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International Exchange Courses: Japanese Courses



Japanese Language Courses

Hokusei Gakuen University requires all international exchange students to take a Japanese language course while studying at Hokusei. Three different Japanese language courses are offered to fit the needs of all students.

  1. Intensive Japanese: Four ability levels, eight 90-minute classes per week.
  2. Non-intensive Japanese: Beginning (or higher, if necessary) level, two 90-minute classes per week.
  3. Advanced Japanese: Highest ability level, two 90-minute classes per week.

All of these courses equally emphasize the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. These courses are designed to help students develop interactional competence so that they become able to handle a variety of communicative situations using Japanese. In other words, students do not study only about the Japanese language, they learn how to use it in appropriate ways, in both formal and informal situations in Japanese society.

These courses are taught by native speakers of Japanese, most of whom have had experience teaching Japanese as a second language both in Japan and overseas. Of course, there is no better place to study Japanese than in Japan, where you are surrounded by Japanese both inside and outside of the classroom.

At the end of each semester, all students give a speech in Japanese to an audience of their fellow international students, teachers, host families, and Hokusei students and staff.

Course List

2020 Spring Semester
Credits 2020 Fall Semester
Intensive Japanese ⅡA 12 Intensive Japanese ⅡB 12
Intensive Japanese ⅢA 12 Intensive Japanese ⅢB 12
Intensive Japanese ⅣA 12 Intensive Japanese ⅣB 12
Intensive Japanese ⅤA 12 Intensive Japanese ⅤB 12
Non-intensive JapaneseⅠA 3 Non-intensive JapaneseⅠB 3
Advanced Japanese A 3 Advanced Japanese B 3


Detailed Descriptions of the Japanese Language Courses

Intensive Japanese

Students who take this course want to immerse themselves in learning Japanese. There are two 90-minute classes per day, four days a week, for a total of eight classes per week. These classes are taught by four teachers who each teach one day a week. The classes are small (less than 10 people). In higher level courses, instructions are usually given only in Japanese.

There are four levels of this course from beginner to advanced. Students are placed in one of the four levels of Intensive Japanese based on a placement test that they take during orientation week before classes begin. The placement test includes a listening comprehension section, grammar section, and oral interview.

In class, students frequently do pair-work and other types of conversation, writing, listening, grammar and kanji practice. Students are expected to actively participate in these class activities. There is usually one short in-class grammar, vocabulary, or kanji quiz every day, and there are daily homework assignments. Students are expected to study Japanese for two hours outside of class every day.

Non-intensive Japanese

This course is designed for students who want to focus more on elective content courses than on Japanese language study. Most students who take this course are at or near the beginner level in learning Japanese, but the course can be adjusted for higher-level students too. This course meets for 90 minutes, twice a week. The class is small (usually 3 people or less).

Advanced Japanese

This course is for students who have passed the N1 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). These students are eligible to take regular university courses taught in Japanese. In Advanced Japanese, students improve their academic Japanese by writing reports, giving presentations, and participating in discussions, often on topics they have chosen from Japanese newspaper or magazine articles. This course helps students improve the language skills necessary to participate well in classes with native Japanese speakers.

Credits and Grades

According to the Japanese system, the Intensive Japanese course is worth 12 credits; Non-intensive Japanese and Advanced Japanese are worth 3 credits; and each content course is worth 2 credits. Each partner school can determine how this credit system corresponds to their system and calculate credits accordingly.
Students will receive a letter grade on their transcript for each course they enroll in. If a student receives an “F” for a course, that course name and grade will not appear on the transcript; however, the “F” grade will be incorporated with all the other letter grades in the calculation of the student’s GPA. See the chart below that explains how many grade points are awarded for each letter grade.

Hokusei will send a transcript to each student’s home institution after the end of each semester.

Letter Grades and Grade Points

Letter Grade Grade Points
Highest passing grade A+ 4.0
A 3.5
B+ 3.0
B 2.5
C 2.0
Lowest passing grade D 1.0
Failing grade F 0.0
Withdrawal W


Sample Weekly Schedules

These two charts show how a typical weekly class schedule would look for students who enroll in Intensive Japanese and Non-intensive Japanese.

Weekly Schedule Example (Student Taking Intensive Japanese)

M T W Th F
1 8:50-
Intensive Japanese Ⅱ Intensive Japanese Ⅱ Intensive Japanese Ⅱ Intensive Japanese Ⅱ
2 10:30-
Intensive Japanese Ⅱ Intensive Japanese Ⅱ Intensive Japanese Ⅱ Intensive Japanese Ⅱ
Lunch break
3 13:00-
Japanese Culture International Economics
4 14:40-
5 16:20-

Credits: This student would receive a total of 18 credits (Intensive Japanese 12 credits, and 2 credits for each of the content courses.)


Weekly schedule (Example:intensive Japanese course)

M T W Th F
1 8:50-
Non-intensive Japanese Ⅰ
2 10:30-
Language &Gender Non-intensive Japanese Ⅰ
Lunch break
3 13:00-
Comparative Culture History of Japan
4 14:40-
Japanese Society Japanese Subcultures
5 16:20-
Japanese Literature Communication

Credits: This student would receive a total of 17 credits (Non-intensive Japanese 3 credits, and 2 credits for each of the content courses.)

What Students Like about the Hokusei Japanese Language Program

★ Small class size. Lots of individual attention from multiple instructors.
★ Experienced, dedicated teachers, who are also kind and supportive.
★ Most of the teachers have experience teaching Japanese outside Japan.
★ High academic standards for in-class participation, homework, and exams.
★ Friendly, positive classroom atmosphere.
★ Interaction with classmates from different cultural backgrounds.
★ Higher level classes are taught entirely in Japanese.
★ You can use the Japanese you learn outside the classroom.

Advice from Teachers to Students

★ Be positive, be punctual, and participate actively in all class activities.
★ Ask questions when you don’t understand.
★ Study Japanese two hours outside of class every day, and do the homework.
★ Speak Japanese with as many people as you can outside of class.
★ がんばりましょう!