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The Best Places for Learning Japanese in Chicago!

By , published on 01/12/2017 Blog > Languages > Japanese > Where to Learn Japanese in the Windy City
  • Learn Japanese at Language Schools in Chicago
  • Other Places to Learn Japanese in Chicago
  • Private Japanese Classes in Chicago

Is Japanese your new passion? Would you like to learn to speak Japanese? Are you starting to get to grips with kanji, hiragana, and katakana?

It’s a good start, I’m sure. However, you probably want to either learn Japanese online or take some Japanese lessons in order improve your level or even just cement the basics (kanji, vocabulary, expressions, introducing yourself in Japanese, etc.)

Have you been looking for Japanese courses, classes, and ways to learn Japanese for free on the internet but finding nothing?

Everyone has their own way to learn and you need to find the right one that works for you. The “Minna No Nihongo” textbook is rather popular when it comes to learning the Japanese language. However, you’ll also need to know how to pronounce Japanese words and work on your speaking, something a book probably can’t do for you!

Whether you’ve decided to go live in Japan or you’re looking at language exchange programs in Tokyo, you’ll probably need to take language classes or get a private tutor to help you.

A private tutor will be able to teach you essential Japanese phrases, give you advice on the best resources from around the web, and also help you to study your pronunciation and speaking.

By taking language classes in language schools or via private tutorials, you’ll be able to broaden your understanding of both the Japanese language and Japanese culture and history. After all, you can’t learn a language like Japanese without learning the history of customs of the country.

So where can you learn Japanese or take a Japanese course in Chicago?


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Learn Japanese at Language Schools in Chicago

It’s not uncommon for people to develop hobbies during their youth. Maybe you or your child would like to take Japanese classes at school or at college! There are a few ways you can do this.

How much do private Japanese tutorials cost in Chicago? Chicago is home to a number of language schools where you can learn Japanese. (Source: pixabay.com)

While the Midwest isn’t traditionally known for Japanese migration, you’d be surprised at just how many links there are with Japan and the Land of the Rising Sun’s culture.

The University of Chicago

Traditional lessons are a great way to learn foreign languages. For example, the University of Chicago’s East Asian Languages & Civilizations Department offers a number of Japanese language classes for those who decide to study there.

In addition to Japanese, the undergraduate program also covers the history and cultures of China and Korea. This means that if you’re a Japanophile, you’ll have the option to learn almost everything you want to know about the country’s language, history, and culture. However, if you’d like to pursue a broader field of studies, you can do that, too.

You’ll be able to learn about linguistic elements such as:

  • Grammar

  • Conjugations

  • Writing

  • Pronunciation

As well as more about the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun like:

  • Cuisine

  • Tea Ceremonies

  • History

  • Geography

  • Art

The great thing about studying a language at college is the quality of professors. Furthermore, since Japanese isn’t the most popular language in middle and high schools, you can start your language learning journey once you get to college. Of course, since you’re planning on going from zero to undergraduate in a few years, you’ll be expected to put a lot of work into your studies. There’ll be tests, projects, homework, and assignments for you to complete throughout your time at college.

Don’t forget that you first have to be accepted by the college, too. You’ll have to put together an application and prove that you have everything it takes to complete an undergraduate degree in Japanese or East Asian Languages & Civilizations.

This isn’t a decision you can take lightly, either. This could be the decision that completely shapes your future, defining where you end up working and living once you graduate. Make sure you do a lot of research into the program! 

You should also make sure that you meet the minimum requirements for admissions. If you’d like to study Japanese at the University of Chicago, you’ll need to meet a number of different requirements. Firstly, you’ll be expected to have attained a high verbal score on the GRE. You’ll also be expected to submit samples of scholarly writing to the Humanities Admissions Website.

If English isn’t your mother tongue, you’ll also be required to provide the results of either a TOEFL or IELTS exam. The minimum requirements for each of these can be found on the admissions website. It should be noted that since the University of Chicago frequently rates as one of the top 10 colleges in the world, there’s a lot of competition for places.

Fortunately, the University of Chicago isn’t the only college in the Windy City where you can get an undergraduate degree in Japanese.


You should also consider researching the Japanese program at Northwestern. In addition to being one of the best colleges in the country, there are also a number of interesting options for students wanting to learn more about the Japanese language and culture.

