Your Experience is What You Make of It

Academics: 5
Support: 5
Fun: 5
Housing: 5
Safety: 5

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.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed