Bright-eyed and with a big smile on his face Ruben tells us about his experience of doing a language course combined with a Work Experience at Asahi Nihongo Language School. We know Ruben well since he has been with us before in 2011 for six months. During this time he quickly became a member of the Asahi Nihongo family through his positive attitude and friendly demeanor.
How was your situation before you began working at your internship?
I was working in Communication/ Social media support back home in The Netherlands before I started my Work Experience at Asahi Nihongo.
What was the goal that you wanted to achieve by working together/doing an internship?
I’ve always been involved in learning the Japanese language and so decided that when I had time I would try and improve my Japanese again in Japan through a work experience.
What made you decide to start an internship/study at Asahi Nihongo?
I knew Asahi Nihongo and the staff from my time with them in 2011. Back then I contacted the school through a travel agency while I was looking for internships in Japan. I went to a language school in Tokyo before and Asahi Nihongo stood out to me because of a number of things: The school shares its building with their English and German partner school Ritter, the school was not too big, reviews praised the personal attention and I liked the fact that it was located in Fukuoka.
This meant I would avoid the mass craziness that is Tokyo, be getting more individualized teaching, more responsibility, and most importantly be able to mix with Japanese people since they had lessons in the same building and shared the same activities.
Which results did you achieve through your work experience?
I have never regretted the choice to start at Asahi Nihongo. My Japanese has improved with giant leaps and the work experience and cultural understanding I accumulated has proved invaluable in all the work that I do.
Why did you choose this Work Experience program?
I chose this work experience and short term language course to brush up on my Japanese while working in a Japanese environment. Working with the Asahi Nihongo staff again was also very appealing.
I am a little bit biased by now of course, but the school has a great atmosphere with loads of good activities to do in, or around, Fukuoka with both international and Japanese people. I also knew from personal experience how much preparation the company does to help its clients so I would not get any unwelcome surprises.
Where there any (cultural) problems you had to overcome in your internship?
Yes! However, if you act normal and be open minded then these are mostly small things. When you try to make a business appointment for instance and someone says yes it does not immediately mean they actually say yes. People here are not so direct. You have to make sure and be polite while doing so. Other than that the hours seem to be a bit longer and you have to have respect for your superiors, but I wouldn’t say these are big hurdles to overcome.
What do you like the most about your work experience?
The atmosphere, the people and the school’s professionalism. Asahi Nihongo is a big family with people regularly returning for a reason. The work is challenging but you have room to improve yourself and come up with new ideas. As far as the language school goes there is a great deal of personal attention. Small classes and the possibility to apply for a Japanese language partner. This way you can test out and improve your Japanese skills and help your new friend with his or her English or German skills too!
And how do you like Fukuoka?
I like the city a lot. It is compact so you can walk or cycle to most of the important places. People here are relaxed for Japanese standards, friendly and open for a talk. There are numerous hikes, temples and beaches in the area, which gives Fukuoka a Mediterranean vibe while still being a big city. Oh and the food……the food is amazing. Fukuoka or Hakata ramen (noodles) has a reputation for being the best in Japan. Once you get here you can easily understand why Fukuoka is one of the most popular cities in Japan.
What is the most important thing in your opinion that people interested in a language course or work experience in Japan should know about considering to work with Asahi Nihongo?
Asahi Nihongo shines through their professionalism, personalized approach, kind staff and combination of an international school and school for Japanese who are learning English or German. They give you a great opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the Japanese experience and language.
What would you especially advise other students and why?
Make sure you know what kind of level of Japanese you need for your internship or what you want to achieve in your lessons. This gives you and the school something to strive for and gives you a measurable goal to help studying.
Is there anything else you want to say about working with Asahi Nihongo?
I encourage you to ‘keep an open approach’. If someone at the school asks you to join them for lunch or one of the many activities, go for it. Making new friends is one of the best things about learning Japanese!
Program: Work Experience for JLPT N4
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