On December 1, 2019, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) was held for the first time at Carleton University, a collaboration between SLaLS and the Scheduling and Examination Services. The JLPT has been around for almost 35 years and is open to any non-native speaker. Last year alone, 1,170,000 people applied to take the test at 86 sites around the world.  The unique aspect of this test is that it is conducted almost at the same date all over the world. This year, Carleton University became the 4th testing site in Canada and 226 people applied to write the test here. Test takers were from Carleton University, University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, McGill University and University of Montreal.  Also, dozens of people participated from government departments, and high school or middle schools in our regions.

The JLPT has 5 different levels from N1 to N5, N1 being the highest.  Holding N1 or N2 is often a condition for job applications or to become a full time student in Japan. Recently, it seems that it became one of the conditions to apply for Japanese citizenship.

It took us almost two years to become a JLPT site after all the necessary information was collected and requirements met. We conducted two surveys to estimate number of potential test takers in the Ottawa-Kingston-Montreal region. We applied to the Japan Foundation last year and our application was finally approved.  We are very happy, because our students do not need to travel to Toronto any longer to take the test.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Ms. Jamie Carmichael and Ms. Sandy Ning from Scheduling and Examination Services, Mr. Andrew Riddles, Mr. Mike Barker and Ms. Kaori Sugimura who dedicated their time and energy to make this initiative possible.

Also, we would like to thank to CUJA (Carleton University Japanese Association) for organizing JLPT preparatory sessions and for running them throughout the fall term. Special thanks go to Mr. Seppe Callaerts, Mr. Koketsu Moriya and Ms. Fumie Kuki and some other volunteers for supporting our test takers emotionally and helping them in their study of the Japanese language.

Finally, we are grateful to Dr. Paulin Rankin, Dr. David Wood and Ms. Tracey Wright for supporting our application to become a JLPT testing site.

Yoko Azuma Prikryl
Mami Sasaki
Elizabeth Sowka
Japanese Language Section, SLaLS