Study in Japan
Japan is an incredibly diverse country with an education system that rivals the West in terms of quality and research output. Not only is Japan highly developed in technological and educational terms, it’s also a beautiful, vibrant country that anyone would enjoy living in.
More than 100,000 international students study in Japan every year. Japanese Universities offer excellent academic standards and high-tech resources and facilities for students. The Japanese education system is incredibly advanced, and the government is focussed on encouraging high-quality higher education for everyone; foreign students and nationals alike.
Why Study in Japan?
Japan has boomed, and is yet still booming – it has an increasingly fast-paced economy (it’s currently the world’s third-largest) and its social system has advanced at an incredible rate as a result. Practically speaking, this means the educational systems are brand new and streamlined, the infrastructure of the cities is advanced, and the entire country is safe, wealthy and welcoming. It’s a great place to move to even if you’re not studying.
Japanese universities are arguably the most respected in Asia – a degree from any Japanese university is a sure sign of applied intelligence. Studying anywhere abroad looks excellent on a CV – it shows employers you’re a multi-dimensional person who’s had more life experience than your average student and is able to work well outside their comfort zone. You can study a degree in Japan at one of five different types of colleges: Colleges of Technology, Professional Training Colleges (‘senmom gakko’), Junior Colleges, Colleges and Universities and Graduate Schools. There is a wide range of courses in Japan to choose from, from language and undergraduate degrees in Japan to post-graduate, MBA’s and research study.
There are over 700 universities in Japan, most of which are private. Education is highly regarded in Japan – it has a near-perfect literacy rate and English is a compulsory part of study in Japan. Japanese Universities have an excellent reputation around Asia and the world – 11 Japanese universities are ranked in the Times Higher Education Supplement Top 200 universities. Most universities in Japan offer many scholarships for international students – which can help with the higher cost of living and tuition fees.
Japanese culture is not to be missed out on either: in between studying hard for those well-respected exam grades, a prospective student would be able to enjoy all that Japan has to offer. The cities of Japan are busy, exciting metropolises, but are complemented beautifully by the rural side of the country, which is steeped in deep tradition and fascinating history. Japan has a huge amount to offer to any tourist, let alone somebody who’s hoping to live there. It’s truly a beautiful, multi-faceted, exciting place to be.
“The Land of the Rising Sun” is a wonderful mix of the old and the new – the modern cities like Tokyo, Kanagawa and Osaka are huge metropolises, filled to the brim and noisy with busy, successful people; whilst the rural areas of Japan are as quiet and as peaceful as the cities are loud and happening. It’s a beautiful, very Asian, yin-and-yang dynamic.
Japan’s cities are as exciting and enthralling as the food – Tokyo is simply vast, and utterly packed with people. The result is a thriving, bustling city with great (and immensely competitive) nightlife, restaurants and any and every other establishment you could possibly think of. Tokyo is an astonishing place to visit and one of the best and most current places to live in in the world – Japan’s thriving economy has resulted in an enormous job market, that’s just waiting to be filled at the higher levels by bright young graduates. There’s a lot open here for someone with a degree, particularly if it’s from a Japanese university.
The beauty of Japan’s countryside matches the urban beauty of Tokyo or Osaka; the rolling hillsides, picturesque mountains and cherry trees have been written about in haiku’s and poems for centuries by Japanese men and women of culture, and no wonder – rural Japan is simply beautiful, and is utterly surrounded by fascinating and exciting history.
Japan’s history has been defined by long periods of isolation with the rest of the world up until 1853 and it still holds onto the traditions and culture that developed separately from any other country.
Cost of Studying and Living in Japan
Japan, sadly, isn’t as cheap as it used to be – it costs roughly the same to live in Tokyo (and, being a student, you’ll probably be living in Tokyo. If you’re not, though, good news! It’ll be cheaper everywhere else) as it would to live in any European or affluent American city. However, there are some benefits to this – for one, part-time jobs would pay a lot more than they would in other parts of the world, and the higher prices act as an indicator of the relative economic success and stability that Japan enjoys. In any case, living costs do not tend to be more than in an American or Europe city.
The cost of studying in Japan isn’t overly cheap, either, with prices for a private university at about $5000 dollars a year. It’s not as cheap as it could be, but it’s still significantly cheaper than studying in American or European universities. Don’t forget; you get to study in Japan – the technological country of the world; the innovator, the inventor, the big one. Although Japanese universities charge more than other universities in this area of the world, this is still an extremely good deal.
There’s more to consider, too – the Japanese government has a scheme in place to hit a target of 300,000 foreign students a year by 2020, making it very keen to accept students from all over the globe. As such, there has been many reports of subsidised loans and even living costs for foreign students – check if you’re eligible before you apply, but the chances look good that money may well be saved this way.
A visa is needed for studying in Japan but most universities are more than happy to do the bulk of the paperwork after they accept you – to obtain a visa a little more directly, an application can be filled at your country’s embassy or consulate. If the university is doing the paperwork, not a lot has to be done, but proof of identity, proof of ability to speak/understand the language the course is taught in (either Japanese or English – see Language), proof of acceptance from the university and proof of finance (such as a letter from your bank or student loans company) is all needed to get a visa from the embassy.
Make sure you know what paperwork you’re filling and where – keep tabs on everything and check and double-check you’ve done everything right – if you’re unsure, the embassy workers and the university will help you; that is what they’re there for, after all.