Behind the Counter
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Bunka? Well, here’s a sneak peek into the lives of your friendly admin staff!
Before that, just a quick introduction of myself: I’m Caitlyn (はじめまして！) – some of you have probably met me at the counter, or received some emails or calls from me. I have just finished my 9 months of part-time work at Bunka and am currently preparing to head over to Australia for university.
It’s been an extremely rewarding and enjoyable learning experience here, and I thought I’d just share a little bit of that with you guys!
I was looking for a part-time job last year as I had time to spare after graduating. I’ve studied Japanese for some time now, and I wanted something that would give me the opportunity to practise and use what I’ve learnt (while earning some cash at the same time hah!). Bunka was the first Japanese language school that showed up on Google, so I just went ahead and asked if there were any vacancies. It was really good timing that they happened to be hiring, and it still amazes me how I was just looking for a part-time job, something to occupy my time – instead, I received such a great experience here!
You’re probably thinking: what’s so amazing about working at Bunka? Isn’t it just another admin job? Don’t these people just sit behind the counter all day, every day? Well, you’re not completely wrong. A typical day starts with us doing the usual administrative tasks – checking the letterbox, marking attendance, receiving payments and the list goes on.
But it gets more interesting along the way, especially when it comes to replying emails, picking up phone calls or assisting walk-in students. You’d be surprised by the diversity of the students we have here! Just by sitting here at the counter, I’ve met so many people from so many different countries – France, Germany, India, China and Malaysia, just to name a few off the top of my head. There’re even students who travel all the way from Johor Bahru every week for lessons at Bunka! I’ve also met a student whose hometown is Adelaide, where I am heading for my studies, and we had a great time talking about Australia. (I’m not sure if you’re reading this, but hello! :D)
We have students from all sorts of backgrounds as well – teenagers who are still schooling, teachers, employees of Japanese companies, chefs in Japanese restaurants, air stewards, people who’ve just migrated to Singapore, students preparing to go to a Japanese university… It’s always interesting to strike up conversations with students (if time allows, of course!) and hear your stories. So look around in class and get to know your classmates! You never know what kind of amazing people you have around you every week, until you get talking! 🙂
So to all the students who I’ve had the privilege of meeting, who have inspired me with your stories, and who have made my time here such an interesting and eventful one, THANK YOU! All the best in your Japanese studies, and I hope you press on and persevere till you reach wherever your goal lies. It will be worth it!
Next up, the teachers! I’m not trying to boast, but our teachers have so much patience and dedication to the work they do. I always took my teachers for granted in school (and secretly disliked some of them), but working here has made me develop a new appreciation and respect for all teachers as I see what goes on behind the scenes – the amount of work, effort and time that goes into every class, every student.
And it’s not every day that you get to interact with friendly, native Japanese people! Working at Bunka was the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in a Japanese environment, and I could ask whatever burning questions about Japan I had! It was especially fun to have had the chance to work closely with the teachers during the Bunka Matsuri last year. 先生、本当にお世話になりました！
Last but definitely not least! I’ve really enjoyed myself working with my fellow admin staff, as well as the Management. You’ve changed the way I see people, especially receptionists! I used to think admin jobs were boring, and so people who did admin must be boring as well – how wrong I was! If you’ve seen our pictures on the blog, or the tag #bunkagirls (well, we have a guy now so maybe #bunkateam instead haha!) on Instagram, you’d probably know that we’re a crazy bunch! So feel free to approach us at the counter, we don’t bite!
Anyway, I’ve grown and learnt so much from all of you; you guys have made my first job an unforgettable experience that I’ll always hold dear to my heart. Thank you for all the opportunities you have given and entrusted to me. I’m grateful to have been able to do more than just admin here – doing some translation and being part of the Bunka Matsuri was especially fun! I never thought I’d be able to find a job where I get to do what I love, but you proved me wrong. Thank you for being so patient with me and always pressing for my growth and development. I feel so welcomed, loved and accepted in this warm and homely Bunka environment. To the students, I hope you find that touch of home here too! I’ll definitely be back to visit! 🙂
Aaaand here are some photos from behind the scenes!