Are you applying to college in Japan on a whim and expect to wing it despite not knowing Japanese? Things might just be getting tougher for you.
New rules may make it more difficult for international students who want to enroll in private Japanese universities. This is to make sure students who enter Japan to study have everyday Japanese language skills and won’t run out of tuition funds.
The education ministry and immigration agency said new rules are being prompted due to indiscriminate enrollment by some private universities. Many students who easily find a place in these private universities can’t cope down the line. Several have had their enrolments canceled and many have been removed from Japan. This is a shame, given the time and expense that students go into for their courses.
But some private universities don’t really prepare students for what’s to come to school in a new and foreign culture. Some even lose touch with students. Depending on how you look at it, this could be terrifying or liberating. But it’s definitely a problem for the Japanese government and for young students who find themselves running out of money in a foreign country and unable to speak the language.
In the last three years, the Tokyo University of Social Welfare lost contact with 1,610 students, many of whom were enrolled in Japanese language programs. This private university with four campuses in Ikebukuro, Oji, Nagoya, and Isesaki offers courses in social welfare, education, psychology, and childcare, as well as a special program in the Japanese Language. Government inspectors found that as many as 700 students also canceled their enrolment over the three years and 178 were removed.
Current Admission Process
At the moment, admissions to Japanese universities are on the basis of entrance exams. The standardized test for foreigners is the EJU (Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students.) It tests your basic science, maths, and knowledge of Japan and the world. You can take the EJU at centers across Asia, without having to travel to Japan, twice a year.
Not all universities will accept the EJU alone. Some have their own internal exam in addition to the EJU. You’ll need to travel to Japan for that. You’re more likely to be a serious student if you apply for such a university and less likely to drop out.
But many students of English language programs in private universities arrive with zero knowledge in the Japanese language. Not being able to speak the local language is a big handicap in Japan, especially since English is probably not as widely spoken as in your home country. In rural Japan, a sound knowledge of Japanese is a must.
Many universities need you to deposit the first year’s tuition fees at the time of admission. You’ll also need to show that you have the funds to support yourself when in Japan. But faced with the temptations of a country that’s a consumer’s paradise, you could quickly run out of money before your course is over if you’re not watchful.
For students abroad for the first time in their lives, it’s easy to find out the hard way that money can be like water. This especially applies to students living and studying in Tokyo’s expensive real estate market.
Foreign Influence on Admission Procedure
Japan’s selection requirements at educational institutions have traditionally been strict. Only about 56 percent of students pass on their first attempt to get into university. Students who fail to get into university prepare for another year on their own, like Ronin (a masterless samurai), and retake the exam again.
But with the coming of foreign companies into Japan, selection criteria have become more relaxed. Until the late nineties, you’d need a guarantor in order to enter Japan. That rule has been lifted – you only need a guarantor when you’re signing your rent agreement or enrolling at a college. It’s easy to see how students could end up not having enough money to pay rent for the last few months of their course.
Entering Japan is easier too. There are as many as 100 universities, both private and public, that offer pre-arrival admissions. You can also apply for a Temporary Visa of 15, 30 or 90 days to take an entrance test in Japan on a Student Visa. If you are admitted into a school during this time, you can change your status to College Student while you’re in Japan.
Why Study in Japan
Despite the language problem, over the past few years, Japan has become a popular country for international students to study in during their gap years and even beyond. Many young people in their early and late twenties have been looking for global education experiences and interest has been shifting to Japan, relatively unexplored territory for westerners.
Japan offers many advantages to the student from the UK or USA. Tuition is not as expensive as it is in the UK or USA. Scholarship systems and the waiver and exemption system are better than many other countries. With tuition and living expenses, expect to spend around $1,340 per month on average, although expenses will be lower in rural areas.
If you want to study in Japan, you have the option of enrolling at several points in your academic career. With the USD and Euro stronger than the Japanese Yen, your program will be less expensive than any program back home. If you are from outside the US and UK from a country with a currency weaker than the USD and you’re looking for an exciting program abroad, studying in Japan may still be less expensive.
Besides the chance to study in a unique education system that also offers excellent facilities for technical training, you get the chance to learn a new language, immerse yourself in a whole new and unique culture, and the chance to make lifelong friends from around the world.
If you want to study in Japan, your research should begin at the JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization.)
Best Scholarships for International Students in Japan
Asian Development Bank-Japan program for International Students, 2019
Applications are open for Asian Development Bank-Japan program funded by the Japanese government. In order to apply, you must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent with a superior academic record. This program will provide full tuition fees, a monthly subsistence and housing allowance, medical insurance, etc.
Provided By: Japanese government
Course: Postgraduate program
Award: full tuition fees, a monthly subsistence, housing allowance, etc.
Application Deadline: July 19, 2019
Matsumae International Foundation (MIF) Research Fellowship Program in Japan, 2020
The Matsumae International Foundation is now accepting applications for the Research Fellowship Program 2020. Applicants must hold a Ph.D. (Doctorate) degree. Award of ¥220,000- per month is provided for the purpose of tuition payment, expenses for research materials, and miscellaneous living expenses.
Provided By: Matsumae International Foundation (MIF)
Course: pursuing a doctorate degree program
Award: ¥220,000- per month
Application Deadline: By 17:00 on July 31, 2019
Meiji University International Students Incentive program in Japan, 2019
Meiji University is offering an International Students Incentive program for 2019 intake. Students who are enrolled in Meiji University as a MEXT scholar are eligible to take the benefit. The scholarship award is 50,000 yen per month for undergraduates/graduates, up to six months.
Provided By: Meiji University
Course: pursuing undergraduate and graduate program
Award: 50,000 yen per month
Application Deadline: Each program has a different deadline.
Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarships for Foreign Research Students in Japan, 2019
Applications are open for MEXT Research Scholarships available for international students to study graduate courses at Japanese universities. Students who have the nationality of a country which has diplomatic relations with the Japanese government can apply for these endowments.
Provided By: Japanese Government
Course: graduate level courses program
Award: up to 145,000yen
Application Deadline: The deadline for the applications differs according to the country.