So I’ve just come home from a new year’s holiday and, due to a few surreal—probably very idiotic if explained in detail—but emotionally taxing experiences, I’ve come to the realization that now is the time I quit my job (actually finish my contract in July) and focus all my time on becoming really, honest-to-goodness 一人前-level fluent in Japanese.
I’m interested in studying at a rigorous (read: one that gets me the results) language school for 1.5 - 2 years time (starting in October).
A few notes about where I’m coming from:
- I’ve been on the JET program for 3 years in a small city on the northeastern edge of the country.
- Since being here, I’ve progressed my Japanese knowledge (not necessarily ability) from N5 to N3. My kanji reading ability is anything I’ve learned on Wanikani to this point as well as anything I encounter regularly in my day-to-day life. I’m also doing the Japanese KUMON program, about to start the advanced levels (i.e. J, K, and L).
- After studying abroad in Tokyo during university and living here in the inaka these past few years, I’m more motivated to learn than ever and want to learn well.
- I think I have a good grasp on many of the difficulties of life in Japan, just not the difficulties of selecting a top-tier language school. Maybe this is why I’m so stressed trying to find reputable information/recommendations on the subject.
And what I’m looking for:
- A long-term (i.e. 1-2 years) intensive Japanese program
- I think outside of major population centers like Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya would be best. And in terms of cities I’ve visited, I’m leaning towards Fukuoka or Kobe with regard to my quality of life (Fukuoka) and quality of school (Communica Institute in Kobe).
- A school that makes my passing the N1, being able to comfortably communicate to a professional capacity, and/or enter a Japanese grad school possible in 1.5 years. I’ve been told by a close Korean friend who attended language school, a top Japanese university, and now a top Japanese graduate school that this is more than possible, but I haven’t seen much corroborating info on the forums.
- I’m interested in any LGBT experience regarding school life and school location as well (why I’m leaning towards Fukuoka even though I haven’t seen a solidly reviewed school yet).
If I can think of any other details I’m missing or need to clarify, I’ll update this post as well.
Do you have any longterm experience with hitting one of the goals I’ve set for myself above? Did you learn something in the process of applying for or attending language school that you wish you’d known from the start? Any resources you think are necessary for searching for a good language school? Have any personal recommendations on a good language school in Fukuoka (for hitting the goals I’ve outlined above)?
So far the schools I’ve heard of/been looking into in Fukuoka are the following:
- 福岡外語専門学校 / Fukuoka Foreign Language College
- Fukuoka Foreign Language School (FTLS)
- Fukuoka YMCA Japanese School
I’ve also done a fair bit of research on the Kyoto Institute of Culture and Language (KICL) even though I really don’t think I want to live in Kyoto. But if you happen to have experience hitting the goals I’ve set for myself there, I’d love to hear it!
Any of your testimonials or advice is greatly greatly appreciated as I figure out how what I consider my most important life decision in the last/next few years! 頑張りまーす！
- In terms of financing—and given the average price I’ve seen for many language school programs of $11,000~$14,000 for two years—I am able to self-finance my studies. However if there is a particularly esteemed program which costs more than this, I would still love to hear about it.