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Voices

Teacher K, who I met at the airport, was a lovely person.

Her appearance and voice were so lovely. I felt like I really wanted to hug and protect her, and that I met my grandchild after a long time.

Yes, I am already in my 70s and have two grandchildren. My experience of going abroad was only once. That was when I have been to Hawaii with my son. It is a gift from my son's family to celebrate my Koki, which is the celebration of one’s seventieth birthday in Japan. The trip was really thrilling and heart-pounding. However, I needed to rely on my son because I could not even go shopping without my son's help at that time.

I have studied English when I was a high school student. However, it was only for an obligation to fulfill required credits. I was not interested in English, and what I could remember was just one sentence, which is “This is a pen.” Although I started my challenge to learn English for the anti-aging purpose, it was obvious that it would not be so easy.

However, I always feel that the language acquisition depends on the person’s interests. Thus, I want to acquire the English skills so that I will not have any difficulties in my daily conversation while I study English at my own pace.

The reason why I explained my personal matters so far is because I really want to convey my message, that is, everyone can study English and have the English-only life regardless of their age and English skills.

My family disagreed with my decision to go to the Philippines because they did not think that I could do it. Although I had to report to them if I am doing well every day, I was determined to prove that I can do it. I left Japan at the end of March and stayed in the Philippines for a week. Then I came back to Japan on April 1 with wonderful and inexpressible experiences I got in the Philippines.

It took about one hour from the airport to the dormitory. After I arranged my baggage, staff at JKILC confirmed my schedule. I had an enjoyable time with Ms. I and the guard dog “Riki” in the dormitory and the air felt dry but refreshing under the tropical climate.

I usually take Teacher T’s class online. She came to the dormitory with her mother and baby to meet me even though she was not in charge of my classes during my stay in the Philippines. Then, Teacher Mt, Teacher Jn, and Teacher Jc also came to the dormitory, and they held the welcome party for me.

Although I was excited, I slept very well on that day maybe because I was tired due to the 5-hour flight, traffic in Manila, etc.

On the second day, I walked around the dormitory with Teacher K after breakfast. It was really a refreshing time when I looked at the shrubbery and many flowers blooming beautifully around the dormitory. On a Sunday morning, I heard Mass from the church nearby. This atmosphere around the dormitory made me calm and comfortable. The area was really safe and protected by the security system for 24 hours. After taking a walk around the dormitory, I went shopping to have currency exchange and buy some groceries.

In the afternoon, I studied English with Teacher K. Although the textbook prepared by staff at JKILC was for a beginner student, it included a lot of fun and interesting topics. When the teacher requested me to ask some questions to someone in the office, I asked Ms. I without hesitation and she stopped working to answer my questions. Actually, the teacher meant that “Please ask the questions to one person,” however, I could not stop myself. So, I asked the questions to boss of JKILC, as well. He kindly answered my questions. His kindness and unexpected laughter in the office are unforgettable and staying in my heart.

On the third day, I realized my changes. Even though we used the same textbook, Teacher Mt used some expressions that are not written in the textbook and asked me “What do you think about it?” I have had some ideas that I just needed to answer the prepared questions and then, I could become a fluent speaker. However, I started making my own questions with this chance as a start and thought that it is OK to make any mistakes. I felt “This is the practical English!” at this moment. It was a touching moment when I was thinking that I am directly taking the class with the teachers I usually meet online.

On the fourth and fifth days, I went to Intramuros and Tagaytay for sightseeing with Teacher Jn, a staff of JKILC, and a driver. Teacher Jn was closely acquainted with me and accompanied me to the airport on the last day. The sightseeing in Intramuros, which is called the Walled City, was done by riding a kalesa (horse carriage). I also recommend this place to everyone.

Because of the clear guidance of a tour guide, I could ask some questions with some confidence I gained from the lessons. It took two hours from there to Tagaytay. I asked a lot of questions to Teacher Jn while we were moving there. Teacher Jn answered all questions such as “What is that?” and “Isn't it hard to bring back home?”

