Study In Japan

Why Study in JAPAN

There are many good reasons to study in Japan. Some students are attracted by Japan’s high educational standards, while for others the attraction is Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Nearly 5 million students study abroad annually, with that number projected to continue increasing. With over 150,000 international students, Japan is one of the most popular destinations for international students. 

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..

Learn Japanese while earning a degree

Studying on one of our international program allows you to learn Japanese all the way throughout your degree program, while also earning a degree in another subject. Many students with an interest in Japan feel they have to choose between a degree in Japanese and another subject. With Tsukuba’s English programs, you can have the best of both worlds; learning Japanese while also gaining a degree in another subject. Student who wish to remain in Japan and work after graduation may enjoy a significant advantage over language majors, who may have comparable Japanese levels, but who lack the degree specific skills.

Japan is a safe, peaceful place to study

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. Violent crime is rare, with Japan ranking last in the number of victims of crime per capita (nationmaster.com). Japan regularly turns up on lists of the safest places to visit in the world. Japan also has one of the world’s most advanced healthcare systems, reflected in this high life expectancy. Members of the National Health Insurance scheme pay only 30% of their healthcare costs, with a trip to the doctor or dentist often costing only a few hundred yen (few dollars).

Improving your employability

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 Tsukuba, 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 Tsukuba 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.

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 “out of state” and international fees being several times higher, tuition fees at Japanese public universities are a mere 535,800 yen (approx $5,500) a year. Furthermore, at Tsukuba the regular entrance fees and first semester tuition fees have been waived for undergraduate English program students. Partial and full tuition fees waivers are even possible for high achieving students from poorer backgrounds.

Furthermore, a wide range of scholarships are available, both from the university, and from public and private organizations. A limited number of Tsukuba scholarships are available, paying a monthly living allowance, and a travel allowance (first year only). A wide range of other scholarships are available, with some directed towards specific nationalities, women, minorities, or those with high level Japanese proficiency.

See the world, develop as a person

Studying abroad gives you an unparalleled opportunity to live, work and explore a different culture. You will be able to learn about the people, the culture, the history and language of one of thew world’s most unique cultures. Living overseas will help you develop as a person, becoming independent and taking responsibility. It will help you to see things from new perspectives, and appreciate the differences between cultures, while also seeing the deep similarities between people. Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom; meeting people from different cultures and making friends from all over the world are also important parts of growing up.

Martial arts and culture

For those wishing to learn Japanese, or take part in a Japanese martial art, the University offers obvious benefits. The University has sent over 60 athletes to the Olympic games, and we have numerous Olympic medalists and world champions on staff. Judo, kendo, kyudo, and karate players have the opportunity to train in one of the world’s foremost university clubs, while high level instruction is readily available. Students wishing to learn taiko drumming, shamisen, Japanese calligraphy or the tea ceremony are equally well catered for.

Considering studying in Japan? Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about Japanese universities and student life, and what steps to take next.

Known for making things smaller, faster and first, Japan boasts the third-largest economy in the world. Its economic strength is at least partly due to the strong research and development industry that underlies successful international brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Panasonic, Canon and Sony – as well as producing robots for every need imaginable. Unsurprisingly, an excellent higher education system lies behind all this innovation.

Eligibility for Japanese university

Foreigners who want to study at a Japanese university must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid passport
  • 12 years of school in your home country or an International Baccalaureate diploma (the German Abitur is also accepted by many universities)
  • Proof that you can pay all of your expenses while studying
  • Japanese language skills (not technically a requirement, but you will struggle in university courses without a working knowledge of the language)

Foreigners have an easier time getting into Japanese universities than Japanese students, mainly because the Japanese government encourages a diverse university population (the non-Asian population at most universities is still extremely low, however). In addition, the decreasing numbers of young people in Japan are translating into more space at universities.

