The Japanese language is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, but is also one of the most rewarding. Its three different alphabet systems—Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji—make learning the language very difficult, not to mention its complex grammar and vocabulary. However, gaining fluency of the Japanese language opens a door to a much deeper understanding of Japan’s continuously evolving culture and the mindset of its people, which in turn provides a fresh and unique perspective to the world.

International Christian University Summer Courses in Japanese

With a spacious and green campus located in Mitaka city, International Christian University, commonly abbreviated as ICU, has been conducting their summer program titled “Summer Courses in Japanese” since several decades ago. The university is known as a bilingual campus where its faculty and students are required proficiency in both English and Japanese, and has expert language instructors that can provide an innovative learning environment. The program runs for six weeks, and is an intensive course on Japanese language and culture. It is a rigorous yet comprehensive program where students are taught to use the Japanese language fluently while also learning various aspects of Japanese culture—through “culture programs” such as experiencing a tea ceremony or a visit to the National Kabuki Theatre.

International Christian University summer program participants gathering in cafeteria.https://www.icu.ac.jp/en/news/summer_courses2017.html

During the start of the program, students will take a placement test that will determine their class from a total of eight levels from C-1 (Introductory) to C-7 (Advanced), and including C-Sp (Special) for students who have learnt Japanese as a first language. Students who have no prior knowledge of Japanese are required to learn the Hiragana script by themselves before attending the summer program. Each week, students have 15 class periods which run for 70 minutes each that are held in the morning. During the afternoon, students can choose to either study by themselves, attend tutorial sessions with instructors, or participate in a culture program. In addition, they are also expected to study four to five hours per day outside of class for review. By the end of six weeks, students are expected to have a better command of the Japanese language and have a lasting impression from their authentic encounters with Japanese culture.

Students learning on the grass in international Christian Universityhttps://tgu.mext.go.jp/en/universities/icu/index.html

Prospective students of the summer program are required to be at least 18 years old, and is currently attending a university or a college. High school students in their graduating year may not apply, with the exception of students who are accepted into ICU for the following semester. Applications are first made online through a web application, before documents are to be sent by mail. Applicants will need to pay 10,000 yen for the screening fee. A tuition fee of 240,000 yen should then be paid once an applicant is accepted into the summer program. Several accommodation options are available, such as staying in the on-campus dormitory or in a homestay with a Japanese family.

A student dormitory in international Christian Universityhttps://www.icu.ac.jp/en/campuslife/dormitories/new2017/

For those who are interested in learning more about the Japanese language and culture, the ICU Summer Courses in Japanese is the perfect way to study about it directly in Japan itself, where students are able to apply the use of the language first-hand and immerse themselves in the Japanese lifestyle.

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