Students’ Voices

TIJ Experience

Melissa Melin from USA


As part of the Clark College Japan Study Abroad program, I was able to attend the Tokyo Institute of Japanese in Shinkoiwa during the two weeks our group spent in Tokyo. While all my other classmates were in the beginning language classes I was the only one to be put in the intermediate class.  I remember distinctly my first day, it was a great culture shock for me, because I was placed in a class apart from my classmates and didn’t really know what was going to happen. It was unnerving being the only one in a altogether new class, but thankfully it did not last long. After coming into the class, I spent a quite of bit of time on answering questions about myself and about America. It was really interesting to find out that most of the class was at ease with asking me questions and really made me feel comfortable to become involved in the class and make friends with the other students learning Japanese alongside me.  As I spent more time at TIJ I was astonished from how much my Japanese ability improved from when I first started. With the help of the teachers, my ability to understand and learn from the lessons and responding to the questions in Japanese grew drastically. I was able to remember and use old vocabulary and grammar structures and my confidence grew as a result. Having other foreign students in class also helped me because I was introduced to having a vast majority of my classmates from different countries and cultures. I’m currently studying at Brigham Young University: Hawaii with the largest population of International students (50%), and it didn’t feel uneasy to have the majority of my classmates from China, Japan, Indonesia, etc, because of my experience in my intermediate class.  Overall, my experience with the Tokyo Institute of Japanese in Shinkoiwa prepared me for my Japanese studies at Brigham Young University: Hawaii. I have confidence in my Japanese ability and am eagerly striving for fluency of the language through my Japanese language courses and through interactions with friends I’ve made in Shinkoiwa. Also, the diverse classroom setting and the considerate and brilliant teachers helped to introduce me to the style my future classes at BYU Hawaii would be like and made the transition from Clark College to BYU Hawaii easier. I will never forget the great teachers and classmates at TIJ who helped me to increase my ability and learn more about Japan through my studies and will always be grateful for the time and dedication they have given their students and allowing the Clark College group to come and attend lessons from them. Thank You! 


Students’ Voice

Phillip Hale from Australia


I had been living in Japan for 5 and 1/2 years. Over this time I had made many friends, both English speaking and Japanese. Over this time I had picked up conversational Japanese and thought I could “get by” quite well, which I could. However my friends used to often joke that I didn’t speak Japanese but an unusual dialect that I had created from many strange grammatical errors and misuse of words. I also could not write or read.  I started contemplating going to school, however I hate textbooks and just don’t have the motivation to study alone, especially kanji. A Japanese friend with whom I work recommended TIJ to me. After a free lesson I felt that TIJ provided great environment from which I thought I could devote some time to study. After 4 months my friends have commented how much my Japanese ability has improved. Not only my grammar, but situational vocabulary, nuance, politeness, the ability to self correct and to explain my ideas. I have noticed that in my everyday life in Japan I am finding it easier to read also! I attribute this to the structure of TIJ lessons, which builds a firm language foundation; its self produced texts and curricula which are comprehensive, easy to understand, relevant and interesting; excellent teachers, interesting and fun classmates and a friendly environment. I now enjoy studying everyday!! I would recommend anyone who wants to study Japanese to go to TIJ. Here you can study relevant Japanese for you in a comfortable and inspiring environment.  

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