Coto Student’s Story: Mark – From Part-time to Full-time Japanese Language Student!

This week, all of our students who enrolled through Coto School Finder have arrived in Japan to start their spring semester! It’s been an exciting time for everyone, including our student, Mark, who recently visited Coto Academy before starting his first week at Evergreen Japanese Language School in Tokyo.

Mark was a former Coto student in 2022. While he was studying part-time with us, he decided that it was finally time to pursue his dreams of living in Japan — and it started through studying full-time. being a part-time student at Coto Academy in 2022, he decided to pursue his dream of living in Japan as a full-time student.

We caught up with Mark and he shared his thoughts about his plans in Japan, as well as his experience using Coto School Finder. Check it out!

Fun fact: Mark has also visited Japan around 30 times, so he’s also here to tell us how moving to Japan long-term is different from just visiting the country!

It’s nice to meet you in person, Mark! Why did you decide to study in Japan?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture and the country itself. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Japan around 30 times already, and each time I’ve had incredibly positive experiences. Even when I was working in Guam, I would use any opportunity to visit Japan whenever I was sent to the States by my company. 

Last year, I finally decided to take the leap and start living in Japan. I thought to myself, “Why should I wait any longer? I’m going to do it!” That’s when I began looking into the process of studying in Japan, and I reached out to Coto School Finder for guidance. Thanks to their assistance, I was able to successfully apply and enroll in the April 2023 term at Evergreen Language School in Tokyo. I’m incredibly grateful for their support throughout the application process.

How did you find out about Coto School Finder?

I found out about Coto School Finder through the Coto Academy website! I really enjoyed visiting Coto’s website and reading their blogs, so when I discovered Coto School Finder, I decided to use their service. I’ve had a great experience with Coto since April 2022, and that’s why I decided to talk to them about finding a school in Japan. I’m putting my trust in their hands because I’m not sure where to go, but I’m confident they will help me find the right school.

How has Coto helped you find the right school and support your application?

Thanks to Coto, my application process was made easy and smooth! One thing I didn’t expect was how important the application form is. During my interview with Evergreen, I was asked a lot of questions and felt a bit nervous, but I’m grateful for Coto’s help in preparing me for it. After the interview, the process was finished, and then I had to wait for the COE, which took a long time to process, as you mentioned. However, I eventually received my COE and my student visa was ready within a week.

You’ve been to Japan a lot of times, but now you’re officially a resident here! How does it feel?

I lived in Guam for 38 years, and I know it’ll be a very big change from Guam to Japan — but I think I made the right decision! Before I left for Japan, I closed everything — sold my belongings and emptied my apartment — and get a fresh start. I was nervous when I began advertising my items, as it was the moment I realized, “This is it! I’m really doing it!” I thought, “Is it a good idea? What if I’m stuck in an empty apartment?” It was a bit scary. But so far, I believe I made the right decision. The last few days since I arrived in Japan have been the most interesting!

How do you find living in Yutenji right now?

I love the neighborhood! I’m going to live in an apartment near the Yutenji station. It’s a very small station in a small neighborhood — perfect to explore around. 

What’s your next goal in learning Japanese?

I took a Japanese class for one year when I was in college, but that was thirty years ago. Since then, my Japanese skill had become non-existent. It wasn’t until around 2020 that I decided to start learning the language again through Coto Academy.

Now that I’m going to study at Evergreen, I’m going to be going into a much more intensive learning environment. I’m hoping that I grow a lot more confident speaking. I want to get to a level where I can be comfortable conversing with Japanese people. I’m hoping that all happened within the next two years.

What are your plans after that?

I haven’t made a decision yet, but I would still want to stay in Japan — that’s what my guts tell me. Where that takes me, I’m not sure. I might consider going to university to study Japanese linguistics. Etymology and kanji have always interested me! Even at my age, there’s always something that fascinated me!

Do you have any advice for those who want to study in Japan, too?

It’s a good idea to visit Japan before making the big decision of moving here, maybe for a month or three months on a tourist visa. I’ve been here about 30 times, so I know that I love Japan. For people who don’t have much experience with Japan, I think attending short-term courses like the ones provided at Coto Academy can help.

I would also advise being flexible and going with the flow. No matter how well-prepared your application is, if you’re not adaptable to changes, you’ll be frustrated in Japan. For me, I expect things not to go according to plan, and I laugh about it and work towards solving the problem. I think that’s my biggest piece of advice. Even getting lost can be interesting because you get to explore the neighborhood! 

Want to study abroad in Japan? Use Coto School Finder’s free service!

If you are considering studying abroad in Japan, Coto School Finder offers a free service that will assist you in finding the perfect school and applying for a student visa. Ready to start your study abroad journey in Japan? Contact us for a free support and online consultation — our coordinators will stay in touch soon!


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