When Teacher Jn said, “I am N. B. S. B.” with a smile and I understood the meaning of it which is “No Boyfriend Since Birth,” I was really surprised and everyone was laughing. I might explain how wonderful and impressive it was if I have the next chance. I think that it would be better to personally experience these wonderful feelings yourself if you have a chance to visit the Philippines and take English lessons in JKILC someday.

I did not realize that it was the last day until it had come. Teacher Jc was really hilarious. I sincerely enjoyed the class and very nice conversation with her. Although my English was not perfect, she easily understood what I wanted to say. When I made some mistakes, she promptly corrected it. When we played charades, she showed the wonderful expressiveness. I rolled with laughter by that.

I wanted to continue studying English with Teacher Jc, but I also wanted to go shopping for souvenirs for my family in Japan. Eventually, I went shopping with Ms. I, Teacher Jc, and Teacher T. Then they took me to a Karaoke bar. They were really good at singing. “NORA” sung by Ms. I in Japanese was particularly peerless. She studied Japanese by herself. I was relieved by listening to her Japanese.

I sang songs with young ladies. I danced with good music regardless of my age. I had to say goodbye even though I did not want to. When I finished packing, my heart flowed with gratitude. Ms. Mr, who cooked meals for me every day, and Ms. I saw me off. I was crying in the car. Then Teacher Jn put her hand on my shoulder.

I have never experienced this kind of wonderful trip. I have never felt that I really like English like this. Now, I am always feeling “Thank you” to everything.

Name: H.S
Age: 70
Occupation: Housewife
Place: Kanagawa, Japan

Since I studied English during my school days, I could understand basic English grammar.

After I graduated from school and started working in the company thought I did not have any chance to use English. Therefore, I gradually forgot words and idioms and lost my interests in English.

My turning point was that my company had recently accepted a lot of trainees from different countries. Therefore, there was more chance than before to communicate with them in English.

Those trainees always learn Japanese very hard through our daily tasks and motivate me. Thus, I thought it would be more interesting if I could communicate with them in English. That is the reason why I became more interested in English.

Then, when I saw the introduction of JKILC and some stories of the previous students on the website, I felt that it looks very nice. That was my first impression.

I have been to Hawaii 10 years ago. It is the only experience that I went abroad. To be honest, I did not feel that I actually went abroad at that time because I was able to communicate in Japanese there.

I was actually reluctant to go abroad. However, if I would be able to take the English classes with the teachers I usually meet online and study English at my own pace without considering my English level, I thought the program in JKILC would be really good for me. That is why I decided to study English in JKILC.

I can remember that, after I applied for the program, I became more excited when I got the schedule, guidance, etc. The things I felt when I went there were the differences between Japan and the Philippines, such as roads, traffic, prices, environment, habit, culture, etc. It was surprising and refreshing. I have lived in Japan for a long time and had Japanese standards. I think that is why I felt this way.

In particular, I was surprised that most of the prices were less than one half compared to Japan when I went out. It was really difficult for me to manage my money even until the last day.

The dormitory and region I stayed were really peaceful and cozy. Even though it was my first time to visit there, staff was really friendly to me. In terms of food, I actually thought there was a gap between Japanese and Filipino food. However, the food was very nice. I felt like the supporting staff already knew all about Japanese food. Garlic rice was particularly delicious, and I ate a lot although I do not usually eat so much. On a Sunday morning, the ceremony was held in the church nearby. So, I was listening to the song coming from there while I was having my breakfast.

Since the staff in JKILC made my schedule considering my preference, I took English lessons with the teachers I usually meet online. Although I always see them through Skype, I was impressed with directly meeting them. The lessons followed the textbook that is considering my English levels. The main content was to review the basic grammar and expressions that I have already learned in junior-high and high schools. Then, I made my own sentences and expressions by applying them to my surroundings.

