How to Succeed in your Japanese Studies

Vol. 3 - Christina Ibarreta

success1.jpgI have always had a strong interest in learning the Japanese language. Finally, my urge to learn got the better of me. It is not something that I have to learn, it is something that I want to do - just because, and that was enough reason for me to decide to go for it.

I came to Aitas with probably three mastered Japanese words: sushi, sashimi and sake. With these three words I attended my first class knowing beforehand that it was going to be taught solely in Japanese. Rather than being sceptical, I came with an open mind and full of excitement. I was pleasantly surprised with my first class. "I actually get it.", I thought to myself.

From that time on, I would always look forward to the next lesson. How often does one get to say this? "Doing my homework is fun." I do not mind having to write my essays. It helps me apply what I have learned in class. It certainly helps me think in Japanese and I gradually find myself thinking about my daily activities in Japanese.

Conversation is a different matter altogether. I sometimes forget about grammatically correct sentences. What is important in that exact moment is getting my point across, and what a sense of accomplishment when the other person nods and says, "Sou". To converse is difficult but that does not discourage me from participating in the Conversation Club; nor does it deter me from trying to speak as much Japanese as I can.

After all, practice makes perfect. Learning Japanese is fun. There are various resources available for improvement. I listen to JPop music which I find enjoyable. I watch Japanese shows which are very entertaining. I have games for building vocabulary. It is even possible to make studying, the puzzle that is called Kanji, fun. Making it fun is a key part to my learning. Each day I discover something new, a word or an expression. I am never without my handy electronic dictionary. Remembering the words is not easy. However, my best motivator is challenging myself.

Now, it has been four levels since my first class and I have definitely progressed from my three mastered Japanese words. I am now able to express myself better. There is still a ways to go, but I know that I have a good foundation to build upon, thanks to Aitas.

(Level 4 Completed in August, 2010)

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