KCP International Japanese Language School

KCP International

About

KCP International Japanese Language School provides students with a unique opportunity to learn Japanese through immersion. While most students are from other parts of Asia and instruction is in Japanese, English-speaking staff are available to provide language support and help. It is a highly challenging, immersion program all within the Tokyo's exciting culture. Visit the KCP International website to learn more about courses.

Founded
1983
Headquarters

KCP International USA PO Box 28028
Bellingham, WA 98228
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Keira
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spending the summer in Tokyo, Japan was a life changing experience for many reasons. The KCP International Japanese Language School is a true gem and I consider myself incredibly blessed to have had this opportunity.

KCP provides an intensive language course (which is very manageable if you put the work in!) and many culturally immersive experiences. This school is a great way to learn the Japanese language thoroughly at a quick rate and gain a better understanding and experience of Japanese culture.

On top of the school experience, Tokyo in general is an amazing place to be. Every day in Tokyo was a brilliant new adventure and I cherish every moment I had there. I would recommend anyone to go to Tokyo.

Studying abroad in Japan changed my life for the better - if you get the chance to, go for it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Find a balance! The school work can be intense, but it is manageable. You don't want to spend your whole time in Japan with your face in a textbook. Make sure you also take plenty of time to explore and meet new people. Japan is full of adventures!
Default avatar
Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

KCP was absolutely incredible as far as academics and just general experience especially, even though, as everyone says, it is a lot of work, in class and outside of class. Realistically, though, learning language takes a lot of work, so I think it's appropriate. The teachers and staff are, for the most part, absolutely incredible, and genuinely care about you. Most of them make class entertaining, even, which I think takes a lot of effort, and without taking away from the lesson. They put in so much time, and most of the teachers really make sure all of the class is engaged and speaking for the majority of the class. Don't be afraid to ask questions after your classes! I found some of the most helpful times were when I did.

Most of your classmates will be from Asian countries. My class was primarily from Korea and China, with one guy from Taiwan, which means you will really need to use your Japanese, because even though a lot of them know some English, it's limited. If you test into any level above 1, then I think you have to put more effort to connect to your classmates who are not English-speaking, because a lot of them are already friends from level 1. However, I was able to hang out with them outside of class eventually, and it was really a rewarding experience! Both just for having great friends and fun, as well as helping with my Japanese. I even had to learn more kanji to get my Chinese-speaking classmates to understand what I was saying in Japanese, because sometimes, if they didn't know the word I was using (or if I was mispronouncing it or something), I would write the kanji, so that was kind of a fun challenge.

The way the classes are organized, is Monday through Friday, you meet with your regular classmates, which are primarily from Korea and China, and on the weekends you have the option of the culture class, which includes school trips, which is only English-speaking students. Since you have a lot of time outside of class on the trips to bond with English-speaking students, it's easier, but getting connected with your non-English-speaking classmates Monday - Friday, especially if you are higher than level 1, is difficult. KCP knows this, so they host the BBQ, during school hours, a couple weeks after class begins. This is the only school-required trip/bonding opportunity that you'll have outside of class with your classmates that don't speak English. Initially I was dreading this BBQ, but, it actually really helps with connecting with your classmates who are non-English-speaking. Keeping this in mind, you get out what you put in. I had an English-speaking classmate who didn't speak as much to his classmates who were not English-speaking, and I feel, he kind of missed out on connecting with some of his classmates for the rest of the time in class.

I found my own housing, because for me, I thought KCP housing was pricey. However, this decision also will change your experience a lot, because for me, I had to work pretty hard to get community, whereas a lot of the students who lived in the dorms had a lot more community. When you're in Japan, the community doesn't come to you, so you really have to seek that out. Some of the people I knew who had host families had a great experience with it, and others, not the best, so it's kind of hit-or-miss with that. As for the people I knew in the dorms, they definitely had more community, but some of them also had more drama, so...I guess you have to pick and choose.

The culture trips were loads of fun. I audited the culture class, because I didn't need the credits, so I just went on the trips. They were really incredible, and pretty well-planned! The only thing that is a bit funny, is they only pay for your fare (train, subway, etc.) one-way, so sometimes I would walk home to save money, and I lived pretty far. (Japan is a lot safer, so even for females, so you can usually do this, but be careful regardless.) Definitely the favorite of most people was the overnight Yamanashi trip. I would say be careful with spending money, because a lot of my classmates spent too much in the beginning, and were tight on money at the end of the three month period, and most of us didn't have a visa, so we were unable to work.

