Summer Short alum Won Young Choi on KCP and Japan (Part 1)

In this 2-part post, Summer Short-term 2018 alum Won Young Choi reveals to us a closer look at the program and shares tips on commuting. Thanks for sharing!

It’s already been over two years since going to Japan for the 8-week KCP Summer Short program, and I’m still having fun reading random blogs from the website. I figured that I would give my own personal take on the academics behind the KCP program (specifically for the Summer Short program) to shed light as to why KCP alums emphasize not taking academics lightly. To give a bit of a background, I started out at Level 2 proficiency.

Saito sensi in KCP classroom

What a classroom in KCP looks like. Here, Saito sensei (well liked by students in KCP) gives a self-introduction to US Summer Short students.

For the Summer Short program, you will undergo a language placement test consisting of listening and recall excerpts, vocab+grammar excerpts with heavy emphasis on particles and tenses, and a Japanese oral interview with a sensei who will ultimately decide your placement level (i.e. Level 2), followed by a roughly 3.5 hour orientation the next day. You will then be placed in a two-week bootcamp with morning (9:30am-12:45pm) and afternoon (1:30pm-4:45pm) time blocks where you’ll be drilled material (i.e. Level 1) needed to test once again to the level set by your placement sensei. You will be taught by multiple sensei over the course of those two weeks so you’ll be familiarized by the different voices of Japanese people as well as get a sense of different teaching styles. Of course you will be given opportunities to go on KCP-run day trips like Yamanashi prefecture to experience local activities and cuisine.

My time at Saiko Iyashi no Sato, an ancient Japanese village located near Mt. Fuji. Mt Fuji would’ve been directly to the left of me if it wasn’t so cloudy that day.

A pro tip: Make sure to brace yourself for morning rush hour as the trains can get really packed. You remember horror stories of people being jammed in the trains like a can of sardines? The occupancy will more or less be the same. The Japanese value punctuality, so it’s in your best interest to reflect that during your time in KCP. The evening train back home won’t be as bad, but you will probably not be able to find a seat to sit in.

Stay tuned for Part 2!