Jeff’s Entry – Japanese Language Schools

Almost a month ago, out of no where, Dan just asked me what I thought about going abroad to Japan to attend a Japanese Language School. I’ve seen Ciaela’s videos of her attending NILS (a Japanese Language School in Japan) so I’ve considered the option but I haven’t given it much thought. So when he got home we got on Skype and we started to research. Finding a good JLS (Japanese Language School) was tough considering we can’t really learn much from a webpage and when we googled “Japanese Language School” it came up with schools based in Australia which isn’t exactly what we’re looking for.

After about half an hour of searching we sort of gave up. We DID find one JLS that was based in Japan but it was last updated in 2010 so we considered it as unreliable. We eventually gave in and looked up NILS and despite it’s dodgy website URL, it looked great (http://www.ulearnjapanese.com/). It had a range of programs which pretty much just varied in duration. There’s also tonnes of information on school itself as well as visas and basic living information. It was very helpful and definitely the best one we’ve found yet. Dan actually sent in an inquiry to NILS and got a very detailed respond later that day from Tanaka.

The reason why the both of us thought that attending a JLS in Japan would be a great idea was that we were going to apply for a Japanese course in University in Australia but where’s a better place to learn Japanese than Japan? There’s that reason along with the fact that we have absolutely no idea what sort of course we’d like to pursue in University that could lead to a job that we’d enjoy. Even though we do have almost an entire year to decide, we’ve got our minds set on the idea of a JLS in Japan.

With the thought of being away from home for 2 years (our desired length for the program) we knew that we’d have to think it through. Being the person I am, I already started to work out the plausibility of the idea and whether or not we would be able to live there without worries about money. So I plotted out living expenses using the information on the website and the information Tanaka sent us and worked out we needed around $10000 AUD a year. Possibly more since it’s pretty unpredictable on the matter of how much money we’d splurge on random crap but that was the idea. We’ve been told through the inquiry that we’re allowed to work there and most students actually earn quite a hefty amount of cash from it. Seemed like a great idea but none of us have actually worked outside our family businesses, let alone a factory but I suppose we’ll be willing to try that in order to lighten the burden of our parents paying for most of the expenses.

Speaking of parents, being away for two years. I’m pretty sure we’ll need to consult our parents on our decision of what we want to do after High School in terms of education. Dan was set on the thought that he has to tell his parents as soon as possible. Since he knows they won’t approve, this way he’ll have a longer period of time to persuade them. Little did I know, he told them the night that we set our minds on going to a JLS in Japan. I didn’t really understand the hurry to get it out that early especially before thinking of good reasons to persuade them first. Oh well, I’ll tell my parents eventually but like hell I’m going to tell them now.

So that’s pretty much the story but we still have a lot of thinking to do, I mean, we’re going to Japan a few months before JLS classes start. Does that mean anything? Is it going to some how affect our plans? We’re not sure yet but it going to a JLS in Japan is unmistakably a great idea.

-Jeff

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Posted on February 9, 2012, in General, Japan and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. the_travelling_trini

    Studying full time in Japan is something I’ve always wanted to do but never got around to it! Hope you guys can make it happen. Japan can be a pretty expensive place and I’ve seen a lot of people go broke (especially in Tokyo, even working full time as teachers but blowing all their money partying). But you should be able to get part time work in a bar or something, if you don’t mind that kind of work. Teaching English on the side is always a good way to bring in some extra cabbage too.

    2 years is pretty long course, and as far as I know those courses are designed specifically for foreign students (typically Chinese) whose sole plan is to attend a university in Japan once they have mastered the language. Usually 90% of the students are Chinese, preparing to pass the Japanese language tests to go to uni. Depending on what you really want/need, you could consider doing a 1-year course instead if you don’t want to commit to 2 full years, or if you don’t have the cash to really be a full time student in an extremely expensive country… that said, I bet in 2 years you will be totally “pera-pera”, which means fluent!

    Also, I can share one other tip that may or may not be helpful… if cash is a serious issue, a cheaper place to both study and live is Okinawa. Lots of Japanese language schools with far, far cheaper tuition as well as a lower overall cost of living, particular for rent. I was on the brink of moving to Okinawa to join a course but drat, a job opportunity foiled my plans!

    Anyway, best of luck to you both. You don’t need me to tell you how amazing Japan is. Hope you can make your plans come to fruition! Ganbatte!

    • Hey, thanks for the helpful comment!

      The reason why we are thinking about a Japanese language school is because we are unsure of what to do in university. Furthermore, going to a language school in Japan rather than our own country pressures us to use the language more often rather than resorting to English for daily situations.

      -Jeff

      Thanks for the tips! Regarding part time work in a bar, I had heard that the student/college visa prevented you from working in entertainment industries or something similar, but I’m sure that teaching English would be a great way to earn some pocket money. I’m not sure how far two years could bring us considering the extensive kanji you’d have to know to essentially master the language; the dialect and colloquial differences and the subtle nuances involved in 日常会話 and daily conversations — but it’ll definitely be a heck of a lot more helpful than if we studied in Australia!

