Learning to read and write in a foreign language can be challenging but it also comes with a long set of advantages. Being able to study a new language, gives you insight not only into the linguistic aspect of the language but also to the culture and people who speak that language as a native tongue.
International language programs are available throughout the US. They are created to help English speakers study and learn the skills to be able to communicate with the international community.
Language schools and online platforms can help you connect with language tutoring services in your area for either group or private lessons.
Learning a foreign language such as Japanese can help you connect to the Land of the Rising Sun!
Some Chicagoans are first attracted to the Japanese language because they admire the Japanese culture or entertainment and later learn about all of the additional benefits such as connection to a top economy and access to easy travel experiences.
In the Windy City, you can find a Japanese course at a local college or cultural center. From day one of the lessons, instructors are ready to teach students everything they need to know to reach a high level of fluency. In addition to instructor-guided tutoring, students should also take the time to practice each lesson on their own. This will help students increase their linguistic skills in no time.
Reasons to Learn Japanese
There are plenty of reasons why Chicagoans choose to take Japanese lessons. The Japanese have an intriguing culture, language, and philosophy on life, very different than that of the Western world.
By learning Japanese you will be able to speak to the 127 million native Japanese speakers in Japan and different Japanese community pockets around the world.
The following are just the top reasons why you should learn Japanese, you’ll find plenty more reasons throughout your education journey as a Japanese student.
- Japan has a rich history and culture - as you learn about reading, speaking, and writing in Japanese, you will also be learning about their two-thousand-year-old civilization. This rich history includes popular cultural phenomena as Noh theatre, Kabuki, Japanese martial arts, and the art of Japanese gardening.
- Reading manga in Japanese - there is a large group of Japanese students who originally choose to learn Japanese because of their deep love for manga and Japanese anime. Once they learn the language, their opportunities open to reading all manga, and not just the translated versions. Being able to read manga in its original form can make all of the tutoring worthwhile. You can even ask your instructor to assign you manga as practice reading material.
- Visit Japan with ease - visiting Japanese cities like Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka can be a lot easier if you speak the local language. Non-japanese speaking tourists can generally get around easily with English, but if you are hoping to explore more remote cities or islands, it will be a great advantage for you to know some Japanese.
- Expand your business - Japan is the third-largest economy in the world, making its economic sectors one for the most sought out markets. If you are hoping to bring your business into the eyes of the Japanese it will help a great amount for you to understand Japanese and be better capable to communicate to the Japanese consumers in their native tongue.
- Exploring a whole new gastronomical world - the Japanese culinary culture is world-renowned. During your lessons, you will learn culinary words such as sukiyaki, tempura, sushi, and sashimi. You might even get to taste some for yourself!
During your Japanese lessons, you will not only learn a new language but learn about the history, gastronomy, and culture of Japan. It will open your eyes to a whole new world experience and community.
Best Places for Japanese Lessons In Chicago
Taking Japanese lessons in the city can look different for everyone. Some students choose to take in-person programs at a local university or a langue school. Others choose to take their private language lesson either in person or online.
Each tutoring lesson will be structured differently as the student learns to read and write at a new level each day.
If you are hoping to take an in-person group class you can check out the Japan America Society of Chicago and the Japanese Culture Center. These education opportunities are available for English speakers.
The Japan America Society Of Chicago
This is a not-for-profit organization that has a variety of language programs. Their goal is to
“foster understanding between our two cultures, to cultivate personal friendship between our two people”
All of their language courses are taught by native Japanese speakers and serve students of all levels including beginners. They note that their classes are great for those looking to communicate with other native Japanese speakers or those looking to travel Japan with ease. They also offer courses for Chicagoans looking to move and settle in Japan.
These courses delve deeper into the country's culture, rituals, and history.
Japanese Culture Center
This cultural centre in the heart of Chicago has been around since 1977. The centre not only offers Japanese language courses but it serves as a meeting point for all Chicagoans interested in Japan.
At the Japanese Culture Center, you can also participate in other activities which as Karate or more artistic activities like calligraphy or flower arrangement. They also offer tea ceremony course for those looking for a glance into the intricacies of tea arts in Japan.
If you are looking for a more personalized approach to your Japanese lessons you can consider a personal language teacher. Private tutors can offer flexibility and personalization that other group courses can not. With a personal teacher, they can adapt the lesson plans to fit your schedule and learning level.
You can find a Japanese tutor in Chicago or any other US city, using platforms such as Superprof. On Superprof you can view bios and reviews for a multitude of instructors and even contact them directly through the platform. Most Superprof tutors also offer a free trial class!
Tutors are also available for online education if you prefer to learn from your home.
How To Choose Your Japanese Tutor?
Choosing your Japanese tutor is the first step to taking on this new and exciting language. You’ll only be able to choose your tutor if you are taking private lessons. Most group classes are taught by a predesignated instructor.
Superprof and other platforms will give you a variety of tutors to choose from. The key is choosing one that is going to help you reach all of your language goals. To do so, you must first establish what kind of program you are looking for. Once you define your preferences then you will be able to narrow down your choices.
Your search should include tutors available to teach your skill level, within your preferred location, and within your budget.
Using the Superprof platform you can compare and contrast different tutors.
Make sure that you choose a tutor who is either a native Japanese speaker or someone who has reached full fluency. Ask about their credentials, pedagogy, and years of experience as a tutor.
Superprof tutors usually offer one free trial class so that you can check out the tutor's teaching style and make sure it works for you.
Learning Japanese At A Chicago University
Students enrolled in a Chicago university or college, your school possibly offers Japanese language classes.
The University of Chicago’s East Asian Languages and Civilisation Department offers a multitude of class options that you can receive college credit for and schedule in as electives.
The classes offer to teach each student a mix of linguistic elements as well as the cultural aspects of Japan.
During a semester course you will be taught about:
After taking a couple of Japanese courses you might even be able to add it as a second major or minor to your degree.
If you are enrolled at Northwestern University their Department of Asian Languages and Cultures offers similar language courses to those provided at the University of Chicago. Northwestern also offers its students the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in Japanese culture and language with a semester-long study abroad program. Schools offer both the teacher and the student the opportunity to have first-hand contact with Japan.
You can find similar college language departments in universities such as The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.