Academic Year 2016 Alum Abigail Dunn and Her Insights on KCP (Part 2)

Former student Abigail Dunn shares more insights on her KCP experience in Japan. Read Part 1 here.

The key to success at KCP is consistency. If you decide that you will try your hardest even if you fail and you’re willing to study, ask questions, and talk to your non-English speaking classmates all on a daily basis, then you will succeed. You must be self-driven. I made a pact with myself before going to Japan that I would only use Japanese the entire time I was there, and as a result of that my language skills improved exponentially – especially when compared to other native English speakers who also attended the school and spent most of their time with other English speakers. I only used English when my one American friend and I made a conscious decision once in a while to use it. I highly suggest doing the same.

Something to remember is that learning does not stop as soon as you walk out of the classroom. It’s important to pay attention to your surroundings and engage in conversation whenever possible, since there are so many varieties of Japanese that will differ depending on the situation. I think it’s also important to spend as much time as possible with friends from class, outside of school. Doing this will further solidify your language skills and will provide the opportunity to use new words, grammar, and phrases that you learned in class within everyday life.

Another thing to remember is that you will most definitely have to get out of your comfort zone (both in and outside of class) in order to really be productive. For example, before I went to KCP, I almost never spoke in my classes back in the States. I especially almost never asked questions. But going to this school helped me to create the courage I needed to do both of those things. If I never asked questions in class, I would have never passed. I can say that with utmost certainty. It can be hard to admit that you don’t understand something even when the other people around you seem to, but being able to set aside your pride will not only get you so much further in classes it will also get you further in life. It’s a valuable skill to have.

All in all, I would not trade my experience at KCP for anything. I learned so many skills even beyond the realm of Japanese language that I am still using and benefitting from to this day. I learned an incredible amount of Japanese but at the same time I was able to build lifelong friendships, interact with Japanese natives who were encouraging and kind, learn to live on my own, become far better at expressing myself (even in English!), learn countless things about cultures and ways of thinking other than my own, learn self-discipline when it came to hours of studying, and so much more. I don’t think I ever would have had that experience anywhere else.