Japanese 1B – fall, 2A – spring, and 2B – summer

Grade: Japanese 1B: 95.25%; Japanese 2A: 99.54% Japanese 2B: 100%

I started my Japanese studies while I was in middle school with Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences. So upon beginning my freshman year of high school with them, I was placed in Japanese 1B.

Then in spring, I took Japanese 2A, and in summer (because I love to learn!), I continued my studies with my new school, Clonlara School, taking a summer semester and completing Japanese 2B.

For this class, I’m thrilled to share with you some exciting tools that are available and can help anyone master a foreign language.

For the bulk of my credit, I used Rosetta Stone. Most people are familiar with that tool, and it is even available to some people for free through their public library system (yet another reason why I love my library!). My teacher graded me based upon the percentages that were given to me by Rosetta Stone.

In addition, I was required to do summaries of current events articles, book reviews, as well as “culture projects,” some of which are already available here on my website:

Hawai’i: Destination of Choice for Japan (and for Twelve-Year-Olds)

EPCOT Japan: A Taste of Something Extraordinary

The Must-Have Guide for Japan-bound Travelers

One of my favorite Tuttle books I sue is Japanese Hiragana & Katakana for Beginners by Timothy G. Stout. It’s great to use for practicing those beautiful characters that no longer look foreign to me.

It was during this year when I was grateful to fall upon the wonderful books of Tuttle Publishing, an outstanding source of Japan-focused books that I continue to use.

I also utilized a couple apps that helped to further my learning of the language: Memrise and Duolingo.

But perhaps the most beneficial discovery during my freshman year of Japanese studies was Verbling.

Through Verbling, I was able to access my choice of private tutors. Through their learning platform that is similar to Skype or Facetime, I could come face-to-face with my own teacher. Best of all, my tutor is a native speaker. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you how inexpensive an hour-long tutoring session was for me; my teacher was just $17 an hour – that’s nearly a third of the price that was quoted to my parents when they first began looking for a “conventional” in-home tutor for me.

I cannot stress enough how much of an asset this will be to me as I continue my studies, as it would be for anyone who hopes to become fluent in a language. Learning a language is not just about memorizing words and their meanings on an app or a website; it is about about mastering interactions with real people and having spontaneous conversations that build relationships.

Can you tell I’m a huge fan of Verbling?

Pricing varies greatly from teacher to teacher. But it’s been an incredible tool for me which I continue to use into my future high school years!

Hands down, Japanese continues to be one of my favorite subjects in school. And on a recent trip to Hawai’i, I was thrilled to meet people in the tourism industry there who said they were ready to hire me when I achieve my goal of being fluent.

A job in paradise is quite an incentive for a kid like me, don’t you think?

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