We moved to our current location in the wonderful Grand Building in spring 2006, about a year after we opened. When we first moved in here, we had 6 classrooms in total, along with a small student lounge, and a tiny space for teachers to prepare. And just in time! At the peak of our second summer, we had 30 students studying at the same time, quite a squeeze!
After the busy summer season was over, the school took teachers on a staff trip to Korea for a well-earned couple of days’ break, and the school settled down for the quieter winter period.
In summer 2007 we had our first big tour groups, in the form of two groups from Finland that filled the school with the beautiful Finnish language for 6 weeks in summer! At the peak, we had 50 students studying together!
In autumn 2007 came a big reorganization, as the school formally became an NPO (non-profit organization), to reflect our mission of social responsibility. This was followed in January 2008 by the hiring of five employees as our first full-time staff. These steps brought the school closer to our goal of being a professional organization that could stand on the world stage. The next step was to fix the school building itself, so in June 2008 we knocked down an adjoining wall and expanded the school to roughly triple its previous size, making the current GenkiJACS you know and love. This gave us 13 permanent classrooms, as well as a spacious lounge, Japanese tea room, study room, and (finally!) a big enough teachers’ room.
In summer 2008, at the peak we had 81 students studying simultaneously, so the bigger school certainly came in handy!
In February 2009, GenkiJACS received an excellence award from one agency we work with, based on an average rating by former students of 4.7 points out of 5, for the second year in a row. Then in May 2009, we were voted by members of the language travel industry as one of the top 6 “other” language schools in the world, at the 2009 LTM Star Awards. This was an incredible award for us after only 4 years in operation, as most of the other shortlisted schools had been open for 20 years or more!
In summer 2009, at our peak, we had 98 students studying at the same time – we only needed two more to make a round 100, but didn’t quite get there!
In autumn of 2009, we reorganized the school again, closing the NPO and moving all functions over to Genki Global corporation, a major step in ensuring the stability of GenkiJACS for years to come. At the same time, Genki Global GenkiJACS became only the third Japanese school ever to be accredited by IALC, the International Association of Language Centres. This was the next major step in transforming GenkiJACS into a world-class school. We were also accepted to join ALTO, the Association of Language Travel Organizations.
Just a month later, we partnered with Fukuoka Seikei Gakuen, another Japanese school in Fukuoka, to offer a combined study course, allowing GenkiJACS students to easily study at Seikei Gakuen on a student visa.
All in all, 2009 was perhaps the biggest year yet for GenkiJACS.
So, in these five years we’ve come a long long way! We’ve been helped along that way by so many wonderful people that it’s impossible to name them all. The teachers and staff have always been the best part of GenkiJACS, and we’ll always be in debt to them. Our host families and shared apartment providers have taken in over a thousand students, and given them experiences they’ll never forget. And the students themselves are the most interesting, fun, weird, beautiful, smart and silly collection of people anyone will ever meet. All of the teachers, staff and students who have come and gone over these five years will be with us forever, in our hearts and memories, and in the history of GenkiJACS. Here’s to 95 more years of GenkiJACS!