1 week immersion course based in US - worthwhile?

After a few years of self-study I am thinking of doing a one-week, full-time immersion program at a local language school. Because I don’t practice speaking very much, I thought it might be useful. It’s also something I think I’d like to do in advance of going to Japan.

I have misgivings. It’s expensive and it’s only a week. How much can I really pick up / solidify in a week? I can also tell I’m going to feel pretty deflated when I show up to class and have to reckon with my in-person communication ability given the intense amount of time I’ve spent studying this language (I have almost entirely focused on reading). Perhaps it’s better to experience that with a teacher in the US then on a trip to Japan? But the financial resources could also be put to other uses…

If anyone has tried something like this, I’d appreciate your input.

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@JupiterTomato Perhaps you could weigh in here?

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Actually, I want you to try it.
What you should try to understand behind the scenes is what exactly makes you learn-- how does learning come to you personally? Kinesthetic, visual, auditory… because learning this language to fluency might be a combination of two! The longer you go isolating yourself in just one division of learning, the harder it is going to be to overcome the growing realm of what you don’t know, ready to clash with the world of what you do know.

Basically, you’re going to struggle. It’s going to be hard, but everyone else might be pretty encouraging too.
What you are going to need to do is trust your true self! It will rescue you.

Whatever you choose, I wish you all the best!

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I worked summers for several years as a counselor at a Japanese immersion camp in Minnesota and I highly recommend immersion programs!

A week may at first seem like a short amount of time, but in an immersive teaching environment you will get A LOT out of just 7 days.

Since you mention having concerns over the gap between your reading ability and speaking skills I think immersion teaching would be extremely helpful. It will very quickly get you over that initial fear and anxiety over speaking/participating actively in the language.

When I was in high school (long time ago now lol) I went on just a single weekend trip to the immersion camp that I later ended up working at, and it was absolutely amazing. Getting to eat meals, do games and activities, learn more language, and talk with my friends ALL in Japanese for just a few days was an unforgettable experience for me.

One of the best things that being in an immersion environment can offer is a sort of “comfort level” with making mistakes. As you learn a new language, you will absolutely be making a lot of mistakes, and we naturally are afraid to do that normally! Whenever I think of my fear of being wrong now though, I think of this lovely video that Koichi made about learning Japanese as a race to make mistakes. He does a really good job of explaining it in the video:

Japanese fluency is just a race to see who can make the most mistakes first

In short, if you can afford the tuition to the program, it will likely be an absolutely amazing experience that will catapult your Japanese ability forward in a way that is nearly impossible outside of physically being in Japan.

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Thanks for the replies. I feel encouraged!

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