Even other than the time of the lessons, for example, while having lunch, watching DVD, and moving by car, the teachers asked me a lot of questions in English to maintain the environment to have the English conversation. Sometimes it was difficult for me to understand their questions. Sometimes it was difficult for me to answer the questions.

However, the teachers were always trying to listen to me and understand my answers even though my answers were not perfect. When I made some mistakes, they repeated my answers with the correct word order and grammar.

Teachers sometimes chat with one another in Tagalog. They sometimes fought with Japanese staff for a non-smoking policy to keep his health good. I was able to see the private, hilarious, and rare situations of my teachers, and I could not stop laughing all the time.

I was feeling an exotic atmosphere when I went to Karaoke and restaurants. Since Teacher T and Ms. I really like Karaoke, their songs including Japanese, Filipino, and English songs were very surprising. I felt that the songs can go beyond borders. And their singing skill was really amazing.

Through my study at JKILC, going to the Philippines and communicating with local people were my irreplaceable experiences. To be honest, I cannot say my English skills were improved by these experiences. However, I could understand what I should do to improve my English skills. That was one of the biggest things I obtained through my study at JKILC.

I would like to continue studying English delightfully and come to JKILC to take English lessons with my teachers. Thank you so much for reading my story in the Philippines. I would be happy if my experiences here will be of help to you.

Name: T.U
Age: 33
Occupation: Office worker
Place: Kanagawa, Japan

It had taken a year to go to the Philippines to study English with my daughter since I started planning to do that kind of extravagant thing.

A lot of Japanese companies have expanded and started operations overseas. Some Japanese companies have introduced English as the companies’ official language. Elementary schools in Japan have started English education. Thus, English will be absolutely necessary for the next generation. At the same time, I was worried about my daughter’s future because I did not know what the best career for her is and how she can study English. I guess this is a common concern for all mothers.

At that time, I started taking the English lessons in the online English school by using a computer because I just wanted to challenge it and check my English skills. As I expected, I could not convey what I wanted to say to the teacher and understand what the teacher said. I had struggled with the lesson for 25 minutes.

However, it was really interesting that I did not mind others during the lesson; I had a sense of accomplishment after the lesson, and it was my first time to talk to foreigners. Then, my daughter told me, “I also want to do that.”. Therefore, she started taking the English classes online when she was 15 years old.

My daughter improved herself in English and got more interested in the online classes than me even though she had to take the entrance exam of a high school. Eventually, she said that she wanted to meet the teachers in the online school.

Although I had never gone on the leave more than a week until that time, she asked me to go to the Philippines with her. Thus, we went to the Philippines during the summer vacation of my daughter’s high school. It was one year after when we started planning to go to the Philippines. Our one-week trip to the Philippines was really fruitful. That is why I am writing my story here.

If the teachers in the online school were not in the Philippines, I would not choose the Philippines. My mind was immediately changed when we arrived in the dormitory we stayed.

We were already exhausted when we arrived at the airport because it was our first time to go abroad together. The teachers were really friendly to us even though it was our first time to directly see each other. It was raining heavily almost every day because of a rainy season. However, we were laughing all the time thanks to the teachers. I might not laugh like this in Japan. In particular, Teacher R was a hilarious person.

My daughter took the English lessons for 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. Then, she walked around and went shopping as a practice from 3 pm. Although we were both beginners in speaking English, we had English conversations all day for a week. It was really surprising to us; however, we felt that we did not want to go back to Japan as time passed by.

The reason why my daughter could continue studying English was because the lesson level fit her; they had some refreshing games; and, above all, the lesson was enjoyable. “One week is too short!” She said it with her twinkling eyes.

In my case, the biggest factor that led this trip to success was that I was free from the housework and able to be relaxed with the beauty treatment salon, shopping, and reading books. Of course, I realized that I practiced speaking English a lot with those activities because a daily conversation was in English. It was amazing that I could go to karaoke in the Philippines and experience rare events such as a squall on the white beach and seasickness in Puerto Galera. These experiences were really unforgettable.

