Japanese Language School >>Find Japanese Language SchoolsSimply visiting or living in Japan is a great experience, but if you have the time, studying Japanese can make your stay more fulfilling. Having even a loose grasp of the language can make the experience a little less intimidating as well. Fortunately, there are many Japanese language schools in Japan. The learning goals of individual Japanese language schools varies, so it's best to evaluate your priorities before beginning your search. Obviously, if you are a business person, it would probably be wise to find a school that focused on the use of Japanese in business situations. There are also schools specifically for students preparing to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. As with choosing any school, it's good to keep your own goals in mind as you search. Here are some general points to keep in mind.
Type of Japanese language schoolJapanese language schools are mainly divided into two types. The first is for foreign residents in Japan, while the second type is designed for those preparing to enter Japanese colleges. In case of the latter, the learning period is longer and because of that, the enrollment procedure is more complicated. For example, students are required to obtain a student visa, and some schools have GPA requirements. As you may know, if you're an American staying in Japan for under ninety days, there is no visa requirement to enter Japan. Some schools cater to this ninety day period, and it's not unusual to find schools that arrange their semesters in ninety day intervals. If you're interested in this kind of short term study, it's best to research a few schools on the Internet and then contact them to find out when their semesters begin.
Points to choose a school >>Find Japanese Language Schools
Course / ProgramAs you might expect, courses vary from school to school, however you'll typical find that most schools have both daily conversation courses and business courses. Methods and learning environments also vary greatly. Consider whether you're better suited to a fast-paced, intensive environment or one where you can absorb new information slowly. There are schools that cater to students interested in both. Generally, it's possible to find a school that closely meets your needs if you define your goals clearly and put a little effort into the search.
Class TypeThere are also different kinds of class formats. Some schools utilize classroom settings, while others are held in more casual environments. If you've taken Japanese classes at the University level in another country, you can expect the environment to be different in Japan. Most of the time, classes are capped at around five students, so classes are smaller and more intensive. As such, it's not unusual to find classes held in a living room. Again, the optimal environment and class structure depends entirely on you.
Group lessonsThere are two main class styles to consider. The first, group lessons, offer several benefits. Fore mostly, they're cheaper compared to private lessons. Also, since people from many different countries come to Japan to study, you can interact with people from other cultures. This in and of itself can be an exciting and enlightening experience. However, you'll probably receive less personal attention, and you probably won't have as much time to speak in class. Conversely, it can be helpful to listen to other people who are learning at your level. You might want to bear in mind that the syllabus in group classes is fixed, which means the class is less flexible and can't be tailored to one individual.
Private lessonsThe other main type of class comes in the form of private lessons. Obviously, these classes are highly customizable. You set the class time, pace, and level. The learning goals of the class are tailored specifically to you. While these benefits may be tempting for the freedom they permit, there are still some downsides. For one thing, private lessons are fairly expensive. For another thing, since these lessons are self motivated, it's easy to get distracted with other things and put your lessons on the back burner.
Schedule >>Find Japanese Language SchoolsOn that note, you should also consider the way that lessons are scheduled. Many schools operate on a strict schedule. The more formal the learning environment, the stricter the scheduling will be. If you’re comfortable with scheduling everything in advance, this is a good choice for you. This has benefits, of course. If the schedule is set in stone, it will be a fixed part of your routine, which will allow you to study more. However, if your business schedule is subject to frequent changes, you might be forced to skip class. Because of this inflexibility, some schools provide a system that allows to you to replace the class you missed with a predetermined class on another day. This system is not standard to all schools, however, so it's wise to ask in advance.
It's also possible at some schools to schedule class times by making a reservation. This system is very popular among business people. On the other hand, with this system it's easy to fall out of the habit of going to school or to develop a tendency to make class reservations at the last minute. In that regard, it is very important to keep in mind how much time you have to book, cancel, or reschedule your lessons.
How to pay tuition?As with any school, tuition is an important factor. There are several ways to pay your tuition, but two forms are common. First, you may purchase several lesson tickets (usually 10 or more) at a time. Second, you can pay your tuition monthly. If you go the route of purchasing lesson tickets, it reduces the unit cost of each class to buy them in bulk. However, these tickets have expiration dates, so you need to be aware of when they expire. Additionally, you should check the cancellation policy of the school to figure out how if you can get a refund if you have to drop the class. Some schools have strict policies, and it's uncommon for monthly tuition to be refunded for any reason.
TeacherThere are two common teaching systems available. In the first, the most familiar, the class is taught by only one teacher. There are several benefits to this system. Obviously, you be able to form a close relationship with your teacher, and your teacher will be able to track your progress daily. It's important to keep in mind that with this style, you get used to one teacher's pronunciation and modes of expression. In the second system, the class is taught by a different teacher everyday. There are also merits to this system. For one thing, you will get used to speaking with several Japanese people. Like English, Japanese pronunciation varies from person to person, and there are several different dialects. Thus, you can become accustomed to speaking with different people. In this system though, you might not be able to get as much personal attention.
Are you ready? Studying Japanese can make your life here more enjoyable and memorable. Use your Japanese as much as possible in different locations and in different situations! The Japanese who you speak with will definitely admire your effort.
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