My experience living in Japan and attending a Japanese Language Institution.
School Name, Place, Size and Basic Information
ABK College is located in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, where there is a high concentration of educational institutions, such as Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology and ABK College.
The ABK Group was established in 1957 and ABK College, which is officially known as ABK学館日本語学校 (Asia Bunka Kaikan Gakkan Nihongo Gakkou) or Asia Culture Institute Japanese Language School), just celebrated its fifth anniversary in September 2018. Even so, the school facilities such as the classrooms and electronics are new giving the both teachers and students a modern change to the usual teaching methods that are provided within the school.
The school has around 240 students, a majority of them from Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thai, Malaysia, and Korea.
School Fees and Facilities
The school fees are 620,000 yen not including the 20,000 yen registration and 80,000 admission fees. This adds up to 720,000 yen, which is approximately 470,000 Indian Rupee for a year of education at a Japanese language school. By paying this, you’ll obtain 860 hours in class, study materials and student support.
Every week, around 2-3 teachers will be teaching a class weekly on a rotation. For example, Minaguchi-sensei teaches on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, there is also a short break in between classes. As expected, if you’re late by even a minute, you’re considered late in a school in Japan.
Additionally, you’ll need money for rent. In my case, I managed to rent a room at the school dormitory, which is only a 15-minute walk away from the school, which allowed me to save lots of transportation fees. A month’s rent at the dormitory is around 50,000 yen including the electricity and utility bills. It also depends on which room you are able to rent, as there are very limited rooms at the dorm. Many students actually prefer to rent elsewhere because they can share rent costs with friends.
Why I chose This Japanese Language School
The reason I chose ABK College as my Japanese school is because it is located in beautiful Tokyo. There are a healthy number of people from the school obtaining JLPT certification and the neighbourhood is lovely and rather convenient. Additionally, the school fees are reasonable and ideal for students. Plus, the school hours are short which means I have flexibility in picking what to study during my own personal time outside of school hours.
Points to Consider (The School’s Standards, Etc)
One thing I learnt from studying at ABK is that it is better if you’re in a class with students that don’t speak the language you do. So you better hope you’re in a class with no English, Malay, Chinese or Cantonese speaking people if they are languages that you are fluent in. The reason is that if you know people who speak a common language as you, it is highly likely you’ll end up speaking that language by default. This is not what you want when studying a foreign language.
Also, while the school says it covers academic and cultural experience, the hours spent in class are not enough for you to learn about Japan’s rich history or cultural practices. However, there are incredible libraries nearby which can equip you with the correct information if you don’t know where to start.
The library also hosts regular events, which you can join for free, this is a fantastic way to meet new people and learn more about Japan and it’s culture.
The Sengoku Library and Honkomagome Library are both great places to learn about Japan and it’s history or even to improve your command of the language. At some point, you’ll have enough knowledge and skill to go learn about it online yourself.
After School Entrance
Life at the dormitory and the school is pretty smooth and there are almost no communication problems or barriers in daily life for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been preparing for life here three years ago when I started going to a Japanese language school weekly and during my spare time, would often watch TV dramas which show most of Japanese manners and culture.
Why I Thought It Was A Good Choice
I thought I made a pretty good choice by studying at ABK because the class hours are great, the teachers listen to student feedback about the class and the dormitory is really close to the school and libraries. I feel like it helped me save lots of travel time and money with how well situated it is to the JR trains and subway.
I did manage to make some incredible friends with fellow foreigners, even if that absolutely didn’t help me improve my Japanese because most of them default to Chinese or English when they speak to me, which was both beneficial for me and for them.
Support For Students (Such As Rent, Information For Part Time Jobs)
The school has a pretty good support system for people who are searching for a part-time job, the information is usually available on the school board and also having your class teacher there for advice and guidance is immensely helpful.
Every semester there is also a free health checkup where you can speak about health concerns with a doctor who will visit the school. Of course, you will need to speak in Japanese with the doctor, think of it as a language practice.