When I look back at our study and trip in the Philippines, teachers and assistants always accompanied us everywhere. Thus, we did not feel anxious at all. Although we went to a foreign land we do not know at all, the place became a comfortable place for us because of the teachers we always met online. It was really great that I tried to go to the Philippines; my husband eventually said to me, "Good job."; and, above all, my daughter loves English now.

I feel relieved when I see my daughter having a positive attitude now.

Name: K.H, R.H
Age: 45, 15
Occupation: Office worker, High-school student
Place: Shiga, Japan

I experienced the best trip ever.

It is not about food or the beautiful scenery. It is about the people's thoughtfulness. The greatest hospitality of Filipinos attracted me.

When I was young, traveling overseas was a dream because the liberalization of going abroad has not been approved yet. Since once it was approved, I have enjoyed traveling overseas with my wife. Although we could not speak English well, we enjoyed taking a bus and train by arranging some words. We have traveled Europe on foot by just holding a pen and a piece of paper.

Thus, I wanted to acquire the English skills so that I will not have any difficulties when I go abroad. That was my motivation to study. Although I had been taking English classes online for one and a half years, I could not hold back my feelings of studying abroad, speaking English in the real life, and meeting my teachers.

I was 74 years old at that time. I had surgery on my heart and large intestine because of the serious sickness. Thus, I was worried about the weather, food, and hygienic environment in the Philippines. However, I decided to study in the Philippines a year ago. I also asked my teachers about the environment in the Philippines and enjoyed learning it. I thought I could clearly understand the result if I go there for a month. Therefore, I decided to stay in the Philippines for a month. I had meetings with staff at JKILC. They made arrangements and customized my lessons based on what and how I wanted to study. It was very fun moments to read guidebooks and histories of the Philippines and to search the website of the Filipino culture. Then, I left Japan alone with excitement.

I saw a lot of jeepneys and tricycles on the street as well as the buildings and slum areas while I was moving to the school from the airport. Various things were mixed together in Manila. In the afternoon of my arrival date, I started taking English lessons. I lived a well-regulated life during my stay in the Philippines. In the morning and afternoon, I walked around the village with the staff of JKILC. I had breakfast at 8:00. From 9:00 to 17:30, I took English lessons. I had dinner at 19:00. I had a conversation with teachers until 21:00. Then, I went to bed at 23:00. The room with a shower room was large and comfortable.

The staff at JKILC was working really hard the whole day. Teachers were also working very hard to make lesson memos and do their tasks. We were like a family because we were always together. Support staff in the dormitory was really good at cooking. They asked my preferences in terms of food, cleaned my room, and did my laundry. Therefore, I was able to keep my healthy life in the Philippines.

One teacher basically had lessons with me in a day. In my case, I took nine teachers’ classes. The lesson used a custom-made textbook. I was not willing to take the exams like TOEIC. Therefore, I asked teachers to change the textbook and have some role-playing games.

Teachers were young and kind like my grandchildren. They corrected my mistakes eagerly. They articulated words with making eye contact with me and taught me the usage of difficult prepositions in an easy way. I watched a movie of Roman Holiday in English and had some role-playing games in the shopping mall, restaurant, and hotel. I enjoyed a one-on-one English conversation. Teachers always accompanied me. Therefore, we always had a good conversation.

I went to some provinces such as the La Union and Bohol to meet my teachers who always provide the lessons online. When we saw each other, we were really excited. Talking with them via Skype was of course excited. However, it was more comfortable to directly have a conversation with them because I was able to feel their presence directly. I decided to change my goal throughout the lessons with them. My goal was not only to acquire the English skills for going abroad but also to understand a daily conversation and articulate the correct sentences.

