Beginner’s Guide for Studying in Japan

If you aspire to study in Japan- the homeland of the bullet train, instant noodles and karaoke, you’ll be pleased to know that Japan wants you too.
The Japanese government is keen to attract more international students and has set a target of having 300,000 foreign students in the country by 2020. As a result, the universities are focusing on making life easier for foreign students, from the application process all the way through to finding a job after graduation.
Here are some of the top benefits of studying in Japan:

1. High educational standards

The OECD ranks Japanese high school students number one in the world for maths and number 2 for scientific literacy. Japan has the highest number of Nobel prize winners of any Asian country, and the second highest of any country since 2000.
49% of Japanese High School graduates enter university. Japan has over 700 universities, with 10 ranked in the top 200 worldwide. The University of Tokyo was ranked among the top 30 universities in the world.
In Japanese culture, education is regarded highly. So, you’re likely to find yourself in a world-class academic environment.

2. Low tuition fees and generous scholarships

Tuition fees are comparatively cheap in Japan. While an “in state” student in the US may spend $10,000 a year or more on tuition, with international fees being several times higher, tuition fees at Japanese public universities are a mere 535,800 yen (approx $5,500) a year.
Partial and full tuition fees waivers are even possible for high achieving students from poorer backgrounds. Schools in Japan charge a tuition fee and a number of other smaller fees. On top of that, you will probably need about 150000 Yen per month to cover your living expenses.
Various university scholarships and grants are available through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).

3. Improving your employment opportunities

Study abroad is an impressive part of any resume. Employers value the skills you learn as an international student. As well as the personal growth you will undergo studying in Japan, interacting with your professors, classmates, tutors, and friends, will help improve your international awareness and employment opportunities.
Internationally aware employees are in strong demand, and many companies actively recruit students with overseas learning experience – especially if they are able to speak a second language.
If you choose to return home after graduation, you can be confident that your experience in Japan will help you appeal to high-quality employers, particularly those involved in international business.
For this wishing to remain in Japan, there is a strong job market for highly qualified graduates. In a recent survey, around half of the major Japanese companies surveyed expressed a desire to hire foreigners graduating from Japanese institutions.
Now, that we have covered the major benefits of studying in Japan, let’s check the practical application process and what you should be doing to make your dream a reality.

Application Process for Japan

The Japanese school year starts in April and the second semester usually starts in October. Language schools often have start dates in January and July as well, and short term courses start every month at some schools.
For long term courses on a student visa, you need to apply approximately 6 months in advance to most language schools due to the visa application that is done through the school.
Some universities only take applications during a couple of short application windows so make sure to check the application information of the university that you are interested in.
If you want to study at Senmon Gakko (professional training college) or University in Japan you will usually need to take an exam to show that you can fulfill their requirements. A Senmon Gakko usually demands JLPT 2 while universities favor the EJU-exam.
For most universities in Japan, you can simply apply online by submitting the application form along with all requested application documents.
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