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How to Go Study in Japan

Updated on March 3, 2016

How to Improve your Chances of Studying in Japan

Hey all, if you have made it to this post, it means you are serious about studying in Japan. Congratulations, you have made the right decision! The decision to study in Japan is the easy part however, getting there is the challenge.

But fear not, as I can help lead you (or at least give you a little nudge) in the right direction. For me, I have gone to Japan to study twice, and each time was a new and wonderful experience. It was hard, and difficult, but truly rewarding. What I have done has allowed me to live in Japan, even now as you are reading this.

I have studied at Kansai Gaidai University as well as Nagasaki University of Foreign Studies. So trust me, if I can do it, so can you! I will give you steps that will increase your chances of making it here.

I would like to point out that this will work if you plan to go to college, or are currently in college. Going while in college is the easiest way and allows more leniencies. So let us get started on our journey to Japan!

Step 1: Research, Research, Research

Now, the route I took may not help everyone, and everyone’s situation, but if you are able to follow this path, the process of getting there will be a lot easier.

Let’s start from the moment you realize that you want to go to Japan. For me, it was my second year in college, for others, maybe ever since they were little kids watching their favorite anime or playing Nintendo and thinking, this is where I want to go, or maybe you saw a photo of Japan that truly inspired you. But now, it is the right time in your life to put this plan into action.

The single most important thing is to choose the right university. Some of you might be thinking, university is just not for me. Well the cold hard truth is that, for most people, you need a degree to work in Japan.

Now, if you just want to travel, that is another topic completely, but by far the best experience you can have in Japan is during college.

So let me stress this again, choose the right college! This can make or break your plans.

Choose the right college
Choose the right college

How to Choose the Right College

Do not make the mistake of joining a college without an exchange program to Japan, or without Japanese classes you can take.

Make sure these are offered. The more options the better!

When researching colleges send out a simple email to the study abroad departments of universities that you are interested in and ask what schools in Japan they offer to study at and what kind of programs they have. The best case is that they offer reciprocal exchanges with multiple universities in Japan. The second best option is to go through an affiliated or approved program.

A reciprocal exchange basically means you trade places with a student from the university you want to attend abroad. A reciprocal exchange program has a couple benefits. It is easier to make sure credits will transfer, it has ease of communication to your own universities study abroad department, and you pay what your normal fees are from your home university.

Affiliated and approved programs are also good alternatives, but they are run by an outside company in association with your university. They have had experience with students who wanted to take the same path as you, and show you step-by-step how to go study in Japan. Both choices are fine, but reciprocal is just a smoother process.

I have chosen and moved into my college. Now what?

Good job! You have gotten through one of the more stressful parts of any college experience. Here is the next step.

Most colleges do not allow students to study abroad the first year, and understandably so. There are a few exceptions but for the most part, you have one year to plan, research, and study.

Promote Yourself

The first thing, as well as the most vital part to this next step is to go to the study abroad department. That’s it, super simple. They will give you all the information and details that you need to know to get to Japan.

But that is only part of the reason you are going. The other reason is that you need to make a presence. Let the people in the department know who you are, and what your plans are. They are the ones who decide if you can go to Japan or not. They are the gatekeepers.

You will soon realize that a year or two before you can study abroad goes by fast, and there is a lot of preparation and waiting. By introducing yourself to them, they will try their best to lead you in the right direction, and maybe even go above and beyond what they normally do to help someone.

Remember, be proactive. Sitting around will not help you get to Japan

The study abroad department can give you hints and tips to making your plan a success. In your first year, if you have not yet stepped into the study abroad department and at least said hello, you have missed many potential opportunities.

Along with introducing yourself to the study abroad department, the next task you want to achieve is to get into the Japanese crowd. Take a Japanese class, befriend other people who have studied in Japan, and most importantly, talk to Japanese people!

They will give you information that no one else can. Those who have already been to Japan can give you hints on the review process, scholarships offered, or what schools to go to. The Japanese students you meet might go to the same school you want to go to, help with your studies, and they can help accommodate you if you run into troubles while studying in Japan.

There are so many benefits just by simply networking yourself a little.

Learn More on How to Study Abroad by Watching This Video

But I’m a shy person, I do not think I can just walk up and introduce myself.

You are in luck. You are talking to the person with anxiety about his anxiety, and shyness that exceeds the boundaries of normalcy. The little trick here that I have found to work is to just fake it. Pretend about being outgoing and confident, and eventually you will not be pretending anymore. College is a time to break out of your shell and to do things you normally would not. I mean, that is one of the reasons you are going to Japan right?

By talking and becoming friends with those who have studied in Japan and with Japanese themselves, you have just opened the door to so many benefits and opportunities that others who want to go to Japan will not have.

For example, in my case, I became friends with someone who has been to Japan. He got an amazing scholarship to go that he told me about and gave me insight into what I should be expecting when I get there.

The Japanese friend I met picked me up at the airport in Japan and let me crash at his place for two weeks before school started and traveled with me showing me awesome sights.

These are just a few reasons you need to network. Making yourself known in the study abroad community and within the Japanese community are essential during your first year.

What I have just told you will put you ahead of any competition

By now some time has passed and you should be eligible to apply for study abroad. Awesome, we are moving forward. You walk into the study abroad department, and because you are motivated and took note of what I said, they already know why you are there.

From here, applying is a simple process. But do not let this fool you. Even though they know you and you have made yourself known, this does not mean you automatically make it in.

My college had a simple point system that was implemented and the higher your score, the better your probability of getting your first choice of colleges.

I will tell you my process, as I am sure it is similar in a few areas.

How to Ensure Your Application is on the Top of the Pile

So you have received the forms and it will ask you a few things. One of the most important factors will be what your GPA is. The average most colleges accept is a 3.0 GPA for reciprocal exchange schools and around a 2.7 GPA for Affiliated and approved programs. I hope you kept your grades up!

The next thing they will want you to do is write an essay. The standard questions are probably applied here. However, take your time. It may be a short essay, but if you take it seriously, you might not get approved over someone else which could mean not going to the school you wanted.

But over the years I have found a way to make sure your essay hits the mark every time. It is so easy it will make you question why you have not done it before. If you do what I tell you, you will have the best essay out of the other candidates.

You ready? Are you sure?

The secret to having an outstanding essay, which will benefit you in the selection process, is to have it reviewed. This sounds easy right? It is so easy, but many people fail to do this, and it puts them at a huge disadvantage.

Have the employees in the study abroad office look it over and tell you how you can improve. Give it to a favorite professor of yours. Even show it to your advisor. These people have spent hours upon hours of writing and/or reading essays and can give you the best advice. Do this, this is a must.

Finally, one more thing that will be looked at is what grade you are. Not much can be done about this, but if the other two parts of your application are spot on, this should not matter as much. A junior might have a little advantage over a sophomore for example, but this is not something that should affect your chances too much.

Now you are done. There is nothing more to do than to wait. Hopefully, by following this process, you will make it to Japan just like I did and enjoy the beautiful culture, scenery, and adventures that are waiting for you!

Again, there is no easy way to do this; it is up to your own drive and motivation. But we believe in you. Achieve your goals, dreams, and aspirations.

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    • Japantics profile image

      Japantics 17 months ago from Nagasaki, Japan

      There are so many great countries to study in, it is a really hard decision on which to go to. But, whichever country someone finally decides on will give them memories and experiences of a lifetime!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 17 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      A great review with awesome advice. If I was younger, I would go and study in Japan.