My Thoughts on Summer Short-Term

Tomorrow officially marks two months since I returned from Japan. The experience was so remarkably surreal that I wonder if my stay in Tokyo the past two months was all just a fantastic dream. The eight photo albums overflowing with pictures, however, suggest that I really was there.

The KCP summer short-term language program in Tokyo is of excellent caliber; here are three reasons why.

First: conversation opportunity. There is no more appropriate place to study Japanese than at a place where you are immersed in it, day and night, in and out of class; so, what better location than Japan’s capital itself? KCP classes are all conducted in Japanese; this is necessary because most of its students actually come from non-English speaking countries like South Korea and China. Tests, textbooks, grammatical explanations, and even school announcements are given in Japanese every day. These normal classroom activities are supplemented by ample conversation practice during class hours.

I stayed with a Japanese host family, so I was able to develop my conversational skills both at school and at home. The family spoke almost nothing but Japanese to me and helped me with any impromptu questions in a very friendly, informative way. Opportunities like this are quite rare in America, so it was a definite advantage to have to speak Japanese so much. Even if students choose the dormitory option, the need to speak Japanese around town still provides plenty of practice.

The second reason I highly recommend KCP is the dedication of its staff and faculty. The student program coordinators in the main office are efficient, friendly, and competent people who are always ready to help. As for the teachers (of which each class has three), never in my life have I received more personal concern about my progress and difficulties in class than at KCP. The teachers are extremely organized, knowledgeable, and dedicated people who are always available for questions. I really appreciated knowing that my learning was truly important to the teachers.

The third reason I believe KCP is an excellent school is that I was able to skip Japanese 2 at the University of Florida and enter Japanese 3 this fall with little trouble. I attended KCP this summer, so in May I will be able to graduate with a degree in East Asian Languages and Literature. Although I have only been attending Japanese 3 for about a week now, I have noticed my kanji and vocabulary are almost equal to those who studied Japanese 2 in the past year. In addition, since at KCP we were forced to speak only Japanese, the same rule in our Japanese 3 class here is easy to follow.

I have no negative reactions other than the program being too short (which is obviously not a fault of the program, rightfully entitled the summer short-term program). I wanted to improve my Japanese beyond the beginning level I have stayed at for so many years, and KCP has the resources to allow students like me to do just that. I am very happy with my progress, and I recommend KCP to anyone serious about reaching a higher level of proficiency in Japanese.
—Brandi Potts, University of Florida