      -Dan

  2. 2 years really is a LONG time. It’s a serious life decision, and a serious drain of money.

    If you just want to experience Japan and get a little bit of the language, there ought to be plenty of summer programs in Japan that are a couple of months long. I would be wary going into a 2 year commitment if you’re mainly doing it because you don’t know what else to do. If you’re set on going for a long time, a 1 year sounds a little better. Besides, you could probably extend your stay just as easy if you both liked it and want to stay on another year.

    I studied abroad in Kobe, Japan for 9 months when I was still a university student. At times even that amount of time seemed long – there’s culture shock which can affect people in a lot of different ways, plus homesickness. Most of us had scholarships there for spending money, which helped a lot. Those that didn’t have the scholarships often went without lunch just to save money. Japan definitely can be pricey. I also had a part-time job helping out with a lunch hour English conversation circle at a nearby University (Konan Women’s University) that helped give me some extra spending money. It should be no problem to find work either teaching or tutoring English, for decent rates. That’s definitely allowed, whereas the 水商売 jobs (working in bars, as hosts/hostesses, etc) are definitely not allowed under your student visa. Also you’ll have to apply for permission to work even under your student visa, but usually there’s no qualms in getting it.

    I know it’s many years off (because you have to have a university degree first) but I highly recommend the JET Program. It’s a prestigious program that pays extremely well and gives you the chance to live, work, and experience Japan for up to 3-5 years if you like where you are and what you’re doing. I’m on the program now and I’ve never had to worry about money; in fact I’ve been able to send a great deal home, and my boyfriend was able to pay off all his college loans his first year on JET. Of course we both live in a rural area so there’s not much temptation to spend money and living costs are relatively low.

    In sum, I highly support your desire to come to Japan, and definitely think you should do it. Studying Japanese in Japan would be really cool too, but make sure you’re serious about it for whatever time length you choose. If you get frustrated or burnt out or the desire to study passes after a certain amount of time (or you run out of money!), it would probably be sticky to leave the program and go back home early.

    Good luck finding a good program! There should be hundreds if not thousands out there. Searching for something like Japanese Language School in Japan should turn up plenty of results. Keep us all updated.

    • The idea of Dan and I going to a Japanese Language School in Japan is so that we can learn the language and it would give us some time to think about a course suited to ourselves in university, hopefully in Japan. If Dan and I ever do go to a Japanese Language School in Japan then it’s most likely that we’d apply for the 1 year course first and go from there just to be safe but our goal is to complete 2 years.

      Although if we aren’t able to or don’t go to a Language School, it’s almost certain that we’d apply to a Japanese course in a university back here in Australia along with another course (so a double degree). Afterwards we’ll most definitely take a shot at applying for the JET Program and see where our how things play out from there.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      -Jeff

    • Ah, you’re on the JET program, eh? How are you finding it? It is surely rewarding from what I’ve heard and I’m just curious if you’re going to return back to your country to find employment or aim for a job in Japan?
      And thanks for the advice and warning; two years is quite a lengthy period of time, I know, but I’m also glad to say that I wouldn’t make this consideration without a little bit of thought beforehand. Of course, that is if we are even going in the first place; for now, it’s just a nice little prospect we have in mind — the year is still young!

      Good luck with your JET program and the best wishes for you and your boyfriend.
      -Dan

  3. I hope you still check this blog. I’m considering applying for NILS language school but it’s hard to fun information for neutral reviews (students). I would be studying for 2 years as well and I was wondering how your time at NILS was. How would you say the quality of instruction is? I would love to hear any information you have about your stay there

    Currently set to start another language school with a great reputations and well regarded but I would only be able to study for 1 year and not much money for travel. Quality vs Time is the big debate in my head. So how do you feel about NILS?

    • Man, I wish I went to NILS or any JLS, really. I ended up with studying for an engineering degree and Dan is doing commerce/economics. We haven’t tried Japanese classes at our universities yet since we want to get our degrees in line first.

      Anyways, we didn’t do any further research on JLS or NILS so what I wrote in this post is pretty much all I know. If I were to choose a JLS then I’d probably go with NILS since it seems to be a good reputation, they’ve got a range of programs, accommodation options, allow working during enrollment and we got a reply for our inquiry on the same day so we were pretty impressed with that too.

      The video I linked in my post was made by one of the most popular English speaking YouTubers in Japan and her Japanese is great and I trust her comments on NILS.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t give you any better advice, but I hope you take some time to think this through thoroughly. Good luck

      -Jeff

  4. Np, thanks for replying! I’m actually currently set to attend one language school but I would be able to study much longer at NILS so I’ve been re-thinking whether or not to jump ship. big decisions are hard lol.

    Thanks again

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