The Japanese language program has been part of the college’s offering since the mid-1970s and the language classes are provided by the school’s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC). You’ll be taught the four main language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

In addition to learning the language, there are also opportunities for students to participate in study abroad programs. Those wanting to study Japanese at Northwestern who already have some knowledge of the language will be expected to take a placement test.

Other Places to Learn Japanese in Chicago

You don’t necessarily have to go to (or back to, in some cases) college in order to learn Japanese. There are plenty of other establishments that are happy to teach you this fascinating foreign language.

Which are the best ways to learn Japanese in Chicago? If you change your perspective, you’ll see there are several different ways to learn Japanese in the Windy City. (Source: pixabay.com)

One of the first places you should consider checking out is the Japan America Society of Chicago. The society is a not-for-profit organization that “fosters understanding between our two cultures, to cultivate personal friendship between our two people”. They also have a Japanese language program that you should consider looking into.

There are 8 different types of courses available and they vary depending on your level and the reason you’re learning Japanese. These are weekly lessons for people who are either just starting out in the language or who’d like to improve their Japanese skills.

One of the great things about learning Japanese here is that it’s much less stressful than classes you’d have at school or at college. The lessons take place either at 5:30-7:30pm or 7:30-9:30pm on weekday evenings.

Additionally, all classes are taught by native Japanese instructors. These classes are great for those who’d like to:

  • Get ready for a trip to Japan or improve their Japanese in order to speak to a Japanese business partner, friend, or colleague.

  • Move to Japan and settle in the country. The native instructors will also help with deepening your understanding of Japanese culture and history. By the time you finish the course, you’ll know a lot more about the country’s language, history, and culture.

Japanese Culture Center

The Japanese Culture Center in Chicago is another place worth considering if you’d like to learn Japanese. The center was established in the late 70s and for over 40 years has provided the Windy City with a gateway to the language and culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.

In addition to the Japanese language classes available, the Japanese Cultural Center also offers a fascinating range of Japanese activities including martial arts such as karate and kendo as well as calligraphy, flower arrangement, and tea ceremony courses.

You’ll find that a deeper understanding of the culture will help you to learn the language more quickly. This it also a great way to meet other people who are interested in speaking Japanese and making new friends to practice speaking your new language. After all, if you want to learn a foreign language, you have to practice it as often as you can.

How can you learn to speak Japanese? If you’ve just started learning Japanese, you’ve got a long way to go. (Source: Jonathan Meyer)

You should consider meeting up regularly with your classmates and attending the center’s Japanese cultural events and using them as an opportunity to speak.

You needn’t move to Japan in order to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. That said, a trip to Japan would allow you to learn new vocabulary and discover even more about the history of the country.

If you’re looking to whet your appetite, you should also consider trying one of the many excellent Japanese restaurants in Chicago.

What about listening to Japanese music or podcasts?

Private Japanese Classes in Chicago

If you’re struggling to study Japanese regularly and you’re not learning as much Japanese grammar as you’d like, you should consider enlisting the help of a Japanese private tutor to complement your other studies.

How long does it take to learn to speak Japanese? Chicago is home to a lot of people and a lot of private Japanese tutors. (Source: pixabay.com)

Whether you want to just learn basic Japanese, have a Japanese conversation, or become a master of Japanese grammar and gain proficiency in the language, there are a number of advantages to choosing to get a private Japanese tutor.

Firstly, you can choose whichever tutor you like the most rather than just having to learn from the tutor who’s taking the class. Platforms like Superprof are here to help you get in contact with private tutors over the internet. You can browse the various profiles in order to find the perfect tutor for you.

Everyone has different requirements and reasons for learning Japanese. You can find tutors who are experts in the Japanese writing systems (kanji and kana: hiragana and katakana) or tutors who effortlessly bring together culture and language in order to make their tutorials a fascinating journey through history, for example.

What about the price?

It may surprise you to find that the price might actually be one of the advantages of hiring a private tutor. After all, you can choose the tutor based on their rates.

If the tutor’s out of your price range, you don’t have to pick them. Pick a tutor who’s rates work with your budget. If you’ve decided to hire a private tutor, then head on over to Superprof and search for Japanese tutorials in Chicago.


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