If someone had told me about this in advance, I might have had a chance to avoid falling into this pitfall, but who am I kidding? I probably would have still fallen for it and been happy about it.
So, if you are a foreigner considering pursuing graduate education in Japan, there are some things you should know before making a final decision. Here’s a three-item list of things that I would recommend you consider.
It requires more money than you imagine
Remember this financial item called jyukenryou (受験料 – exam fee) in your exam portfolio? Basically, the school asks you to pay for looking at your application papers. Well, that’s only the beginning.
There’s an entrance fee, a faculty maintenance fee waiting for you after you’ve successfully passed. And did I mention that all the university clubs and activities require additional fees?
Grad thesis in Japan has to do something with Japan
This is a reasonable requirement, but many students don’t consider this aspect until their supervisor asks them to make connections between their research topic and the country where they are pursuing their Masters or PhD.
At my university, for instance, students are also required to learn the Japanese language. Even if the thesis is written in English, there’s a good chance that some Japanese concepts will be incorporated to justify the time spent studying in a Japanese graduate program.
A possibility of miscommunication with Japanese supervisors
It is important to keep in mind that there is a distinct student-teacher culture in Japan that may differ from the culture you are used to in your home country. As a result, there is a possibility that you may misinterpret what your Japanese supervisor is trying to convey. Therefore, it is crucial to clarify and discuss every aspect of your thesis writing with your advisor to avoid any potential miscommunications that may arise unexpectedly.
It might sound scary, but it’ll be just fine
Overall, to make the most out of your time in a Japanese grad school, it’s important to embrace the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about Japan through your thesis writing, appreciate the value of money, and adapt to new ways of communication.
The souvenirs, both tangible and intangible, that you’ll take away from your Japanese grad school experience will undoubtedly benefit you in your future endeavors and contribute to your personal and career growth. With the right mindset, Japan can be a valuable platform for your academic and professional development.