Learning Japanese in Japan
How about learning Japanese right in Japan? Motivist, an agency for foreign students willing to study in Japan, and partner of Japan-Activator, gives you an answer to most of your questions before leaving for a unique experience in your life. Don't hesitate to ask other questions at the end of the article, or to contact them directly.
How old should I be to come study in Japan?
From 18 years old (16 years old for some schools, for short-term programs).
Do I need to be a student to apply to a Japanese language school?
Not at all! Some people in their 40’s, 50’s and even older come learn Japanese in Japan!
What’s the duration of the course?
From one week to 2 years, everything is possible.
What if I am a beginner?
As you are a Japan Activator user, you are not a beginner anymore, are you? ^^ Yes beginners are accepted, though some schools require that students know hiragana before they start. Obviously we can only encourage you to have at least basic skills.
Do I need to have graduated from High School to enroll at a Japanese language school?
It is not necessary if you come from an OECD country (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc …).
How long does it take to become fluent?
It depends on each person. How fast you learn, how thoroughly you do your homework etc. If you don’t skip class and if you follow your teachers’ advice, within a year you will be able to hold a casual conversation in Japanese. Within 18 months you can pass the JLPT N2.
What is the JLPT?
This is the most common exam to assess Japanese language skills. N5 is the first level. N2 is the level that is usually required to go to a vocational school or apply for a working visa. N1 is the literary level, sometimes required to go to University or apply on highly qualified jobs.
Please describe a Japanese language program?
From Monday to Friday, either on the morning or on the afternoon, you will have class for about 3 hours. Speaking, understanding, writing, reading. A complete curriculum. Every day you will have homework for at least 1 hour (lots of Kanji writing!). The school will organize activities and excursions to discover Japan and to entertain students. Festivals, museums, manga studio visits, tea ceremony, cooking Japanese, wearing Kimono … and many other events …
Are there specific courses to prepare to go to a Japanese university or to look for a job in Japan?
Yes schools prepare their students for life after the language course. For example, in order to go to a Japanese university, you must take an exam called EJU. So you will be able to attend an elective course to prepare for that exam.
Will I be placed in a class that matches my skills?
Yes, you will. When you arrive, you will take a placement test. Regularly, you will take a test to assess your progress.
After my Japanese language course, will I be able to stay in Japan?
Once your course is completed, your student visa will be not be in effect anymore. New student visa if you go to higher education? Work visa if you find a Japanese company willing to hire you? Other options? It will depend on a number of things, mostly your Japanese language skills but also your academic background.
Will I get a diploma from the school?
Yes you will if your attendance rate is higher than 80%.
How much does it cost?
It depends on schools and on cities. On average, the tuition fee is equivalent to about Euro 450/US$ 550/GBP 400 per month.
Will I be able to work part-time in Japan?
If you study 6 months or more, you will have a student visa. That will give you the right to work up to 28 hours per week. That will cover the rent, food, going out (with a bit of restraint!).
Is it difficult to find a part-time job?
It is actually quite easy because Japan lacks has demographic issues and lacks labor-force. But keep in mind that the higher your Japanese language skills will be, the more qualified your work will be. Yet another reason to study as much as possible prior to going to Japan!
What type of accommodations can I expect in Japan?
It depends on your budget. Students often live in share-houses. You have your own room (with a roommate if you need to reduce your budget) and you share the bathroom, restrooms, kitchen etc … For about Euro 250/US$ 300/GBP 200 per month. In some cities (definitely not in Tokyo), you can have your own studio for Euro 350/US$ 400/GBP 300 per month.
Is home-stay an option?
Yes it is and it is highly recommended! Best way to progress faster. Full immersion guaranteed! What students usually do is that they spend 2 to 3 months in a family before they live on their own.
How can I register to a Japanese language school?
Hundreds of questions about life in Japan, choosing the school, register, prepare the visa application ... That can be quite overwhelming. This is why Motivist Japan can help you. This is an agency that is located in Chiba, near Tokyo. They take care of everything for their students and their services are free. They will assist you for every step including while you are in Japan. Contact them by email, chat or phone (8 hours of time difference) and an English-speaking counselor will get back to you quickly.
When can I enroll in a Japanese language program?
For short-term programs, pretty much anytime (conditions will vary from school to school). For long-term programs (3+ months), there are usually 4 intakes: January, April, July and October. Keep in mind that the student visa application takes a few months. So for example to start in October, March and April is the time to apply.
Please contact Motivist Japan if you need any information, or simply ask your questions here.
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