Overall, I am impressed with GenkiJACS. Before coming to study for the winter, I conducted a lot of research through friends and the Internet. GenkiJACS offered the best combination of price, small class size, and personal attention. I got more from the program than I expected, and I hope to come back again before I eventually leave Japan. The fact that I have taken the time to write a detailed review of my experience should indicate how happy I was with the program, and that I would like to see the school continue to grow and become a successful venture for all those involved.
– Fast communication. Almost every email I sent to GenkiJACS before arrival was answered within 24 hours.
– Flexibility. All my requests were met. The program allowed me to save on my home stay fee when I traveled for four days. It also found me a host family with children which I really wanted. I was pleasantly surprised to find a refund of part of my homestay fee to help pay for my travel expenses.
– Comfortable space. The GenkiJACS space is very comfortable, clean, and allows for easy access to the staff. Overall, it provides an intimate environment that is probably not found at bigger, traditional schools.
– Small class size. The intimate size of the program is the number one reason I came to GenkiJACS. I wanted to have plenty of speaking opportunities, and my class sizes ranged from 5 people to just me. The fact that GenkiJACS caps their classes at six people is the main reason I will continue to pick GenkiJACS as my choice of Japanese schools in Japan.
– Wonderful teachers. I primarily studied with four teachers ???g Harumi, Mika, Miyuki, and Akiko. All four were great teachers. They spoke at a pace that was perfect for my level, and only used English when absolutely necessary. Also, all four teachers navigated group classes perfectly. Sometimes I was the lowest level in the class, sometimes the middle, and sometimes the highest. In all cases I felt engaged and that I was learning new material. Particularly:
– Mika and Miyuki were always willing to talk outside of class, providing practice opportunities in a stress-free environment.
– Mika will never let a poorly constructed Japanese phrase go, always pushing students to correct the offending sentence.
– Harumi’s knowledge of the material was really impressive. I previously studied with Minna No Nihongo, and she knew what was covered in my previous textbook and what would be new material and repeat material for me.
All four had very fun and relevant classes and were all able to adjust the lesson pace according to the class, and did not ardently stick to a pre-made lesson plan. I can not say enough great things about these four teachers.
– Self-study pace. There were no tests and no schedules to meet. This means students can learn at their own pace and never feel like they are falling behind or doing poorly. This was very encouraging for my Japanese, as I was able to review the vocabulary and grammar I felt were important and not focus on a predefined curriculum.
– Conversation classes. These were well planned and provided a good chance to practice all the Japanese grammar learned to date.
– Scheduling. I read on the website that some students thought the scheduling could be improved. For me, I had no scheduling issues and was happy with the meeting times.
(Please note, these are only opinions and overall the program was great.)
– No hand soap in the bathroom.
– Aside from the four teachers I mentioned above, there were probably about four other teachers that I had instruction with. My experience with these teachers was mixed. One kept asking if I was familiar with a grammar point every time she used a new one. It drove me crazy to keep answering, especially since I showed her where we were in the text book. Another teacher followed her set lesson plan, even though it was obvious to me that that the other member of the class and myself were already familiar with the grammar point. I nearly lost it with another teacher who annoyed me with her constant use of English and immediate translations, even though I told her more Japanese would be better.
– The free tea has given me an addiction.
– It was a nuisance to have my classes in a different classroom than specified on my schedule. Often before class, I would set up my materials in the scheduled classroom to find that the actual class was held elsewhere. A lot of unnecessary repacking and packing.
– I also noticed a number of classes started late. The general cause were straggling students and the teachers waiting for them. I see no reason why classes should not start on time. As for breaks, I understand that many times we will not take our ten minute rest right on the hour, but in that case, the teacher should specify what time class will reconvene.
– It always feels impersonal to pay one’s host family. For those of us that plan to eat most of our meals with our host family, it would be nice to have an all-inclusive option that includes dinner. These were the only awkward-feeling moments I had with my family.
– A male teacher would be nice.
My experience at GenkJACS was much better than I expected, which is why I have taken the time to write this. Thank you for a good course, and I hope to study at your school again.
Above is the unedited words of the student. We wanted to also add a few comments of our own: we take evaluations very seriously, and we are constantly trying to improve. When we received this evaluation, we straight away called a meeting of teachers to ask them not to use too much English in classes, and put procedures in place to confirm with students in advance how much English they would like in class. We have also managed to find a male teacher! In Japan, Japanese teaching is a female-dominated field, but we are happy to have found at least one man to work with us!
We are also working on keeping classes on time, and in the specified classroom – teachers often like to switch if they need special equipment, etc., but we have set up procedures for this to be communicated to students effectively.
Finally, we are considering offering a set plan including dinners with the host family, to reduce any discomfort at the direct financial transaction.