Other activities were interesting as well as the lessons. I visited world heritage sites, saw rare scenery, and interacted with animals. I took a lot of pictures. I enjoyed singing in the Karaoke bar with teachers. While I was enjoying these activities, I directly communicated with salesclerks and waitresses in English. In addition, I was also able to practice speaking English by talking with people in the hotel, airport, etc. Even when I was walking around the dormitory, I enjoyed talking with neighbors. I was really satisfied when I came back to Japan.

When I am in Japan, cities are clean and the food is nice. I lack nothing. I feel everything is better than that in the Philippines. However, I am wondering why I had never felt any dissatisfaction with my one-month stay in the Philippines and I feel satisfied the most compared to any luxurious trips I have experienced. I think these feelings are because of consideration, sincerity, generosity, and hospitality of all staff at JKILC and Filipinos. Wherever I went, I felt the people’s power and warmth that Japanese tend to lose.

I love the Philippines.

I will keep striving to acquire English skills.

Name: N.H
Age: 74
Occupation: company director
Place: Nara, Japan

I want to emigrate from Japan to a different country in the future.

To achieve this, I thought English is absolutely necessary. That was the reason why I started studying English and taking lessons online.

I had studied English during the classes when I was a student. Actually, English was a subject I was not good at. Therefore, when I took the English class for the first time, I experienced really embarrassing moment because I could not introduce myself. However, I was able to gradually understand what the teachers were speaking as I took the lessons more and more. Then, I started thinking that I wanted to go to the Philippines to study English. At that time, I was planning to go to the Philippines alone. However, my husband said he also wanted to go together even though he was a beginner in speaking English. Thus, we decided to take English classes together in JKILC.

We were excited by reading the stories of the previous students until we left Japan. At the same time, however, we were worried about what would happen to us in the Philippines. In particular, my husband was worried about it because he was totally a beginner. Therefore, he started studying English one month before leaving. It was too late though.

On the arrival date in the Philippines, teachers and the Japanese staff, who were taking care of us for the whole period, fetched us at the airport. Although our flight was delayed for an hour and they were waiting for us, they welcomed us with a smile. We were very happy with it.

We went to JKILC after we arrived at the airport. We were really surprised by the number of cars in Manila. We felt we actually arrived in a different country. When we arrived in JKILC, several teachers also welcomed us. It was wonderful that the teachers we usually met online are standing in front of us. Everyone was so lovely. I felt like I really wanted to hug them.

On that night, they held a welcome party for us. The supporting staff was really good at cooking. Therefore, everything was so delicious. If I had a time, I wanted to learn cooking from her. My husband was interested in the Red Horse Beer. He drank a lot of it. We really enjoyed eating and drinking. Then, our first day was over.

The best point of JKILC was that they made an original plan for us based on our preferences. Our plan was sightseeing in Manila for two days and taking the English lessons for three days. The teachers accompanied us even when we went sightseeing. Therefore, we were able to learn the practical English phrases.

On the second day, we went to Tagaytay for sightseeing. In Tagaytay, an active volcano was surrounded by the Taal Lake. It was really a beautiful place surrounded by nature. I tried zip-line and horse-riding activities with my teachers. Of course, when we were in the restaurant and shop, we practiced speaking English by ordering lunch and negotiating discount as the English lessons supported by the teachers. While we were moving to the other place, we were talking with one another. We found a lot of things and some fulfillment. It was a meaningful time for us.

From the third day, we started taking the English lessons in JKILC. Materials for the lessons were prepared by the staff depending on our English levels. We had one-on-one lessons from 9:00 to 18:00. It was our first time to study English for long time in a day. Therefore, we were worried if we could follow the lessons. Actually, we had a break time and sometimes talked about our family, hobbies, etc. Thus, we did not feel any difficulties in the lessons.