The one thing I wish I had maybe done more was take advantage of some of the clubs that KCP offers outside of school. They have a whole bunch, some of which you have to be in a certain level to be in, because the vocabulary is more difficult. KCP tries to make extra opportunities for Japanese speaking, too, such as a Japanese cooking class, where we teamed up with local Japanese university students, and learned how to make oyako-don.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe a way to help students who are discouraged. Some of my classmates definitely got discouraged, and some of the English-speaking students felt pretty lost, having it be their first time in another country. Some of them it was even their first time living on their own.
Default avatar
Kaisu
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

KCP's Japanese course is an intensive learning experience with more emphasis on learning Japanese than having lot's of free time - however, if you spend your time wisely you can both learn Japanese and get to know Tokyo while studying at KCP International Japanese language school. It came to me as somewhat of a surprise that the pace of the course was so intensive and that I, with minimal Japanese skills was at class with students some of whom had studied Japanese for two years in China or Korea. Then again, had this not been the case I don't think I would have learned as much as I did.

I started with little to none Japanese skills and while my first three weeks were a little rough balancing between fun free time activities and sightseeing in Tokyo and catching up with the basic Japanese skills, studying at KCP was a good learning experience and I gained what I wanted: good basic Japanese language skills to build up on.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I really liked the visit the school organized to see Kabuki theater at the National Theatre as well as participating in a tea ceremony.
Default avatar
Kumiko
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I feel like I learned more refined Japanese at KCP than 3 years at American school. KCP teaches you grammar that is useful in daily conversation and since it's located in Japan, you can use what you learn in class literally right after is school is over. Since the main classes is only in Japanese, it forces the mind to start thinking quickly in Japanese to only respond in Japanese. It sounds scary at first but I am honestly grateful for this style because the rest of the country is in Japanese so it's realistic.

Everyone at the school from the teachers to the office staff were willing to go above and beyond to make sure any problem was 100% addressed and solved to the best of their ability. There was a point where everyone started to become like friends or even family and I found myself enthusiastic every single day - even on weekend classes - to spend time with them.
I'm so sad that I was only able to spend a short time at KCP but so happy for the long-lasting memories I'll have of it!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely hang out with the other international students more. Since the American program has a lot of other classes and programs outside of the regular classes, we tended to hang out a lot more. I wish that I made friends with my classmates more and hung out with them outside of school more. Hanging out with them made me understand other cultures besides Japanese which was an amazing opportunities.
Default avatar
Jordan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I completed 6 months at KCP. I love the teachers, the staff, and the friends I have made here. One day I needed to visit the doctor and I was accompanied the entire way there and my appointment was fully set up by the school staff. This school will take care of any of your needs including doctors visits, discounted rail pass tickets, any mail that you receive that you have a question about, etc. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The classes are a small enough size that everyone can get enough attention and they are typically set up in a “U” shape to get everyone comfortable with speaking Japanese and becoming friendly with one another. I had a fantastic time at this school and although the classes weren’t a cakewalk, I came to Japan with no Japanese background and now feel comfortable speaking in conversations with people and will continue my study at home!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Study hiragana, katakana, and some kanji before arriving. Also, get familiar with the layout of your neighborhood, the train systems, and things near the school/your home before you arrive. It will make it easier to adjust and understand how to get around Tokyo!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Sasha-Rae Moore

Third year university student, studying Japanese and Chinese language and culture.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose KCP because it gave me ease regarding tuition cost and inclusion, as well as provided a very immersive system to enhance Japanese language proficiency. Also, being around the hub of Shinjuku, KCP is in a great area and there's always something to do. KCP is also a very renowned school so even entering in level 1, you advance further than you would in your average Japanese class in America.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My university assisted me with the everything but my airfare. Tuition cost total, room and board, meal plans and commute was all provided for me. And KCP provided support at all times. Myself, I had to organize the documents and airfare in order to complete the student application process. Regarding the Embassy, my school also helped and set up for me the necessary information so that I was listed as a student overseas in their registry.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

If you choose KCP, go with a serious mindset on learning Japanese but also take time to explore and LIVE in Japan. Also, don't be afraid to meet new people at restaurants, izakaya's, clubs, etc. In Japan, coming from America, everything is extremely inexpensive except for clothes. So enjoy as much of the food and convenience stores as you can because there's always something new you missed the last time.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The average week consisted of leaving my apartment/dorm at about 11am to catch the first train from Kasai to Otemachi. From there, I'd switch to my second and final train to Shinjuku, and study/talk with friends in the lunchroom until 1pm, when class started.

