Study Japanese in Japan
Costs and charges for a period of study in Japan
How to get organized for a period of study in Japan
List of Japanese schools for foreigners in Japan
There is no degree or Japanese course in any country in the world that makes you acquire the same skills that are acquired directly going to study in Japan. This is true for all languages, but even more so for languages completely different from ours as oriental languages (studying Japanese or Chinese is not like learning English or French).
If you want to speak Japanese seriously, to include "Japanese" to the spoken languages
section of your curriculum vitae, a study trip to in Japan is absolutely necessary
, at least 3 months if you already have a quite good knowledge
, or at least six months or better one year.
A separate matter is acquiring the ability to read and write, for which your studies really will never
Keep in mind that many schools offer courses to prepare the student to be able to attend a university in Japan without problems, and this type of course usually lasts from one year and a half to two years.
Costs of a period of study in Japan
I put this section in the top of the page because, unfortunately, this is a serious problem, you need a ton of money
to study in Japan.
If you are about to embark on a university course of study of Oriental languages in your country, and you are aware that your family will not have enough disposable income to send you to study in Japan, immediately inquire about the requirements of any scholarships and study like crazy to win it, or try find a job and be prepared to make sacrifices.
A degree in Oriental languages without having a substantial experience of studying in Japan (or China, or Korea, etc.) is good for nothing, and who is telling you this, is a student who is specializing in Chinese and has passed all the exams of language with the highest marks.
(of course this paragraph is aimed at those who come from a Western country)
Of course there are more or less expensive schools, as well as more or less convenient accommodations. I write here a series of average generic costs to give an idea of the money needed:
: a intensive course of Japanese at a school for foreigners costs at least
150,000 yen (3 months), 400,000 yen (6 months), 600,000 yen (one year);
: it depends on the type of accommodation and also from the city. In Osaka, one of the least expensive cities, a shared room in a dormitory (one of the less pretentious accommodation) costs at least 30,000 yen per month, a private room at least 45,000 yen per month, a host family around 40,000 yen per month. Tokyo and Kyoto are the most expensive cities;
: To make just a decent life, you should consider about 30,000 yen per month. Of course you always could eat white rice and instant noodles, in that case you can live with even with 15,000 yen per month, if you can survive though!
: when you choose the accommodation, it is good to choose it not far from the school, so that you can reach it on foot. In Japan in fact there aren't global passes as in many other countries in the world, for example you can't buy a "Tokyo metro monthly pass", but you can just buy a commuter pass for individual routes, for example, a hypothetical route home-school, and a commuter pass like this usually costs about 3,000-4,000 yen per month if you can buy the student pass (but not always foreigners studying in a language school can buy this kind of pass), otherwise it costs from 6,000 yen up. You should then add all the journeys to other places in the city to this fixed fee (a metro ride costs between 130 and 200 yen). In this case too, you can decide to stay in the neighborhood where you will live without moving, and spend zero yen in transport, if you don't go crazy!
To live just a normal life, consider about 5,000 yen per month of metro journeys (to which to add the monthly pass money if you don't live near the school);
Other expenses and stockpile
: This section can be 0 (zero) yen if you want to go to Japan just to eat, sleep and study, which is not an utopian thing to do, it can be done.
Doing a bit of social life without great extra costs (and it would also be a good thing to practice the language and make life experiences) is a possible thing too, going out occasionally to drink in some izakaya, or going somewhere (karaoke, cinema, various parks) with some guy/girl. I only say to be careful, go out no more than once a week, because the money could end at top speed depending on the places visited.
If you also want to go around the country, the money needed increases much, prices of trains and planes on the domestic market are very high (one roundtrip ticket for the Tokyo-Osaka shinkansen costs about 27,000 yen).
Consider also that you are going to the other side of the world, you can not leave with just the counted money that you think you'll spend, any unexpected might happen and you could find yourself in serious troubles. It is good to have your parents or someone you trust with good disposable income ready to send the money in case of dire need.
: Over a period of study in Osaka for 6 months, staying in a private room, you need 400,000 yen for the school + 270,000 yen for the accomodation (45,000 x 6) + 180,000 yen for food (300,000 x 6) + 36,000 yen of urban transports (6,000 x 6) + 50,000 yen for generic extra charges for all 6 months = 936,000 YEN
or 8,225 EUROS
or 10,617 DOLLARS
with the current currency exchange (1 euro = 113,8 yen, 1 dollar = 88,16 yen).
With this money you can study in one of the least expensive cities (Osaka) for 6 months, staying in a private room (not shared) with a decent budget for food and very little extra money for all the period (50,000 yen are little, for example just one trip to Tokyo of 2/3 days could take you away all or most of these money extra).
How to organize a study trip in Japan
If you are facing a study trip for the first time, I suggest you consult this association, GoGoNihon
), an international association founded by an Italian guy who helps you in everything: for the choice of school, for housing, to make the necessary visa, and for any other problem or question.