KICL (Kyoto Institute of Culture and Language) is a Japanese language school based in Sakyo ward, NE of downtown Kyoto. It’s a great language school with connections to sister schools allowing a more university campus lifestyle. When I first came to Kyoto I met some other language students but from another school, ARC Academy, and when they heard that I was going to be attending KICL, they were all shocked and asked isn’t it going to be difficult? I honestly had no idea what was in store.
I specifically chose KICL over ARC Academy because of the campus life available through KICL’s sister schools.
Although I do not know the specifics of ARC Academy’s requirements, standards and pace, I can vouch for KICL being a tough language school. KICL is known for giving their students the abilities to attend a Japanese university or find work in Japan, thus their syllabus is mainly geared towards that objective. Whatever your reason for studying Japanese is, you will learn what you need to learn here at KICL.
You will learn Japanese here at this school.
- They only teach in Japanese and even without knowing any Japanese beforehand, you will learn to understand everything in the classroom.
- If you are a complete beginner, do not worry, there are translated materials allowing a much easier transition. From what I know, they have English, French, Italian, Thai, Chinese/Taiwanese, and Indonesian. The textbook is the almighty Minna no Nihongo so there might be other languages as well.
5 days a week, Monday through Friday.
- Normal classes are held M-F from 9am-12:30pm. There are two other mandatory afternoon classes which was Tuesday and Thursday last semester, but this semester they have one afternoon class varying depending on your JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) level.
- Yes, one of the two mandatory afternoon classes is a JLPT class. You will be provided a JLPT textbook and go over practice problems once a week in hopes to prepare you for the exam. Even if you do not plan to take the exam, you are required to go to class. I will say that even if you have no interest in the JLPT, the class is good in enforcing what you learn during regular class and even help you learn more material.
- The other afternoon class is a supplemental class providing information on Japan, it’s culture and such. Although it may seem overwhelming, and you will probably think it is overwhelming when you start, in the end it is a great way to be exposed to the Japanese language and culture.
From day one you are to study grammar, writing, reading, speaking, and listening.
- It will be challenging but it’s a great format for all kind of learners. For me, it’s difficult for me to learn and remember new vocabulary without seeing it in writing. Others may learn better from hearing new vocabulary, either way you will be pushed to utilize what you learn through the textbook and class towards grammar, writing, reading, speaking and listening.
- Since it is difficult to cover all five grounds at the same time, some may feel that one is more emphasized than the other. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted out of learning Japanese, but I knew that I wanted to be able to carry out conversations in Japanese. Knowing that, I soon came to realize that we didn’t have enough conversation time during classes. The classes are interactive, but for me not knowing any other foreign languages at the time, being able to think and speak in a new language came last.
- But if you take into consideration that this language school is known for getting their students to universities or find a job, it may make sense that they would focus less on conversational skills. Or that it will come naturally once you know the basic grammar and vocabulary. Well, what I’m saying is that it’s a common complaint about KICL amongst its students.
Also, I would like to point out that there are more language schools other than ARC Academy and KICL. I think that these two are simply the most popular or well-known at the moment. There are a lot of other language schools in this university city.