I’m a new user here and I moved to Japan two months ago with the intention of studying Japanese. Unfortunately, I have not joined a Japanese school yet because it’s a little bit expensive. I was planning on joining in a few months when I saved up, but recently I’m thinking maybe meetups and stuff would be better and more valuable?
Anybody have any advice on whether or not Japanese school is useful? For some context, I already have JLPTN4 and I’m just looking to reach that extra step to become fluent.
From the perspective of living in Japan, being in a school doesn’t necessarily mean one’s effectiveness at mastery will improve. However, if one is already putting effort to study outside of a classroom, then school may enhance and bring structure to their studies. In other words, if you’re not organized/disciplined enough to structure your studies but still intend to take time outside of class to study Japanese (aside from completing class assignments), school may benefit you by providing structure and a controlled environment to apply the concepts you are learning.
I personally didn’t invest in going to a language school, but I’ve being going to my local community center to help me with my Japanese studies. I do consider those classes invaluable to my self-studies because I have guaranteed interactions with native speakers plus the lessons supplement areas that my self-study lack. I found that those lessons along with my informal meetups and conversation exchanges to be effective for me.
In any event, if you do decide to enroll in classes be sure to continue studying content independent of your classes to push you further ahead if your goal is some form of mastery. Since you’ve been in Japan for a couple months I’m sure you might have noticed the challenges you face with learning the language because it’s totally possible to live here with basic Japanese skills. I wish you the best with your studies.
I initially did some classes when I started, and for me, it just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t find myself motivated, since I was effectively being steered through learning the language. All I needed to do was sit back and do what work was put in front of me. Classes do have their advantages though. You have a great place to do speaking practice, and you can get active feedback from your teacher. Again, it just depends on the kind of person you are. I got more done in 2 weeks of self study than I did in 3 months of classes. And I didn’t need to pay anything to teach myself.
If there is one thing I really did appreciate from school, it was the structure it gave me. I did a lot of self studying before school, but going to school really helped me with learning grammar, and gave me more focus with what I should be studying.
But aside from that, there were things I totally hated.
I hated getting into groups and doing “role playing”. Personally, it never felt beneficial to me. Getting into groups and working together with people who were either better or worse then me, as we sloppily tried to put sentences together was an experience that I hated. I don’t want to be marked as a group. I want to be marked for my own Japanese ability.
Personally, I would just recommend a tutor. It’s much cheaper, and if you can find a good one it makes a world of a difference. I would even recommended getting more than one if you can. You also get A LOT more speaking practice, compared to taking a class. It’s just been a better experience for me.
Hi, I am looking at online tutors myself, once I have a few more levels under my belt, as it hardly seems worth it yet, Maybe level 10. There are numerous tutors who can do it through skype with varying prices and I have also seen this: https://www.nihongo-pro.com/
Which is similar to a skype lesson, but apparently “better” and more class-roomy than a regular skype lesson. I don’t know anyone who has used them so can’t comment. It seems they also have specific lessons for JLPT levels.
It would be good to hear any feedback, whichever route you choose.
Volunteer classes are great if you want to force yourself into a situation where people will be really supportive, want to help you learn, and only understand a little English. Quality can really vary, and I don’t really like to call them “lessons.” But they’re super cheap (like 200 yen for two hours usually), and it might also help you connect with the community, which could lead to other opportunities to practice down the road.