Study in Japan: University guide, MEXT scholarship and Campus life!

September 27, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski


Hi guys. In today’s video I will share with you some information you need to know if you consider studying in Japan. Japan has a well developed education system and it’s national universities are ranked quite high across Asia and elsewhere in the world. Although the higher education system was modeled after Western countries, nowadays it differs from the other countries in many ways. Here are some main things you need to know: Let’s start from the very beginning. An academic year in a Japanese university starts in April. It is divided into two semesters: the first from April until September, the second from October until March. While a Bachelor program lasts for 4 years, it will take you 2 years to complete a Master’s degree, and a minimum of 3 years to earn a PhD degree. This number may vary depending on the faculty. One of the most important questions – do you need to speak Japanese? Most universities teach almost exclusively in Japanese. However, big national Japanese universities try to increase their international competitiveness and nowadays offer few courses in English. As an exception, some faculties even offer master, PhD programs entirely in English. Nonetheless, from my personal experience I can definitely recommend you to have at least a basic level of Japanese even for programs taught in English. You will have to deal with a lot of documents in Japanese during your study, and it is a very bureaucratic country. On top of that, the student office will regularly send you emails only in the Japanese language. Good luck! Both national and private universities are recognized internationally for their quality and are therefore quite expensive. As a rule, private universities cost significantly more. An average tuition fee for an academic year would cost around 500,000 yen for undergraduate and graduate schools. Keep in mind that in the first year you are required to pay an admission fee of about 250,000 yen or more. As a foreign student you have a great opportunity to apply for one of the numerous scholarships. Probably the most generous of them is Mext Japanese government scholarship for international students. It covers your tuition fee for the entire duration of the program, for example 4 years of the bachelor or 2-3 years of graduate school. On top of that, you will receive a monthly scholarship of appr. 150,000 yen and your flight expenses to japan will be fully covered. As you might have expected by now, the application process for such a great scholarship is complicated and long. The application procedure starts in June each year and takes up to 8 months. Throughout the process you will have to present your intended research plan, take an exam in both English and Japanese, and go through the interview at a Japanese embassy with 3 Japanese professors. Lastly, If you managed to successfully pass these stages, you would be required to contact a Japanese professor at a university you want to study, and get his letter of acceptance. The final decision would be announced by the embassy of Japan in your country in the end of August and you would fly to Japan in the beginning of April. Good luck! As I mentioned before, Japanese universities differ from universities in other countries in a few important ways. One of them is the teaching method. Traditionally classes in Japan rely on one-way, teacher-centred lectures. This means that the teacher gives the information to the students and doesn’t expect much interaction in return. Questions and discussions are extremely rare during lectures, especially if the program is taught in the Japanese language. Homework and readings are also minimal. This however may vary to some extend depending on the program and a professor. The grading system is also different in Japan. Most universities employ 4-scale grading system with the following grades: C, B, A, S. As a rule, your grade is based on such things as attendance, presentation or a final paper of around 3000 letters and in some cases participation in the class. Judging from my experience, teachers mainly grade students with A – very good, on a condition you finished all your assignments and attended most of the classes. Your grade will be lowered to B if you missed more than 2 lectures. S – is the highest score you can get and is rarely given. Studying in a Japanese university can be a lot of fun. Every Japanese university has numerous circles – or student clubs. These are groups of people with common interests and hobbies who gather a few times per week and learn, study and practice together. For example, a dancing circle, an astronomy circle, an anime circle and many others. If you are interested in Japanese culture, joining such a circle is a great opportunity to see and learn how Japanese society works. Just as in real life or at work, these circles have a strict hierarchy, where a new student would have to obey and politely listen to what a more experienced member can teach him. Besides that, most of the big national universities have International Student associations which organize many events where you can meet international or Japanese students. These associations also organize amazing homestay programs and trips, where you can learn more about Japanese culture and communicate closer with the locals. This is definitely my favorite part about studying in Japan and I recommend everyone to take advantage of such programs. This was a quick guide to studying in a Japanese university. While some aspects of it might seemed complicated or unusual, remember that any experience of studying abroad can enrich you and open your world. And if you feel passionate about Japan, then studying here can be a great chance to learn more about this interesting country. Thank you for watching. I hope you found this video useful in some way. For more information and links please, check the description box down below. I hope to see you in our next video!