Challenge accepted: full-time work + intensive course
When Nicolas got the opportunity to work in Tokyo, he jumped at the chance right away since he had always been very fond of Japan.
“The offer was perfect. I was not required to be fluent in Japanese and the overall process was easy. I considered myself very lucky to have found a Japanese company sponsoring me a working visa. However, I had to negotiate my contract without experiencing what life would be like in Tokyo.”
Working in the IT field, Nicolas benefits from a flexible environment, not far from what he experienced in his past jobs.
“My weekly working hours are set, but I can pretty much decide my schedule, leaving me some freedom… That being said, I have to put with quite a lot of overtime compared to my situation in France. It’s just part of the Japanese working culture.
My team is exclusively composed of foreigners, and it has a good atmosphere. We communicate exclusively in English. If I had one regret, is that the only time I get to practice Japanese is through email communication. I would like to speak Japanese at work from time to time.”
As soon as he arrived, Nicolas contacted us to book evening classes. After taking some classes in France, he needed the chance to practice. Nicolas believes it’s essential to be able to communicate in Japanese for his daily life, reading books and watching movies.
“Despite having studied the language, I had actually never spoken very much Japanese. After my arrival, my first conversations were terrible! Speaking in particular was not easy for me.”
The part-time classes he took helped him to improve while working, and last summer he decided to boost himself by studying intensively.
“I think the difficulty with moving to Japan is the language barrier. You experience it as soon as you land in Japan. This barrier is not only in the language, but the culture, the mentality. Sometimes you feel very lonely because even in English you could not connect with people. I could not communicate.”
Arranging his working hours to fit the course schedule was tough, but he is very glad he took on the challenge.
“I negotiated with my employer, and I arranged my work hours to work around the course schedule. That month was tough to say the least. I would study in the morning and get to work afterwards.”
<Nicolas’s summer was challenging. He kept the motivation of studying while working and he is very satisfied to have been able to accomplish a one month course.
“It was hard, but totally worth it. This class helped me improve a lot! Now, I understand so much more of what Japanese people say to me and I’m more comfortable following a conversation. Being able to communicate better is a relief and makes my life easier. I know I have a long road ahead, but everyday I get better.”