I did a 9 week winter course, taking group lessons which lasted 3 hours every weekday morning. The small class sizes (max of 6) allowed plenty of personal attention from the instructors to help practice and improve my language skills. My instructors were extremely helpful in teaching Japanese not only from the course curriculum, but also incorporating new material when the students asked to learn about a particular subject or scenario. In 9 weeks I feel that I learned the equivalent of a university semester course (if not more).
Beyond the classroom JaLS offers a full cultural experience. My afternoons were filled with optional activities; a few I took part in include making sushi, taiko (Japanese drumming), and learning a traditional tea ceremony. I also attended several conversation lessons, in which Japanese locals mingle with students to play games and practice conversational Japanese.
The school is located in the city center, which gave me plenty of opportunities to explore on my own with easy access to shopping, dining, and sightseeing. I also found it very easy to take day trips and overnight trips to other parts of Hokkaido on the weekends. I took advantage of Hokkaido’s legendary snow and went to several nearby ski resorts, including a couple adventures with JaLS students and staff.
The JaLS community is what made my time in Japan an amazing experience. I quickly bonded with many of the other students who came from various corners of the world, united by a common interest in learning Japanese. I made many friends and was happy to have new companions to explore Hokkaido with while practicing Japanese.
The JaLS staff is the core of creating a positive community atmosphere. The friendliness and support of the staff is outstanding! I was comfortable in their presence and confident in their ability to proficiently run a language school. And beyond school business I was constantly impressed by the genuine outreach they made, often going out of their way to organize group events, assist with logistics (reservations, housing, travel, etc.), or just joke around with between class.