Location
  • Japan
    • Kyoto
Length
1 week
Language
Japanese

Program Details

Language Level
BeginnerIntermediateAdvanced
Immersion Level
Intensive
Class Size
Small Class (1-7)
Weekly Classroom Hours
20
Housing
Apartment Guesthouse Host Family Hotel
Age Min.
16

Pricing

What's Included
Some Activities
What's Not Included
Accommodation Airfare Domestic Airfare Some Meals Transportation
Dec 24, 2019
Jun 05, 2023
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About Program

Kyoto is the heart of Japan, and our Kyoto School is right in the heart of it! Learn Japanese and surround yourself by history, tradition and, of course, the language. Let our world-class teaching method and our passion help you start your Japanese language journey or deepen your knowledge even further! At Genki, we know that learning can`t be done in the classroom alone, so take this opportunity and give yourself a chance to go out there! Explore and see Kyoto you knew existed from pictures, films and youtube, but discover a place that is yours and yours alone!

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 1 review
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  • Instruction 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 3
  • Housing 5
  • Value 5
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews
Default avatar
Nick
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful 11-week Homestay through GenkiJACS Kyoto

CONTEXT

During the spring of 2023, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in an 11-week language study program through GenkiJACS Kyoto. This is a trip I had originally planned for two years earlier, but needed to postpone because of the pandemic travel restrictions. The wait was well worth it. Prior to coming to Kyoto, I studied online with GenkiJACS during the two years in which travel restrictions were in place. Thanks to this, I had already met many of my teachers before arriving in Kyoto. Finally coming to the school was like being welcomed home.

TEACHERS AND STAFF

My favorite part about GenkiJACS is the wonderful people who work there. Although it took me a couple of weeks to adjust from online private classes to in-person group classes, I quickly felt comfortable at school. There is not a single teacher with whom I did not get along; class was a joy to attend and always felt like it went by too quickly. The great rapport I developed with my teachers was the highlight of my language study.

In the classroom, I always felt comfortable asking nuanced questions (such as understanding the difference between two similar types of grammar), even when my language ability made it difficult to explain what I meant in Japanese. My teachers were always patient with me and gave me thoughtful answers, sometimes following up with me the next day if I still didn't understand. There were also many times outside of class where I asked for feedback on homework or a grammar topic, and my teachers were always kind enough to go over it with me.

Several times during my stay, I had some professional obligations overlapping with my studies (in particular, I needed to travel for a week for a job interview). I greatly appreciate how flexible the school was in helping me work around these with minimal interruption to my studies. In general, the staff at school was very communicative and accessible before, during, and even after my studies.

I also appreciated that I was allowed to use the classrooms for self-study (since the student lounge was often noisy), and I regularly took advantage of this. Because I was often working in the school after classes, I had a lot of opportunities for more casual, spontaneous interaction with some of my teachers and I greatly enjoyed this. Not only was it good conversation practice, but I felt valued as a person as well as a student. Perhaps this more than anything else made me feel welcome at school.

About two months into my program, I had already decided I wanted to do another a homestay through GenkiJACS and started discussing this possibility with my instructors (in particular, thank you Mami-sensei!). Although I was advised that a class at my level would not be available at the Kyoto school, she helped me coordinate with the GenkiJACS Fukuoka school to make arrangements. Since I also planned to continue my online private classes with GenkiJACS in the interim, she even met with me several times outside of class to help me select textbooks and design a personal curriculum that matched my study goals. The level of personal attention and support I received is truly appreciated.

LANGUAGE COURSE AND CLASS SCHEDULE

The general core course consists of 20 lessons per week (4 lessons of 50 minutes per day). Registering for the Conversation Module adds an additional 5 lessons per week. A typical school day with this schedule (counting breaks/lunch) is between 4-7 hours. Each student's schedule is made available on Friday for the next week, and varies each day. On 4-hour days, it is common that the entire morning or afternoon is free (which is a great time to explore the city!).

The teachers rotate between classes, but all follow the same curriculum, so typically you can have four or five different teachers in a given week. This may make it challenging to get used to a single instructor's teaching style for shorter stays, but personally I appreciated being exposed to a range of teaching styles over the long term. Plus, you have a chance to meet many great teachers! On average, we covered about 1.5 chapters of the textbook (Minna no Nihongo) per week; for me, the pace felt perfect.

During my stay, there were not so many students studying at my level (high beginner), although there seemed to be many concurrent classes running for students at the low beginner levels. There were never more than 6 students in my class, but during a few weeks my class only had 2 students, during which the total number of classes per week was understandably reduced. In general, I greatly appreciated the small class size since it never felt too crowded and I had plenty of opportunities to speak.

I also registered for 4-weeks of Culture Classes (the maximum, since these generally repeat monthly), all of which were held on Saturdays. These classes typically involved 2-3 arts-and-craft style activities at local workshops, plus some guided site-seeing with GenkiJACS staff. I had a lot of fun with these, but my favorite two activities were visiting Nijo Castle and making a temple stamp book. Personally, I wish I could have registered for more than 4 classes since these were fun.

HOMESTAY

Before coming to Kyoto, I was certain that I wanted the experience of living with a Japanese host family, but very nervous that we would not get along well. After arriving, all of my fears more or less evaporated by the end of the first week. I absolutely adored my host family. They were a young family with three small, very energetic children (I am also grateful for gaining a lot of firsthand knowledge about parenting). I felt immediately welcomed and I feel so lucky that I was their very first host student.

No one in my host family spoke English, but this never felt like a barrier. Rather, staying with them was an incredible opportunity to practice conversational Japanese in a non-intimidating setting. I would regularly chat with my host father for 2-3 hours after dinner and I'm still shocked at how easy it felt to converse in another language. They included me on a number of family activities during the weekends and I never felt left out. Attending a nomikai with my host father and his senpai was a blast. I really feel like I became a member of my host family and I will visit them when I return to Kyoto in the future.

SUGGESTIONS

As much as I loved studying with GenkiJACS, I found myself wishing there had been a few more extracurricular activities organized by the school. Information on this and some other topics from the school website, although generally quite detailed and informative, occasionally seemed either out of date or was applicable only to the other schools in the Genki family (perhaps this was a lingering effect of changes due to the pandemic). The Culture Module and the school field trips on public holidays were a lot of fun, but I was not aware of other regular activities at the Kyoto school. For example, I wish their had been an opportunity for some form of language exchange through the school with local Japanese. A movie night was only offered twice during my stay (and of those two times, one needed to be cancelled for logistical reasons), although to their credit this seemed to be an event staff were in the process of restarting. That said, I had a lot of fun solo-traveling around Kyoto and I never felt at a loss for something to do.

CONCLUSIONS

My stay with GenkiJACS Kyoto was a better experience than I could have hoped for, 11-weeks went by far too quickly. I highly recommend the school to anyone who is serious about learning Japanese in a structured, supportive environment. I can't wait to study again at their Fukuoka school in the near future.

Pros
  • The teachers and staff: GenkiJACS really has some of the nicest people I've met
  • The curriculum: the lessons felt purposeful and organized; it felt like we were learning a lot while still being enjoyable
  • The location: Kyoto is a lovely city and the school is right at its heart
Cons
  • Intermediate level Japanese and higher group classes largely unavailable
  • Seemingly fewer social events than some of the other Genki schools
  • It takes an eternity to wait for the traffic light to change to go to the convenience store across the street from the school :)
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