Japanese language learning in the Philippines
Language learning, a seemingly weary task that consumes time and effort, is a piece of work most people don’t take the initiative to start with. Although it can be considered as an advantage for people who want to work abroad or work in a company that needs people who speak a second, third or fourth language, learning a language is also beneficial for students who want to study abroad, especially in a country where the people don’t speak a lot of English, where communication barriers will obviously be apparent.
The Philippines, possibly because of the lack of knowledge about places that offer intensive language learning, is a place with promising alternatives for people who want to learn the Japanese language for further studies or simply for amusement. Students who are second-guessing about studying in Japan because of the language or students who are improving their Japanese language abilities before going to Japan, there are a variety of places which offer Japanese lessons for a reasonable price.
The Japan Foundation Manila
The Japan Foundation, an institution which carries out Japan’s comprehensive international cultural exchanges programs around the world established the 18th office in Makati, Manila. Japan Foundation Manila or JFM focuses on three areas, Arts and Cultural Exchange, Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange, and especially Japanese Language Education. The institution provides different classes and workshops including a Japanese Language Culture course based on the Marugoto (まるごと) Japanese book with levels ranging from starter, tackling module 1 and 2, to intermediate, studying module 1 to 4. A Marugoto course ranges from Php 8,100 ($154) for 22 sessions to Php 20,800 ($397) for 52 sessions. Additionally, people can take classes that focus on kanji learning and a review of the minna no nihongo (みんなの日本語) book. JFM also offers events that promote Japanese art and culture, such as film festivals, exhibitions, and plays.
Unmei Nihongo Center
Unmei Nihongo Center（運命日本語センター） regards themselves as the “No. 1 Japanese Language Center in the Philippines”, with branches in Manila, Laguna, and Cebu. Unmei Nihongo Center has garnered awards since 2012, with the most recent one in the 2016 Gawad Sulo Awards as the Best Language School in the Philippines. Unmei Nihongo Center provides different courses from conversational courses for people who want to travel to Japan to functional Japanese courses which focus on speaking instead of writing and reading. The language school also provides different modules from N5 to N2 courses, encompassing 150 hours of Japanese lessons for Php 34,500 ($658). People wishing to learn Japanese thoroughly to pass the JLPT test can choose to take these classes since it is designed to make the student pass the test.
UP Department of Linguistics
The University of the Philippines, the country’s national university, offers extramural classes for students and people from different fields of work who want to learn various languages. The Department of Linguistics offers Japanese classes ranging from Japanese 1, for people who are beginners, to Japanese 10.3, or for JPLT N3 passers who want to practice their conversation. The modules are taught every Saturday for 2 months for Php. 3,500 ($67), with a placement exam given to the enrollee before being placed to a specific level.