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They're pretty similar; no one would bat an eye if you swapped them most of the time. However there is a slight difference in that there's an implied emphasis or contrast on the beginning of a sentence. So you'd be more likely to use the first in talking about what you did at different times: For five weeks, I studied Japanese [and then...] vs. maybe using ...


2

From my personal experience, I would say that it depends on the circumstance... It's probably pretty rare in daily life that that much specific information would ever occur in one sentence. Usually there would be more than enough context to be able to avoid saying what you did (study Japanese), where you did it (in your home country) and for how long (...



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