Because I was entering as level two, our classes consisted of conversation, grammar, Kanji and an essay portion in every class. In one week, you had three different teachers who had specific focuses. For example: Mon - Teacher A (grammar), Tue - Teacher B (conversation), Wed - Teacher C (essay and Kanji), Thurs - Teacher B, Fri - Teacher C.

Class then ended at 4:45pm. By then it got pretty dark outside so you could either head home to complete homework or go out to eat/hang out with friends before it became too late.

On the weekends, we would usually have a culture excursion, which included a morning lecture and an afternoon venture to a city within Tokyo as a group for full immersion.

The rest is what you make of it with new friends and experiences.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was if I would keep my shy personality and be unable to open up to people I didn't know. However, I have very good Japanese friends regardless, so with their help and with the activities completed in class to know my classmates more, I was able to open up and probably be the most verbal of my peers. Going out and enjoying Japan for what it was gave me confidence.

Is this what you really want?

Before you choose KCP or any school abroad, really think about where you want to go in the future by participating. You can think of it as an opportunity to just have fun or a stepping stone to more opportunities for your future. Not everyone gets to study abroad but those who do and dive into the new culture without fear will tell you it's an experience you choose for yourself. Is it for a future job? School credits? Personal interest? Language proficiency?

Whatever the answer, really think about it. And if you don't know at the moment then follow your gut, follow your dream or goal or interest. See what the world is for yourself, then make the decision that will change your life forever.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Tomohisa Tanaka

Job Title
On-site Program Director
Mr. Tanaka first encountered a foreign country, its people, and its culture during a three-year stay in the US as a child. In the process of learning English for survival, he became fond of American–English movies and humor. He started working for KCP as a student coordinator in 2001 and has worked for the program and its students since then. As a personal interest, he has trained in martial arts through the lens of katana.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

teacher and student in main lounge holding mustaches

Tomohisa: For us it’s the dedication of faculty and staff. Given the mission of Japanese immersion, they run with it: they really go out of their way to support the goals of people who study at KCP.

Faculty respect students’ diversity while at the same time teaching them the Japanese language, culture, and ways of thinking.

KCP is a place where people from a number of different countries gather together and study. By studying with colleagues from different parts of the world, students get naturally motivated to understand not only about Japan but also about other countries and cultures.

Motivation is a tricky thing: you can’t teach it. But you can provide a setting where it arises on its own. KCP, with its exceptionally dedicated mentors, mandate for all-Japanese-all-the-time, and multi-cultural setting, has found a winning formula for accelerated Japanese learning.

What was your favorite traveling experience?

Tomohisa: A trip in Thailand was very challenging and fun. Since for much of the trip neither English nor Japanese were useful, I was able to channel the experience of my students. Finding my own ways was quite an adventure.

Walking through traditional downtowns for hours visiting temples and feeling the breath of the country was very stunning and absorbing. In the Thai language I knew only “Hello” and “Thank you.” It’s amazing how well those two words helped me communicate with people in town. I thank the patient, accepting people of Thailand! I also had the great joy of encountering some graduate students and people whom I know in the country. Unexpected reunions bring a sense of magic to a journey.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of the KCP International team.

Tomohisa: Study at KCP is exceedingly intensive, which makes this place the best place to learn for those who are serious in studying Japanese. One day in the main office building I witnessed students from quite a few different countries all naturally using Japanese as common language in the school in their daily life—to each other and to KCP faculty and staff.

This has been repeated many times, but on this particular day, I first felt the supreme satisfaction of having helped these students make a sustained, deep cognitive effort to extend their language abilities well beyond what they thought was possible. It was powerful and remains so, every day!

It is also my profound pleasure to hear from students who completed their study at KCP that their study abroad experience was very memorable and productive even though they faced ups and downs in their study abroad life in Japan. I am glad to have taken part in such an important time in their lives.

What does the future hold for KCP International - any exciting new programs to share?

Tomohisa: KCP has just built a fabulous new main building on its campus. Of course it adds more space, which means more opportunities for new programs and expansion. Some of our new ventures include a program in teaching English as a second language, bringing more Japanese classes on campus, and faculty led programming. And the new building includes both a tea-ceremony room and a lovely rooftop garden, for a quiet retreat.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Tomohisa: I think the absolute most important factor in succeeding at what we do is our faculty and staff. They are by far our most important resource. The support staff is incredibly responsive to the needs of students—whether they are trying to attend an unusual event and need help, are sick and need medical care, or have some housing issues.

The teaching faculty receives the absolute highest marks from students for dedication, kindness, teaching ability, and focus on each student’s individual challenges. These are the components that KCP alumni mention the most frequently when describing the benefits of the program: that the faculty and staff really make it possible for students to achieve astounding Japanese language proficiency

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