Some people may be thinking of going to a Japanese language school to learn Japanese.
In order to learn a language, it is essential to have the opportunity to come into contact with the language. By enrolling in a Japanese language school, you can increase not only the lectures from the instructors but also the opportunities to experience Japanese through your daily life.
In this article, we will introduce to foreigners what they can do at the Japanese language school, how to enroll, and points to choose a school.
- What You Can Do at a Japanese Language School
- How to Enter a Japanese Language School
- Find a Japanese Language School by Yourself and Make Inquiries
- Use Agents
- Japanese Language School Examples
What You Can Do at a Japanese Language School
There are three main things you can do at a Japanese language school.
- Learning Japanese
- Receiving school/employment support in Japan
- Interacting with local people and students from other countries
Let’s take a closer look at each.
It is natural to learn Japanese, but the main goal is to pass N1 and N2 in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is often specified as a condition for entering a university or vocational school or a company as an employment condition, and it is a major goal for those who are considering going on to a Japanese language school.
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is divided into five ranks, N1 to N5, N2 is the minimum required rank to enter a university or vocational school, and N1 is a level at which there is no problem in studying those schools.
The following is a guideline for certification of each rank.
|N1||You can understand the Japanese used in a wide range of situations.|
ex.) Understand the main points by watching a documentary program on TV. You can read the newspapers about politics and an economy to understand the points.
|N2||In addition to understanding Japanese used in everyday situations, you can understand the Japanese used in a wider range of situations to some extent.|
ex.) You can understand the flow of conversations at school and at work. You can understand the contents by looking at reports and articles in fields of little interest.
|N3||You can understand the Japanese used in everyday situations to some extent.|
ex.) You can understand most of the contents by watching anime and movies with simple stories. You can read a short story and understand most of it.
|N4||You can understand basic Japanese.|
ex.) You can understand everyday conversations with familiar people. You can understand the contents of letters and emails from friends and acquaintances.
|N5||You can understand basic Japanese to some extent.|
ex.) You can understand common words such as “いらっしゃいませ.” You can understand the information you want to know by looking at the timetables and information boards of trains and buses.
Reference: 日本語能力試験 合格者と専門家の評価による レベル別Can-doリスト (Japanese)
Japanese is said to be in a difficult category compared to other foreign languages (*1). It is hard to understand expressions such as “さらさら” and “きらきら” that are unique to the Japanese language and subtle nuances only by lectures.
It is necessary to learn these words from a teacher at a Japanese language school and the interaction with local Japanese people.
※1：Map shows the hardest languages to learn for English speakers – Insider (English)
Receiving School/Employment Support in Japan
Some Japanese schools are focusing on support for further education and employment.
The purpose of many foreigners enrolling in a Japanese language school is to study Japanese and make use of it for further study and employment in Japan. Some schools also offer the following support for that.
Supports for Further Education
|Implementation of events and school information sessions||Schools will set up a dedicated booth at the Japanese language school to provide consultation and information about the school. They may invite many schools and hold large-scale school briefing sessions.|
|Designated School Recommendation||Some Japanese language schools have some available quota of designated universities and vocational schools. If you meet the requirements of a designated school, the entrance examination will be easier than the general one.|
|Implementation of employment briefing session||They invite the person in charge of each company and hold a company information session.|
|Advice from seniors who got a job||Graduates give you advice regarding employment.|
Interacting with Local People and Students from Other Countries
Japanese schools are more than just places to learn the language. By organizing events with local people, they also provide opportunities to interact with the Japanese language and culture.
By actually living in a student dormitory, guest house, or homestay, you can experience real Japanese culture that you cannot know by sightseeing.
Students from various countries attend Japanese language schools. Some people decide to study Japanese and then enroll after working as a member of society in their home country. Touching not only the cultures of your home country and Japan but also the cultures and ideas of people around the world will broaden your values and future-prospects.
Even if you feel uneasy when you come to Japan, you can get advice from friends who have the same experience.
How to Enter a Japanese Language School
There are two main ways to enter a Japanese language school.
- Find a Japanese language school by yourself and make inquiries
- Use agents
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Find a Japanese Language School by Yourself and Make Inquiries
We will introduce a series of steps of searching for a Japanese language school yourself.
STEP1: Determine the Purpose and Period of Study Abroad
First of all, let’s decide on the purpose of studying abroad. The school, course, and the period of study abroad will change depending on your purpose.
If you want to study Japanese and go to a university or vocational school or find a job at a company, you will need to obtain the N1 rank of the Japanese language proficiency test. Inevitably, you will need a long study abroad period.
Please note that depending on the period, you may need a student visa.
- 6 months to 2 years → Student visa required
- Less than 6 months → Student visa is not required, enroll with short-term stay visa
STEP2: Find a Japanese Language School
Once you have decided purpose and period, let’s search the Japanese language school and request materials.
You can search it using the pages below.
- 平成29年度日本語教育機関における外国人留学生への教育の実施状況の公表について：文部科学省 (Japanese)
- Search for Japanese language school | Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education (English)
When choosing a school, try to choose one that suits your purpose of learning Japanese. For example, if you are aiming for the N1 rank in the Japanese language proficiency test, one of the criteria is to select a school with a high pass rate.
STEP3: Decide on the Course and the Admission Time
Once you have decided on your school, apply for an entrance application and, if necessary, a student visa.
It takes about six months to apply for a student visa. After deciding on the admission time, prepare the necessary documents as soon as possible.
Student visa procedures are often done by the school by submitting the application documents together with the application form. Whether or not you can have such support is also a criterion for choosing a Japanese language school.
STEP4: Payment of Tuition and Visa Application
In most cases, you need to pay tuition fees in advance. After paying it, you will receive the documents necessary to issue a visa. Bring the documents to the embassy in your home country to apply for a visa.
STEP5: Choose your Accommodation and Transportation from Airport
They have various accommodations in Japan such as student dormitories, guesthouses, share houses, and homestays, depending on the school. There is also a pick-up service that will pick you up at the airport after you arrive in Japan.
Please decide where to stay and what to do with airport transfers.
STEP6: Visit Japan
Once you’re all prepared and come to Japan, your life at a Japanese language school will begin.
It may be tough for foreigners who are new to the Japanese language to find a place to study abroad and communicate with the school. That is where study abroad agents come in handy.
If you use an agent, you can get assistance for the necessary procedures and the selection of a school.
Please keep the following points in mind when using.
Checkpoint ①: Cost
Compare several companies to see if they’re at the right price.
It is also important to confirm that the contract is not unreasonable, such as by obtaining a contract paper that describes the details of the charges and the contents of the service.
Checkpoint ②: Response
Let’s confirm that the agent responds politely, such as answering questions and procedures for studying abroad appropriately, introducing your school by listening to your wishes, or not rushing you to apply.
Checkpoint ③: Record
Check if they have sufficient experience in study abroad support.
After checking these points and selecting a study abroad agent with no problems, let’s proceed with the preparation for entrance to a Japanese language school together with them.
Japanese Language School Examples
Here are examples of Japanese language schools.
Using the websites introduced above, search for the area you want to visit, conditions, etc. and select one.
- Human Academy Japanese Language School (English)
- ISI Japanese Language School (English)
- The Naganuma School (English)
A Japanese language school is an important step not only to learn Japanese but also to advance to the next level of education and employment.
A certain amount of study abroad period is required to master Japanese. It is also important to check some points, such as whether the learning curriculum and life support are in place, and whether there are exchanges between teachers and the same students.
If you want to learn Japanese and improve your own, keep the points in this article and choose a Japanese school that suits you.