Japanese language tutors
What is important in learning a language? The answer is actually using the language. However, foreign students who have just arrived in Japan have few acquaintances in Japan and rarely have an opportunity to use Japanese.
Volunteer tutors spend time with such foreign students and freely have conversations in Japanese or serve as advisers to them about their unfamiliar lives in Japan. This not only conveys Japanese culture to such foreign students but also provides opportunities for intercultural exchange to know about each other’s cultures through cross-culture interaction.
Interact with volunteer tutors in Japanese!
You can interact with a Japanese volunteer once a week.
Foreigners who live in Japan sometimes make comments such as: “Even living in Japan I have fewer opportunities to make friends or interact with Japanese people than I expected,” or “I rarely use Japanese outside of school because my friends are all of the same nationality as me.” One of the benefits of studying Japanese in Japan is that there are opportunities to talk about various topics with Japanese people.
To this end, the Osaka YMCA Gakuin Japanese Language School established a volunteer tutor system and has provided opportunities for foreign students to have conversations with Japanese people. Once a week, Japanese volunteers who are registered as tutors at the YMCA assist students with Japanese conversations upon request. The students can talk in Japanese about whatever they want, such as Japan, their own country, the Japanese way of thinking and cultural differences.
Every time I meet a new foreign student, I consider what he/she expects from me as a tutor with his/her mixed feelings of anxiety and excitement and I sometimes directly ask him or her about that. It is an enjoyable moment when I find new thoughts and listening to the students about the distinctions between what they knew or expected before coming to Japan and what they actually saw in Japan. Also, they sometimes compare and point out the beauty of their countries and Japan and tell us things that we would have never known from the media, such as the distinctions in eating habits, which always leads to lively conversation. What I always keep in mind when talking to the students is to maintain open and honest communication with them. I do not know whether it was thanks to that, but I still keep in touch with some of the students for even more than a dozen years after their graduation. Through such tutoring activities, I think my perspective has broadened and I have gained energy by interacting with young people from countries I have never been to.
Nihosapo Kai is a volunteer group which is made up of Japanese tutors. The group holds open discussions once a month or so at which the group makes publicity papers, plans activities to interact with foreign students and more. Its activities so far include café events and stretch exercise classes in collaboration with the YMCA’s Wellness Center. Anyone who is participating in tutoring activities can feel free to join the group.
The Osaka YMCA’s Japanese language tutoring activities were recognized and awarded the Youth Award by Osaka Prefecture in 2016.
This photo was taken at the award ceremony at an Osaka YMCA Convention that is held once a year.
Anyone who is 18 years old or older and interested in international exchange.
Experience studying language or knowledge about teaching Japanese is not specifically required.
*Applicants need to register as Osaka YMCA volunteer members. Annual membership fee: 3,000 yen (to be renewed every April)
Details of activities
Each volunteer is to pair up with one foreign student and make conversation in Japanese for about one hour once a week, on the same day of every week.
The period for the activities is basically six months to one year.
(It depends on the terms when the student is studying)
Volunteer activities are allowed after school.
Osaka YMCA International College (Tosabori): Monday through Friday, 13:00 to 17:00
Osaka YMCA Gakuin (Tennoji): Monday through Friday, 12:00 to 18:30
(*Volunteer activities are not allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, or public holidays)
Month for start of activities
In general, the activities for the first semester start after May, and those for the second semester start after November.
Flow until the start of activities
Registration as a Japanese language volunteer
We will inform you about your pairing with a student in May or November.
*We may contact applicants even during months other than the above months if a student so desires.
Please arrive 10 minutes before the activity time slot
What you need to bring on the start date of the activities
- Volunteer membership fee (3,000 yen)
- One face photo for a nametag (3 cm high and 2.5 cm wide)
*A trimmed snapshot is also acceptable.
Please note that we may not always meet your expectations if no students apply for your desired time slot or the number of student applicants is less than that of tutor applicants.