University of Sydney

I was living in Sydney before I moved to Tokyo. Apart from a lot of self-study, I enrolled in a night school Japanese language course run by the University of Sydney. It was a nice gentle introduction to Japanese, and good practice in speaking and listening to a native speaker. But I wouldn’t recommend doing this for more than about ten classes.

The classes were good enough as a prod to encourage continual study, but only at beginner level. There was nothing wrong with the teacher or the instruction, but two hours a week is not enough to push you into absorbing the language. Also, in common with many beginner classes, the instruction was mostly in English, and we didn’t do much reading or writing.

Regularly scheduled classes motivate you to keep studying that textbook (we used Japanese for Busy People I). But you really need to be immersed in Japanese to really become comfortable with it, at least when you’re in the classroom. If you can find a Japanese class where everyone has to speak Japanese exclusively while in the classroom, you’ll find it much more effective.

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