Hello everyone! I’m back. This time, I wrote something as I got a writing prompt from a Japanese language learning forum chat and I thought it is good if I can share this here.
I studied for one and a half year in Kobe YMCA from basic to intermediate level (初級から中上級まで). I took a Japanese language course that it catered to foreign students trying to get in to a Japanese University. It’s basically a prep school. I was just there happy to learn Japanese as I live in Japan. The only downside: It’s expensive to be honest. But I learned a lot and made lot of friends from other countries (mostly Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese). I like that our classes are all in Japanese and the teachers will only speak to you in Japanese even if they can speak English. I think that’s the school policy. I became friends with some of the Japanese teachers too (not all though) as now I can just drop by to my former school even without any appointment just to say hello. I am still not that confident in receiving business calls but I can at least ask them some clarifications if I can’t understand. Going to the barber shop and restaurants has now become a test of language fluency aside from taking the JLPT (it means I still have a lot of things to learn, and also I flunked the N2 last December). Studying in the school has been very helpful to my reading skills as I can now read some manga and novels with confidence (at times with the help of a dictionary). Reading the newspaper is still a dreadful thing along with the many letters and notices from the local government which I have to ask a Japanese to read it with me. Committing lots of mistakes, being corrected, laughing at awkward moments, I think that’s a humbling and rewarding experience for me as I was even to the point of quitting but thankfully I didn’t. And finally, I was able to graduate last month! I am now confident using Japanese in my everyday life though I admit it’s still a long way to go. Just like my English as my second language, I will continue brushing up my Japanese as long as I am still alive. If you are planning to study in a Japanese University, Graduate Studies, or Technical Schools, I think it is a must since it not only prepares you in the language aspect (certificate, support in the taking of JLPT) but also a training ground or a cultural immersion of how it is like to pursue studies in Japan. They even coach you how to ace an interview be it a job interview or an entrance to a university interview. If you set your plans towards a specific school, you may ask the school to let you have a contact with an OB・OG (graduate) and let them talk to you as they will tell stories based on their own experience (struggles, study tips). No wasted moment for me. This is the ultimate language immersion program for me and I am glad I was able to study to a Japanese language school. This is a moment in my life worth treasuring.