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25 Things You Need To Know About Studying In Japan

Japan has become a top study destination for students seeking quality education outside Europe and North America. The country was the ninth most popular destination for international students in 2018.

There are quite a number of reasons why international students are drawn to the country. Some students are attracted by Japan’s high educational standards, while for others the attraction is Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Japan is also one of the most technologically developed countries in the world.

However, before you apply to study in Japan, there are things you may not know about studying in the world’s third largest economy. So in today’s post, we share with you 25 things you need to know about studying in Japan.

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Let’s begin…

  • Japan has some of the best universities in the world

According to the Times Higher Education rankings for universities globally, there are Ten Japanese Universities in the top 500 universities in the world. The highest ranked university from Japan is the prestigious University of Tokyo which sits at 36. Be rest assured that the education you will get in Japan will compare favorably to those in Europe and elsewhere.

  • Japan is Asia’s second highest recipients for international students

There were 188,000 international students in Japan in 2018, making Japan the second most sought after destination for students in Asia after China. Japan is also the ninth destination globally for international students.

  • Some courses are taught in English

When applying to study in Japan, it’s important to confirm if English is the medium of communication for your preferred course. Some universities offer certain courses only in the Japanese language. Check and confirm that the programme you seek will be taught in English before you apply.

  • You will use public transit a lot

The Japanese know what’s up when it comes to subways and bullet trains. The whole country is interconnected in a series of amazingly efficient metro systems. You’ve probably heard of Tokyo’s legendary ‘rush hour’ trope, where people are packed onto the subways like sardines during rush hour. You will have to get used to joining the rush as most Japanese prefer to use public transits.

  • Japan is safe

Japan is listed as the ninth safest place in the world. In any case, it would be wise to be security conscious. Lock your doors and stay out of dark alleys. Japan is however safe for international students and tourists alike.

  • It’s Possible to Study Abroad in Japan on a Budget

There’s no denying that Japan can be expensive. It may be one of the most expensive places in Asia to study abroad. But it’s possible to live on a budget if you have your way around town and make friends with local students who could show you affordable options for most things.

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  • There are entrance exams for Japanese universities

Rather than submitting a GPA or other assessment grades, students applying to universities in Japan are required to take entrance examinations. The ‘Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)’ is the standardized test for foreign students. The exam is designed to test basic academic skill in areas of science, mathematics and ‘Japan and the world’. Some 95% of national universities, 65% of public universities and 44% of private institutions require the EJU for entrance.

  • Health insurance is required

All international students staying in Japan for more than 3 months are required to enroll in the National Health Insurance system. Subscribers to the system pay 30 percent of the medical expenses at a clinic or hospital for any medical and dental treatment covered by the system.

  • English is Less Common than You Might Think

Most Japanese people have studied English at some point if they’ve gone through the standard school system. But that doesn’t mean they’re comfortable speaking it. Expect for English not to be understood in most places you go.

  • You need permission before you can work as a student

If you would like to engage in part-time work, you need to obtain permission from the Minister of Justice in advance. It is also mandatory for business operators to report the matter to the Employment Service Center when they hire foreigners. If granted permission, you will be allowed to work for up to 28 hours a week.

  • There are 780 universities in Japan

There are approximately 780 universities in Japan, of which about 80 percent are private. There are also specialized schools and colleges that provide more vocational types of degree. The top 8 universities in the country are all public with two private universities rounding off the top ten.

  • Tuition fees are expensive

Tuition fees for all the 37 public universities in Japan are set at a uniform rate by the government. An academic year in any of the public universities in Japan will cost you averagely $5,348. This does not include admission fee for the first year which is $2575, in total you could be paying in excess of $7,466 for your first year tuition in Japan.

  • Scholarships are available

 There are a range of government scholarships, grants and loan schemes open to outstanding international applicants. The Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship is one such scheme. See AfterschoolAfrica for scholarships in Japan

ALSO WATCH: These 5 Countries offer Low/Free Tuition Universities for International Students

  • Japan prides itself in research and technology

Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries on earth. Popular technological brands from Japan include Nissan, Toyota, Panasonic, Canon and Sony. The country also produces robots for every need imaginable.

  • You could lose your admission if you break laws

Working beyond the approved number of hours or flouting other rules governing your stay in Japan could cost you your admission and you would be deported.

  • Japan is the second largest maker of cars in the world

Japan produced 8.35 million units of cars in 2017 making it the second highest producer of cars in the world. Japan still has a long way to go if it intends to catch up with China who produced a staggering 24.81 million units of cars in the same year.

  • Acceptance rates are low

Institutions in Japan are usually very picky with students they admit. It is imperative to apply to institutions that have a high acceptance rate. One of such universities is the Tokyo University of Information science which has an acceptance rate of 98%.

  • Chinese Students make up 40% of International students

Students from China made up around 40% of all international students studying in Japan in 2017, with 107,260 Chinese students. Expect to meet a lot of them during your stay; do not however mistake them for the Japanese students as they may find that offensive.

  • Punctuality is part of Japanese culture

Punctuality is a cornerstone of Japanese culture. If something is scheduled to start at 8:00am, you need to be there by 7:45am. You’ll notice, especially on public transportation, that people are always running or speed walking to their next destination. Lateness is not at all accepted or an acceptable behavior. Do not make the mistake of showing up late for classes or exams.

  • Japan is very clean

One of the first things you will notice about Japan is how clean everything is. The people, the homes, the streets, it’s all very neat and tidy. There are also no garbage cans around, so you will have to hold on to your waste till you get home.

  • The Japanese are very polite

The Japanese are a polite and soft-spoken people. Children are taught respect from a very young age, and are held to high standards. In Japan, people often bow upon meeting one another. The duration and deepness of the bow is proportionate to power and position of the person you are addressing.

  • Drinking and Smoking age in Japan is 20

It is a law which almost nobody ever adheres to because of lax enforcements. As an international students however you may not be as lucky as Japanese teenagers. You want to stay away from smoking and drinking if you’re under 20-years of age.

  • Japan offers you a rich culture and history

Japan is a bucket lister’s paradise, a place where traditional and modern culture mix to create something incomparable. There are experiences here that can’t be had anywhere else, so don’t come in unprepared, or you might miss out. The sumo game which is one of Japan’s most recognized cultural events holds three times a year in Tokyo.

  • Prepare for Jet lag after you arrive

Japan is a Far East nation and flights to the island can take hours. You will fly past multiple time zones before you arrive, except you happen to be living next door. For a lot of students jet lag usually sets in and can take between six-nine days before they fully recover.

  • Beware of Golden Week

If you’re planning to study abroad in Japan in the spring semester, this one’s for you. Golden Week happens at the end of April and beginning of May when many Japan’s workers get time off. It’s the family holiday season in Japan, and as a result — hotel prices go up, and queues wind around every attraction. You want to plan your stay with this in mind

There you have it. You just learned 25 things you need to know about studying in Japan. Do you have plans to study in Japan? Or do you have any experience studying in Japan?  Tell us about it in the comments section below. If you are yet to subscribe to After School Africa channel, now is a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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