The students have spoken: Studying abroad is a great way to improve your foreign language skills, and Japan is one of their top choices!
Achieving fluency in a foreign language is a huge accomplishment that anyone can be proud of. It requires lots of time, effort, and the help of dedicated tutors and mentors to help you along your journey.
For some, the road to fluency leads language students directly to the country where the language is spoken. According to a recent survey conducted by educations.com of over 32,000 students, almost one-third of the students cited language-learning as a top reason for studying abroad.
They also asked the students about which countries they’d like to have their study abroad experience: Japan is ranked in the top 10 dream study abroad destinations for students from North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia!
Japan’s popularity among students is unsurprising because Japan is ranked #2 on the official 2019 rankings for Top 10 Study Abroad Countries in Asia. From its unique manga and anime literature, to its gaming culture, to its enchanting history and obsession-worthy cuisine, Japan and its language are very popular among students!
Read on to discover why a trip to Japan should be on any language-learners bucket list.
Mind the cultural gap
When you travel abroad, it’s important to keep an open mind and to appreciate other customs or lifestyles that are different from your own. Learning a language in conjunction with the cultural norms of the language-group allows you to understand the language on a deeper level.
Japan is a country known for their steep cultural traditions and customs, which are inevitably intertwined with the language. Living in Japan while you study Japanese will teach you things like the difference between senpai and kohai, how not to insult Japanese people by using honourifics, and the Japanese art of aizuchi. A familiarity with the cultural environment in which the language developed is key for achieving a high level of understanding.
Practice makes perfect
It’s not surprising that students want to go straight to the source when learning a new language, since one of the best predictors of long-term success is doing something on a regular basis. From ordering your morning ミルクコーヒー (coffee with milk) to saying おやすみなさい (goodnight) to your host family, studying abroad allows you to practice your new language in and outside of the classroom!
Work your way to fluency
As the language spoken by the third largest global economy, Japanese is an important choice for a career in business, tech, or finance. Working in Japan can help strengthen your professional vocabulary, introduce you to new people, and make you feel more included in society!
Suitable positions for international workers include teaching English (or your native language), an international company, NGOs, the service industry, and volunteering. Working in Japan will also benefit your knowledge of the workplace culture in Japan, which is critical if you plan to live and work in the country for the long term.
If you can, immersing yourself in the language group’s native culture is one of the best ways to take your language abilities from proficient to fluent. Remember: when you travel abroad to learn a new language, you learn so much more!
Keely Witherow is a writer for professional development and study abroad sites dedicated to helping people find the best education for them.
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keely-witherow/