Shinjuku School Standard Study Abroad Course
Q. What made you decide to study Japanese?
First of all, I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. I can only speak for myself, but for me at least, there has always been something ‘mysterious’ about Japan. Not counting all the manga/anime, video games, game shows on TV, cars and technology that Japan is famous for in Sweden, the Japanese traditions, values and the way of living were a few things I wanted to know more about, and to experience. To be able to begin to understand these things, the first thing to do is to study the language.
Q. Is this your first time in Japan? Were you worried before coming to Japan?
I visited Japan before I came here to study. Well, the thing I was worried about has nothing to do with Japan really. I was a little bit worried leaving my family and friends back in Sweden, but that’s normal I think. Regarding coming to Japan I was not worried at all.
Q. How are the lessons at ARC Academy?
The teachers really try to make the lessons and the learning experience fun and interesting, using examples from Japanese culture and also recent events happening in Japan and the world. It’s also good that students can ask a question at any time during class, and the teachers tend to stick around after class if you have a question that requires more time.
Q. Is there any lesson you particularly enjoyed?
Well, the ‘role-playing’ sessions are often really fun. Like, “at the hospital”, “looking at a new apartment” etc. There can be some really funny conversations, sometimes off-topic haha…
Q. What do you find most difficult about learning Japanese?
For me it’s definitely kanji. Before I started studying Japanese, I had of course seen kanji characters on TV, signs etc., but my brain just disregarded them since I had no idea what they were. It just looked like someone had dropped 10 chopsticks on the floor which had formed some sort of random character. Kanji is still really hard, but slowly my brain has accepted them.
Q. What do you think about the teachers at ARC Academy?？
First of all, they are super helpful and nice. I can’t compare to other schools, but I think the teachers (and staff) are ARC Academy’s greatest strength. They try to treat each and every student as an individual person that we are. After getting to know the students a little bit, they try to teach Japanese in a more personalised way, knowing what ‘works’ better for this student and that student etc. Also, both the teachers and the staff try to look after you and also help you with non-school issues, whatever they may be.
Q. How do you spend your free time?
I try to explore Tokyo as much as I can, hanging out with friends from school and other friends, trying new places to eat, checking out cafés, bands, parks etc. Tokyo has everything. No matter how small or unknown your interest is, chances are very big that you can find it in Tokyo.
Q. What kind of place do you live? How did you find your accommodation?
At first I lived a short time at a shared house. It was cheap and was close to the school in Shinjuku, but after a while I wanted a place of my own, so I moved to my own little apartment. It’s small, but I have everything I need. I found the shared house using the accommodation links on ARC Academy’s website and the apartment via a real estate company.
Q. Do you think that prices in Japan are high?
They are both high and low so to speak. Coming from Sweden, which is not that cheap of a country, I am quite used to high prices. But at the same time, if you avoid the most obvious ‘tourist traps’, you can get a really good meal for about 500 yen for example. At the same time, you can go to a world famous sushi place and have sushi for (over) 30000 yen. The one thing that stands out though is accommodation. I would guess that the price-persquare meter in Tokyo is one of the highest in the world.
Q. Have you had any troubles since you came to Japan?
Not really. I lost my key once and had to change the lock and pay a bunch of money for it, but that’s basically it. Regarding safety, I have never felt unsafe or anything like that.
Q. Please give your advice to those who are considering studying in Japan.
I think, regardless where in the world you come from and what your future plans are, you will have a great time studying Japanese in Japan. My only regret is that I didn’t do this earlier.