Written by Audrey
Online classes are nothing new right? As students, most of us are taking classes online while some of us are gradually coming back to campus. But I’m pretty sure you know how it feels like to take online classes, including the good and the bad perks. Today, I would like to share my experiences and some tips on learning a completely new language online, in particular the Japanese language. Challenging would be an understatement, but it’s still fun!
Before entering TIU, I only knew hiragana and katakana. I had zero knowledge of the Japanese language, and I never watched anime or listened to J-pop music. As a result, I had to take Japanese classes from the beginner’s level at TIU. Although I am still a baby when it comes to this language, if I were to compare myself to my old self back in September 2020, I think I have made great improvements. Here are some tips I have on learning Japanese from the beginner level, online.
- Create a Japanese environment, especially if you’re not in Japan.
Yes, I have heard many complaints from my peers who are studying Japanese fully online. They have mentioned how hard it is to improve their Japanese when no one in their family speaks the language, and neither do their friends in their home countries. I too experienced the same struggle. However, just recently, I started watching anime for the sake of improving my Japanese. It started before last winter break when one of my Japanese teachers advised me to watch anime during the break so that I won’t forget what I have learned so far.
At first, I didn’t really expect much. However, when I came back to take my Japanese classes, I realized that it has gotten so much easier for me to understand what the teachers are saying in Japanese! Now that I think about it, watching anime almost every day has familiarized me with simple Japanese phrases and daily conversations. Listening to Japanese native speakers’ dialogues had made me feel as if I was in Japan! But if you are not a fan of anime, worry not. There are a number of non-Japanese TV series or movies that are available with Japanese dubbing that you can try to binge-watch.
2. Practice with your friends!
When you surround yourself with people who speak Japanese, you get more chances to practice the language. As practice is an important aspect of learning a new language, gaining connections while improving your Japanese skill is like killing two birds with one stone! Taking Japanese classes at TIU has helped me achieve that. During classes, I had a lot of opportunities to practice speaking Japanese with my classmates, especially through the Breakout Room option in Zoom. Although most of us have a similar level of Japanese ability, we could help correct each other when making mistakes and learn together!
3. Be active.
Achieving something means you have to put in the effort, including taking notes during classes and participating actively. The teachers in Japanese classes at TIU are ready to help you learn Japanese better. So, if you’re ever unsure about the materials in class, don’t be shy to ask for help. There are Terakoya services available at TIU for you to have a one-on-one session with the teachers too. Or, you can also opt to chat with Conversation Partners (CP) who will be more than happy to help you practice Japanese!
Learning a new language is a lifetime journey. I know that there is still a long way to go for me to learn Japanese but I am optimistic that one day I will be fluent! Remember that practice makes perfect. As long as you put in the work, you will reap great results.
Those were some of my tips in learning Japanese online, do you have any other tips? Tell me in the comments!