University application requirements

A typical Japanese university application requires the following items:

  • References from professors/teachers
  • Proof that you can financially support yourself while studying
  • High school transcripts and/or diplomas
  • A valid passport
  • Passport-size photographs

Don´t think you will be able to apply without taking an entrance exam. While foreign students are not subjected to the sanity-bending rigours of the Japanese exams, they are required to take the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students. This includes academic and language testing, and is offered twice a year (in summer and fall, respectively). If you are applying to a university that requires English language skills and you are not a native English-speaker, you may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Once admitted, your university will help you obtain your student visa, mainly by providing you with a Certificate of Eligibility. See the Visa and Permits section for more information on applying for a student visa.

Life in Japan

Certain aspects of living in Japan will probably be familiar to many expatriates before they even get there. Youth culture in other East Asian nations, Europe, and the US has been picking up trends from Japan for years.

Adult expats, on the other hand, might rather read up on the traditions, arts, and festivals associated with Japan. Their view of the country is characterized by their interest in ritual and culture, in things like nokabuki and bunraku theater, or the matsuri, local shrine and temple holidays.

One of the Safest Places in the World

First of all, it may be reassuring to know that Japan is a very safe place. According to the Global Peace Index 2016, living there means living in one of the ten safest countries in the world. Actually, it is has one of the lowest murder rates among all nations, and violent crime is indeed rare.

However, you should not assume that Japan does not involve any risks at all. Although violent crimes and hate crimes happen very rarely, they do happen nonetheless. Crime victims, especially survivors of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence, have complained about less than sensitive treatment by police officers.

If Something Goes Wrong

Most foreigners who report a crime in Japan file charges of petty theft or vandalism. In Greater Tokyo’s nightlife areas, especially Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro, drink spiking, bar brawls, and fraudulent credit card charges are not uncommon, so be careful when celebrating in Japan’s major cities.

The national emergency numbers are 119 (fire / ambulance) and 110 (crime / accident).

Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Earthquakes are very common here, and most expats may have witnessed one of these seismic shocks. Most of these earthquakes are comparatively harmless and Japan operates an early warning system, broadcasting information to news media and cell phone users if a large tremor is detected.

The general advice is to hide under a table if you feel the ground start to shake, in order to protect yourself from any objects which might fall during the quake. It is also advisable to have an emergency kit at hand and to leave the building as soon as possible after you have turned off the gas. The Japanese National Tourism Organization has published a guideline “If You Experience an Earthquake” with advice regarding quakes and tsunamis.

Earthquakes in Japan rarely present a severe danger, but in March 2011 Japan was hit by a particularly strong tremor resulting in a tsunami which hit the east coast very hard. The tsunami led to the devastation of many homes and the loss of nearly 16,000 lives. Moreover, a nuclear plant in the prefecture of Fukushima was heavily damaged. After numerous reactor failures, the government declared the region around the power plant a prohibited zone. Due to high radiation levels, neither locals nor expats and tourists may enter this area.

This natural disaster also had an effect on the country’s economy. Please refer to our article on moving to Japan and contact your nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulatefor further information.

Getting Registered in Japan

The first obstacle to a smooth move usually involves the municipal bureaucracy. Every foreign national who wants to settle in Japan for more than three months has to register as a resident alien. The procedure might seem a bit intimidating, especially if you don’t speak Japanese. But don’t worry! Obtaining a so-called Resident Card (zairyu kaad) is actually not that difficult.

Starting in July 2012, the new Resident Card replaced the old Alien Registration Card (gaikokujin touroku shoumeisho). Foreign residents who stay in Japan for more than three months are now registered in the same system as Japanese citizens.

If you come to Japan on a visa for a mid-term or long-term stay, you will be handed your Resident Card at the airport. If you don’t enter the country through one of the big international airports, you will get a stamp in your passport and later receive the card in the mail. In addition to receiving the Resident Card, you will need to register your address and complete your residence record at a local government office within 14 days of your arrival in Japan.

The local government office may be called town hall, city administration, ward office, or something similar. Most residence offices in major cities like Tokyo-Yokohama or the Kansai Region have weekly English-language consultation hours to help foreigners with the paperwork.

Be sure to carry your passport and your card with you all the time. This is legally required for every foreign national living in Japan.

With regards to the different types of visas and work permits existing in Japan, please have a look at our article Working in Japan.

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