The Center for Language Studies Japanese immersion program is acknowledged as one of the most challenging and rewarding in the country. Our Japanese team is composed of exceptional native teachers who provide individualized instruction and continuous feedback in small classes. Combining innovative pedagogical methods with excellent instructional materials, our Japanese intensive courses ensure rapid learning, cultural literacy, and long lasting retention of the language. The CLS Japanese program is excellent preparation for individuals interested in work or study abroad.

Available Courses

First Year Japanese

100A-105A. First-Year Japanese I, II (four semester credit hours each). The first-year course provides a solid foundation in basic Japanese. Students learn the two phonetic alphabets— Hiragana and Katakana—as well as 240 Chinese characters (Kanji) and the basic Japanese grammatical patterns. Through texts and supplementary materials, the course offers thorough instruction and rigorous training in all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Practice in the language laboratory and individualized study sessions outside the classroom supplement the formal instruction. A cultural component is interspersed with the daily language studies.

Second Year Japanese

110A-115A. Second-Year Japanese I, II (four semester credit hours each). The second-year course covers the basic patterns of Japanese and introduces 272 Kanji characters. Classes and many cultural lectures are conducted in Japanese to stress training in comprehension (both reading and aural), speaking, and composition. Special emphasis is placed upon the development of free conversational skills. Students entering second-year Japanese are expected to have mastered 240 Kanji from Kanji Look and Learn.

Third Year Japanese

200A-205A. Third-Year Japanese I, II (four semester credit hours each). Third-year Japanese continues to develop more complicated and enhanced communicative abilities in all four language skills. Students develop the awareness of different styles and levels of speech, such as written and spoken styles, formal and informal speech, men’s and women’s speech, and especially Keigo, so that they can communicate appropriately in both written and spoken forms of the language. In addition, the ability to read and write about more complicated ideas and the expansion of knowledge of Kanji and vocabulary are also emphasized. The course uses selected literary works that vary from year to year. Students entering third-year Japanese are expected to have mastered all of Kanji Look and Learn.

Fourth Year Japanese

215A-225A. Fourth-Year Japanese I, II (four semester credit hours each). This course develops advanced skills in both spoken and written Japanese. Students learn about significant aspects of past and contemporary Japanese society and culture, with an aim of increasing fluency in reading and providing opportunity for hearing and speaking Japanese. Students read authentic Japanese language materials; study relevant Japanese language websites and videos; and write papers and give presentations in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 205 (Third-Year Japanese).


Akiko Ohashi Brennan

Director, Japanese Language programSenior Instructor of First-year Japanese, since Summer 2010

“The 7 weeks of teaching CLS are my favorite time of the year. The instructors and students live in the beautiful Beloit College campus studying, eating and participating in special events together. We become so close that I cannot help but cry at the closing ceremony every summer. We become almost a family.

This is not an easy program. In 7 weeks, students earn the equivalent of 2 semesters (one year) worth of credits. Instructors expect students to do their best. We give a lot of homework, followed by many quizzes and tests in order to check understanding of the materials. But, we believe that learning should be fun. We always try to teach and practice the materials in an enjoyable and interesting way. Even when I teach boring verb conjugations, I lead the students in singing the “TE-form song” so that they can memorize this grammar point in an easy and fun way.

Besides teaching, the other passion I have is performing Tea Ceremony. I have performed tea ceremonies at CLS many times. Each time, all of my students enjoy tasting the combination of the bitter tea and accompanying sweets. Most importantly, I witness their profound appreciation of a most precious tradition in Japanese culture. We also go to the Anderson Japanese Gardens as a field trip and later discuss what we saw in class. Learning about Japanese culture is one of the most important aspects of CLS.

The CLS program is the best immersion program in the world because the students can experience “Little Japan” in Wisconsin, learning not only the language but also its culture.”

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