Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will Miss #258 - language schools (the good)

A Geos poster, implying that you'll be in one big happy family with foreigners and Japanese alike if you attend their school. Of course, it's too late now since Geos folded.

While there are problems with working at language schools (related mainly to cultural differences and working expectations), the experience carries some unique benefits. The main one is that it is often an ideal environment for newcomers to Japan. You work with a variety of other foreigners with varying levels of experience in Japan. They not only share their knowledge and strategies for getting things done here in a way that fast forwards you through the process of settling in to life in Japan (with all of the complex rules and logistical differences), but they form an instant support network and social group for weathering culture shock. My early days in Japan were spent working at the now defunct Nova conversation school. I made some friends, some very good ones, who helped me cope with the plethora of things I needed to learn. I remember those people well despite the relatively brief time I spent at Nova.

I'll miss the social atmosphere and learning experience of working at language schools.