留学生インタビュー

Why did you decide to study in Japan?

I decided to come to Japan in order to gain enough experience to teach Japanese in the Philippines and build a better understanding of Japan, the Japanese people, their culture and their language. A few years ago I found myself working as a secretary in the Japanese Sales Department of a hotel in Manila despite the fact that I couldn't speak or understand a word of Japanese. During that time I felt the need to study Japanese, so I decided to join a class that was being held at the hotel I was working at. Finding it fun and interesting, I went further and joined a nine-month intensive Japanese Language course. During this time, I felt that there were probably a lot of people who, like me, had a need to study Japanese in relation to their work. When I spoke to one of my teachers about my desire to teach, I was told that it would be best for me to go to Japan in order to build up my Japanese language skills and gain first-hand experience.

How was your study at the Japanese-language institute?

The one year I spent studying at a Japanese language institute in Tokyo really helped me improve my Japanese and allowed me an opportunity to observe different teaching styles. Under the guidance of my teachers I did well, managed to pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (level 1) and I even got to win the school's speech contest. There were also a lot of interesting activities like ikebana, Japanese tea ceremony, and chances to interact with Japanese people. I stayed in the school's dormitory and was able to make friends with people from other countries. It was a very good experience for me.

How are you spending your days as a student in Japan?

I am currently enrolled in the Japanese Language Teacher-Training Program of the Bunka Institute of Language, which I chose because of its comprehensive nature and the fact that it covers what would normally take two years to study in half the time. In this course we spend most of our time learning about Japan and different theories related to teaching foreign languages, as well as the basic elements one needs to bear in mind when teaching Japanese. We are taught how to exercise our creative skills and come up with our own teaching materials, exams and other things we need in order to teach properly. Practical training is also provided. Students from the Japanese Language Course of the school volunteer to be our students, giving us a chance to find out what it feels like to be in an actual classroom setting. Other subjects include Japanese Pedagogy, Grammar, Phonetics and Comparative Linguistics. The first time I held classes as a part of my practical training ended up being quite memorable. I committed mistakes like using difficult Chinese characters and speaking really fast, but I really learned a lot from them, the comments and advice I received from my students were also a big help. I realized that teaching Japanese is a lot more difficult than it looks.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

To those who would like to teach Japanese, I recommend that you look at a lot of Japanese language textbooks and take note of your teacher's teaching techniques. I think that it would also be good to attain a firm grasp of basic grammar and make an effort to master Japanese as much as you can.

Uploaded on 14th August 2002