Language school students: What do you wish you knew (or did) when you started?

Hi everyone! In about two days, I’ll be heading to Kobe to start language school for about a year and a half. Before now, I spent three years teaching English and self-studying in Hokkaido, but I’d say my ability is around upper intermediate (I passed the N3 pretty easily). It’s funny that I’ve made it this far and yet I’m still incredibly nervous that I won’t succeed. :sweat_smile:

For anyone else that spent a long time intensively focused on studying Japanese—at university, a language school, or any other intensive program—what’s the one thing you wish you knew or habit you wish you’d have made from the very beginning?

If anyone else has started a similar study, let us know what you think and how it’s going! :grin: Hopefully we can help each other along the way!

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I’ve always been good at studying, but I always neglect(ed) kanji writing and speaking in favor of kanji reading and grammar.

It’s not been catastrophic, as I’m getting a bit more speaking practice now, in a better environment for that than just speaking by myself or finding an online tutor or whatever, but it’s a bit weird being able to understand basically up to N3 without issues, and not being able to write something like これは鉛筆です, even if I do understand it.

It takes a bit of legitimacy off if you’re trying to teach someone but don’t know everything there is to know.

I also know I was a bit harsh with my teachers in that regard, thinking, “You should know all this.”
And now I’m, “Man, how was this said? I’ve barely used it.” and most times it’s just a matter of searching stuff up and remembering it, not that you didn’t know it in the first place.

Something like that?

PS: Believe in yourself. If you study hard, it will show.

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This is exactly the weird position I’m in now too! I took the J-CAT as a placement test for my school and my numerical result was the exact lowest point of the N2 equivalent score…and yet I can’t express my own thoughts nearly to that level. So like I can understand a lot of written/spoken information, but it’s hard for me to put my own thoughts to words in the moment.

I’m hoping that’s something I’ll be able to address in a classroom/study everyday environment!

And thank you! I do know this deep down but for some reason I’ve been riddled with stress for the past day. Probably just mild anticipation-related unease. :joy:

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I’m currently studying at Japanese language school in Kyoto, and I picked location first and school second. And only as I started in studying did I realize, maybe two months or so into my 1-year (I’m now halfway done), that my personal focus for Japanese was to read it. Obviously since I am in Japan, speaking and listening is useful. But I don’t really care, and I have about zero use for being able to write Japanese with a pen/pencil.

So I’ve come to realize that I should have picked a school with reading as a focus (I’m not even sure those exist). If nothing else, I should have picked one that let us write with computers regularly. Aka, entirely skipping the mostly useless skill of being able to write Japanese with pen/pencil (especially once you get past the super simple to remember for writing kanji).

But then my main focus overall for going to language school was to get a 1-year visa and have a lot of time to see Japan. So I guess I should focus on that goal and reading, and let myself coast more on the other aspects. That is hard though, since a lot of my personality have in the past been tied up in being a good student. :sweat_smile:

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MissDagger,
Hello, I am considering going to language school in Japan, Kyoto is one of my options (the other being Sapporo). Would you mind telling me where are you studying and what is it like? Thanks.

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That is a pretty big question and I even went searching to see if I’ve written it up somewhere on the forums already. I probably have but I didn’t attach the name of my school to it, so I can’t find it. -.-’

I’m going to Kyoshin Language Academy. I like the teachers, I’m learning Japanese well (and quite fast, since they do N5 in 3 months, N4 in 3 months, and then N3 in about 6 months, although if you are partly through any of those (or higher), you might finish them even quicker and then go to the school’s standard speed). The school have quirks. It has focuses. They seem to have a lot of students hoping to move on to university in Japan, so some things are geared to that (although I believe more of that will come in N3 and higher classes), the other students usually want to work in Japan, except for some of us mostly learning for fun. They have a lot of asian students, mainly from China, some from Taiwan, and also a large group of Indonesians. There aren’t that many westerners.

But I could write all day about what it is like, without ever hitting what would be important for you when it comes to picking a school. So what is important to you and I will tell you about those aspects of the school.

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