One of the things about the MIM that drew me to it was it’s integration of Japanese into the program – I wanted to continue my study of the language in a way that was meaningful to the greater scope of a masters business program. In particular, I hope to work with or for a Japanese company after graduating. The only thing though, is that it’s not enough to say that you’ve completed X-level of Japanese, or know n-number of 漢字 (kanji) – there is actually a proficiency test out there that acts as an official benchmark for companies to gauge how much of the language you really know, and it’s called the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, or JLPT for short. There are four levels of proficiency (soon to be five, with the 2010 test), and it is offered only once a year, in various locations around the US (the closest one for Oregonians would be Seattle, Washington). These tests are comprised of three sections – a vocabulary, listening and grammar section. This year’s test date has come and gone, but that means that there’s an entire year to study up, and prepare for next year’s test! Given that we just finished our first term, I can think of no better use of my time that to start polishing what Japanese I know, and hopefully learning a new thing or two.
Those that chose to study Chinese aren’t without their own version of this test as well – the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, or HSK for short. Like the JLPT, the HSK is only offered once a year, and in limited number of locations around the United States. MIMers are in luck though, as PSU hosts the Confucius Institute, and as such, is one of the few locations that the HSK is offered! Though it is too late to register now, the actual test will be held in two days, on the 13th, at PSU. So, my fellow MIM students studying Chinese are in the same boat as me, and have a whole year to get those certifications!
Have you taken the JLPT or HSK or are you studying for it too? Or do you have any surefire, personal study habits that you feel are helping you master one of these languages? Leave a comment and share the wealth! Happy studying!