I began to learn Japanese in high school and I was lucky enough my school offered Japanese classes. Because of my enthusiasm to learn Japanese, I was picked to represent my school on an two-month exchange to our sister school in Japan. The high-school was located in the beautiful Aichi prefecture and I had such a wonderful time. When I returned home, I knew I wanted to go back to Japan and a few years later I got my chance. Internship with Japan Switch.
My Year Abroad
During my year abroad, I learned a great deal; a big one among them: how difficult it was to become proficient in Japanese. There was always a word I didn’t know, a kanji I couldn’t quite figure out, and slang which was impossible to wrap my head around; and I met a lot of foreigners who felt the same.
In addition to my studies, I interned with Japan Switch. I joined as a content marketing intern with not much of an idea of what kind of content I wanted to produce. Per Tyson’s suggestion, him and I collaborated on the “How to Learn Japanese Series.” We wrote every piece with our and other foreigners frustrations with Japanese in mind. I poured all my experiences with Japanese into the pieces and it makes me happy to know another Japanese-learner can benefit from my mistakes.
My Japanese studies have been a mix of formal training and self-study. Like I said previously, I started learning Japanese in high school and during breaks between schooling I self-studied. So needless to say, I know what it’s like on both ends. Both sides offer pro’s and con’s. In fact, there has never been a better time to study Japanese: private classes, Japanese schools, and endless resources online (just to name a few). It all really comes down to preference. I encourage everyone to try out a little bit of everything; you don’t know what’s best for you unless you dip your toes in.
A Life-Long Journey
Studying Japanese is a life-long journey. I can count the years I've been learning Japanese on my two hands and I still feel like I have just scratched the tip of the iceberg. Seriously, what’s the usage difference between は and が?
Although I don’t live in Japan, I try to practice Japanese at least once a day because I know i’m always going to learn something new. If you ever feel yourself stumbling - don’t worry, every single Japanese-learner has been there! Whether you live in Japan or not, I hope our resources will be a big help for you.