Among the lessons, one of the most interesting contents was playing charades. We tried to convey the question written in English to others and answer it in English. Although it was a simple game, we were very serious. My husband tried really hard because he just started studying English at that time. However, he enjoyed the game very much. Our teachers called him the best actor. We felt we came to the Philippines for a homestay rather than for studying English because we enjoyed the lessons so much with the teachers and staff in JKILC.

On the fifth day, we went to Intramuros and Mall of Asia for sightseeing. We were really surprised when the teacher explained the history of Fort Santiago by herself. It was wonderful that she could explain the history of her own country. We felt we also have to understand the history of Japan. In Intramuros, we were riding a carriage. Our tour guide was really a hilarious person. He called us the prince and princess and said it loudly to other people. We could not stop laughing all the time.

On the sixth day, our plan was a lesson for the whole day. However, we asked the teachers to go shopping together in the morning. Although that was our third time to go shopping, they took us in a different shopping mall every time. We went back to the school and took the English lessons in the afternoon. Since it was our last night, everyone held a farewell party for us. We enjoyed eating, playing games, and singing a song. Then, they suddenly said they have a present for us.

They gave us a big sheet with a lot of pictures with full of memories with them. Messages from everyone were written on the back of the sheet. We were really surprised and could not stop crying. Even now I would start crying if I remember this time.

We learned not only English but also the wonderfulness of people. Everyone gave us a lot of memories. In addition, I have one more thing that makes me happy. After we came back to Japan, my husband has continued studying English by himself. We would like to thank all teachers and staff in JKILC for telling us how wonderful English is.

We'll do our best! See you again. (^^)/

Name: K.S, N.S
Age: 40s, 30s
Occupation: Government employee, Office worker
Place: Kanagawa, Japan

At first, I would like to say that I really had a good time in the Philippines.

When I settled down and thought about my future, I remembered complete works of literature entitled Syonensyozyo Sekaibungakuzensyu, which I read when I was a kid. I was always thinking that I wanted to read it in English. Then, I started studying English by myself. However, I could not read, write, speak, and even remember what I studied. When I had a really hard time, I found the online English school using Skype.

I was surprised with the modern system, and I felt and appreciated the change of time. Although everything was the first time for me, teachers gave me every possible help. I was bewildered with all of the lessons provided in English and about to give up on it. fter one year, however, I started thinking that I really wanted to meet them directly. Therefore, I decided to go to the Philippines to study English one year later.

Since I am a housewife, it was difficult for me to be away from home. However, because of my family’s understanding, I was able to make this decision come true. In addition, my family celebrated my sixtieth birthday. That is why I was able to go to the Philippines. Although I was really worried about my trip because it had been 20 years since the last time I went abroad, my teachers and staff in JKILC told me everything would be okay. I was relieved by that.

The country of the Philippines was still developing and had a lot of energy. At the same time, however, I saw the situation of poverty while I was staying in the Philippines. The dormitory I stayed was like the Malacanang Palace. The dormitory was located in a high-end residential area where the entrance of the village was always inspected by a security guard. I felt that I was coming to a summer resort. I did not experience a problem of insects that most of the students from other schools had experienced. In addition, I really enjoyed eating Filipino food cooked by the supporting staff in JKILC every day.

The lessons were full of passion and energy of young teachers. When I saw the hand-made textbook, I was really impressed with it. I felt excited when I listen to the stories from the teachers about their lives and dreams. When I heard that one of the teachers wanted to make a school for street children, I realized the reality of this country. At the same time, I felt the passion of next generations to come.

Other than the lessons, I was surprised with the size of shopping malls I went to with my teachers. All moments I shared with my teachers became unforgettable memories for me. If I am asked about the improvements in my English during my one-month stay, I could say only a little. However, I think that I learned foundations to continue studying English.

I want to read more books in English and talk with teachers in English. The more I take English lessons online, the more I feel I want to improve my English skills and go to the Philippines again.

Name: A.S
Age: 60
Occupation: Housewife
Place: Chiba, Japan

J-P Network English Corporation