For those of us who long for adventure, you may find studying abroad just the ticket. Many people hope to try something such as this, yet never follow through due to fears of being in an unknown territory. I think Japan is a wonderful opportunity for those with the desire to try something new and exciting.
If you are currently residing in the United States, I’m sure you will come to find the Japanese culture to be nothing short of refreshing. Many of their customs are quite different from what we are used to. From my time in Japan on vacation I have found the people there to be much more polite versus the people in America. They are courteous and appear to be much more academic and well behaved. While in Japan, I actually had an elderly woman ask me if I’d like a seat on the bus!
There are a few things you will need to know before planning your trip to study abroad. You can’t just pack your bags, catch the next flight, and begin your new life overseas. There are legal regulations that must be met.
Visas are something each student needs to be aware of. For short-term studies such as Japanese language schools, you can typically use a simple tourist visa. Most U.S. passports will be an equivalent for a tourists visa, however you should always contact the appropriate authorities prior to any trip to confirm. For all long term travel and studies at educational institutes or universities you will need to apply for a Student Visa. One of the main requirements to obtain such a visa is that you must gain sponsorship from the schooling facility you are planning to attend.
Japanese language schools are becoming quite common in many cities across Japan and range in all levels of experience. Some language schools will even offer preparatory classes for students to have the opportunity to enroll into a university at a later date.
If a University is more for you than on top of the student visa, you will first need to pass an Admission Exam for international students. The examination will cover, Japanese language, science, Japan and the world, and mathematics. These tests are held biannually and can be written in either Japanese or English.
Scholarships are also available to international students looking to travel abroad. You will have to contact the Japanese Government, local governments, or the Japan Student Services Organization for more information on qualifications.
The world revolves around money, so most students will be anxious to start a job once arriving in Japan so they can cover living expenses, recreation, and other needs. Unfortunately, Japan shuns upon working while participating in any academics. They are quite strict on studies and some schools will not permit you to work at all while attending a University or language school. In order to find out if you are permitted to participate in any paid activities you will need to contact the school and immigration office. Even if you are approved, you will only be entitled to work a specific amount of hours per week. If you exceed this limit you will risk expulsion from school.
Prior to engaging in your journey overseas you will need to find living quarters for your arrival. I would highly recommend a Gaijin or Guesthouse. These are the most economical and affordable places for foreigners to stay. Most Gaijin housing features shared living. Depending on the price you’re looking to spend, you can choose between a joint bedroom; one shared with another person. You can also choose to have a private bedroom if available, however this may cost slightly more. Typically you will share a kitchen and bathroom in any guest or Gaijin home. They are an amazing way to meet other travelers and international students. Furnishings are normally supplied in a Gaijin home, your room will most likely be equip with a futon, telephone, and in some cases a television.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Take the bold step and venture overseas to this wonderful country filled with beauty, incredible cultural experiences, and so much more.