Coto Student's Story: Lauren – Learning Japanese and passing the JLPT N2

What is your name and why did you choose to study Japanese at Coto?

“My name is Lauren and when I first came to Japan, I was living in Shiga prefecture, which is really, really rural and my Japanese skills were really, really basic. So there weren’t many opportunities to formally study Japanese and when I was moving to Kanto, I decided that I should take advantage of the fact that Tokyo had a lot of Japanese language schools. So when I was researching the different types of Japanese language classes that were available, I found Coto. The website was really nicely organized, it was really easy to understand. I saw they had many different types of classes so I decided to come and try to take a trial lesson. I really liked it and I’ve been coming back here for 3 years.”

What classes are you currently taking?

“My current Japanese level is N2, so right now, I am taking the N1 grammar class and I am also taking the advanced explanation training class.”

What do you like about studying at Coto?

“I think what I like the most about studying at Coto is that they have a variety of different classes at a variety of different levels, so whether it’s daily expressions that you might encounter or use in your everyday life, or if you need to take business Japanese, or if you are studying for the JLPT – basically whatever your needs might be, I think Coto has a class to help you. In addition to that, the class sizes are kept at about 8 students, so it’s really small. You can still get corrective feedback or help from the teacher, but also it’s intimate in that you kind of get to know the people that you are studying with, and that really helps to relax everything and you feel more comfortable experiencing the language with everyone.”

How would you say you’ve improved since starting at Coto?

“My Japanese was really, really basic when I first started taking lessons at Coto. But ever since then, I have been steadily improving. Actually, after I started taking classes here for 6 months, some of my Japanese coworkers even told me that I seemed like my Japanese was really improving, and that was a huge boost for me. A year after I started taking classes at Coto, I passed the JLPT N3, that was 2017. Last December 2018, I passed the N2.”

Is Coto a good fit for everyone?

“I think the type of people that would really fit well with the school are people who are passionate about learning Japanese, people who like to study but also people who are casual and like to have fun. One of the great things about Coto is the relaxed and casual environment, in the school itself but also in the classes, and I think that that helps keep everybody motivated and calm when we’re trying to learn the language, and we do learn a lot in the classes so I think having those connections with everybody really does help things.”

What do you think is challenging about Japanese?

“I think for me, the most challenging part about learning Japanese, and this is a personal thing from within myself, is just a general lack of confidence. I have taken a lot of different types of classes here at Coto and that has really helped me improve my fluency. I am able to be more independent and self-sufficient in many different facets of my life now. I remember I used to dread picking up the phone to call my city office or to even make a doctor’s appointment for myself, but slowly over time, I was able to build up my confidence from practicing the language with other students, getting help from the teachers and just being encouraged at classes, it really helped me get over that. Now I am a little more self-sufficient and independent, and I can relax and enjoy my life in Japan more.”

What is your next goal with learning Japanese?

“Right now I am taking the N1 grammar class, so definitely I would say that my next big goal would be to take and pass the N1.”

Do you have a favorite teacher?

“My favorite teacher at Coto is also my first teacher at Coto and that would be Shimizu Sensei. I really liked taking her classes, the first class that I took was natural and fluent which is where you learn a different grammar point every week and she would always introduce the grammar in a way that was easy to understand, using language that we already knew, and I really felt that I learned so much from her classes.”


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