Studying at GenkiJACS Japanese private school thanks to the help of Yokoso!
By Aaron Therrien Desilets
Going to Japan to study, work, or simply visit, had become more difficult since March 2020. But, many restrictions were lifted in March 2022, making going to Japan easier, for the first time in a long time. Although, one restriction that remained was the obligation to obtain an ERFS certificate in order to apply for a visa. The acronym stands for “Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System”. This certificate is issued by the Health Monitoring Center for Overseas Entrants. And the purpose of this certificate is to
make sure everyone who recently entered or returned to Japan will have their health monitored for at least a short time by a receiving organization. This receiving organization can be a school or a workplace, among other things. If the receiving organization is already familiar with how to obtain an ERFS certificate, obtaining one with their help becomes very easy.
During the summer of 2019 I had the chance to live in Tokyo for a few months. I was planning to return to Tokyo in the summer of 2020 when the pandemic hit. In March 2020, I got into contact with volunteers at Yokoso Japan and we started exchanging emails. They also invited me to participate in Japanese and English language exchange events held online by Yokoso Japan. Their advice really helped me understand the evolution of the situation in Japan and how to change my plans. And their kindness really helped me go through these difficult times. In March 2022, when many of the restrictions were lifted, they suggested me many possibilities; the one I chose was to study for a short time at the private school GenkiJACS.
I wanted to go to Japan on a Working Holiday visa because of the freedom this visa allows. If you are between 18 and 30 years old and thinking about going to Japan, I recommend trying to go to Japan on a Working Holiday visa while you can, since 30 years old is the age limit for that visa. One advantage of a Working Holiday visa, compared to a Work visa, is that you do not have to find an employer prior to obtaining your visa and arriving in Japan; you can start looking for employers after you arrive. One disadvantage of the Working Holiday visa is that you can’t work full time. But another advantage of a Working Holiday visa, compared to a Student visa, is that you do not have to study at one school from the start until the end of your stay in Japan; you can study for a short time at one school, then study at another school, you can even stop studying for some time and it’s fine with the visa. So that’s why I thought it would be a good idea to start my stay in Japan with a few weeks of studies at a language school. This way, I could brush up on my Japanese language skills, before trying to search for part time work, and if I feel that I need to study more, I can always come back later for more weeks of studies.
I arrived in Japan with my Working Holiday visa in early August. So far, I only studied at GenkiJACS for two weeks, but it was a great experience. I did not have time to get bored in these two weeks. We had four hours of classes every day for five days per week, plus the homeworks. The teachers and
fellow students were all very kind. I had the chance to learn from six different Japanese teachers, and to study alongside seven fellow students. During that time, we covered many different grammatical rules and we practiced reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The classes followed a plan, but we also had a lot of freedom to talk and write about subjects we were interested in. In the end, not only did I learn more about Japanese grammar, but I also learned more about Japanese culture from the teachers, and I learned more about the cultures of Poland, Germany, France, and Hawaii from my fellow students. I also enjoyed sharing my knowledge of Canadian culture with them. I learned that GenkiJACS offers
classes for many different levels of Japanese as well as various cultural activities. When my two weeks of classes were over, they told me I can enroll for more classes anytime. I would certainly be happy to study at GenkiJACS more in the future.