Get out there and learn.

Spencer from 2012

Which events or activities did you find the most satisfying and why?

I really enjoyed the speech contest. I thought it was a great way to bring the class together.

What activities or materials did you find most helpful (e.g., pair work, drill practice, tests, small group sessions, textbooks, games)?

Practice worksheets for the grammar was the most helpful. It allowed me to try and apply my knowledge that I learned in class to make sure I fully understood the way particles are supposed to be applied. Talking in groups in class was also very helpful for becoming less shy with the language, since it can be scary to try and speak a language which I didn't know very well.

Any further thoughts or tips for those considering the program or new KCP students?

My tip would be get out there and learn. Many English speaking students, especially ones from the summer short group, made great friendships with each other. That is fantastic, however, it doesn't help your language skills. Everyone that spoke English always ended up using English when outside of school, and that really hinders one's ability to learn, especially when you are engulfed by the language, yet it is ignored because of the friendships. So, get out there, make friends with the Chinese, Koreans, or other races in your class. If you are new and know very little, then it is even more important, because your classmates are just like you. They know what you know and you know what they know. It will be hard to communicate at first, but it can be done. Hand gestures are recognized world wide! And, if you can, try to talk to random Japanese citizens. If you are going somewhere, and roughly know where you are headed, find someone and ask directions. It may be difficult to understand them, but just being able to pick up a few words, and just listening improves your language abilities. And my final suggestion may not sound like fun for many, but, it will help. Take all of your non-Japanese books, music, and videos and get rid of them or leave them in your home country. Don't even think about looking at these while you are in Japan. I know you may enjoy reading, singing with your music, or might love a particular show, but you will only hold yourself back if you use it. You need to engulf yourself in the language, and when you are in Japan, there is no better time. Because, when you step out of your door, there is very little English available. It is all Japanese, so make sure all of your personal time is Japanese. You will be amazed at how much you can progress if you make this change. So, for a recap. Stop speaking English. It is hard, but do it. Even with English friends, don't let it happen. Make Chinese and Korean friends in class, that way you can't use English. And if they want to speak English, ask them kindly to refrain from using it. Being in Japan is the only time you can do this, so do it! And take all of your forms of entertainment that are not in Japanese and leave them at home. Engulf yourself, that is the best way to learn. Repetition is how you remember a language, and the more breaks you take by listening to English, the longer it will take. And remember, you are paying a lot of money to learn the language, so make great use of your time.

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Past and present students share their thoughts and experiences on studying in Japan.

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I wanted to be in a major city in Japan and learn Japanese, and this program had good reviews online in addition to being affiliated with several universities that I knew of. There was also a decent amount of information available online from non-official sources, which gave me good information on living arrangements and general life as a student.

—Steffan Achtmann