If someone told me about this in advance, I might have had a chance to run away. Who am I kidding? I would still fall in this very pitfall and be happy about it.
So, you are a foreigner and you are thinking about doing your grad education in Japan. There are some things you should know before making the final decision. Here’s a three-item list of the things that I would recommend to 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 very reasonable, but most don’t consider this little nuance until their supervisor tells them to draw a connection between the topic they’ve chosen and the country they are doing their Masters and PhDs.
In my university, for example, you are also required to learn the Japanese language. Although, the thesis itself may be written in the English language, there is still a high probability that you will joggle a few Japanese concepts to justify your time spent in the Japanese grad school.
A possibility of miscommunication with Japanese supervisors
There’s a student-teacher culture in Japan, and there’s a student-teacher culture in your country. And they are two different cultures.
Beware that you may misinterpret what your Japanese supervisor says and don’t hesitate to clarify every aspect of your thesis writing. Miscommunications may arise somewhere you never would have guessed, so be sure to stay on the same page with your Japanese advisor.
It might sound scary, but it’ll be just fine
All in all, to make the best of your time in a Japanese grad school you should welcome the opportunity of getting a piece of in-depth knowledge about Japan by writing your thesis, learn to value money and learn new ways of communication.
All the souvenirs, both physical and mental, you’ll take out of the Japanese grad school will help you in your future and will make you a better person. With the right attitude, Japan will become a fruitful platform for your personal and career development.