranks highly among all the cities I’ve visited!). And, as a history buff, it’s paradise, but here are three sites you absolutely have to visit: 1) Kifune & Kurama Temple. These beautiful mountain villages are just a train ride from downtown Kyoto and you can hike between the two locations year-round. If you’re lucky, you might spot a monkey! 2) Kamo River. There’s nothing like a summer’s picnic on the side of Kyoto’s famous river! 3) Kodaiji Temple. Nene, Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s wife, built this temple, and the surrounding street, in dedication to the warlord. Kodaiji is particularly beautiful during the Autumn foliage season, when the leaves are lit from below! 


On behalf of everyone at CIEE Kyoto, we can’t wait to welcome you to our beautiful city on a program soon!