Sunday, 13 July 2014

Frequently Asked Questions III

Pic unrelated. But Ajisai season was just over! 
Are you shocked? After doing on FAQ a year, I'm suddenly releasing a third one, what, 3 months after the second one came out. Well, I've been getting a lot of questions lately, and I realised that applications are around now. (Singaporeans, your application deadline is 25th July (Friday) )

Scholarship-related:

Is there a bond? (This questions is specific to Singaporeans)

Nope, there is no bond, but if you decide to take up the scholarship through the Singapore government, you do have to serve a bond. I believe it's about 6 years. You also get a bit more money is month.

Do you have to pay the scholarship money back?

Nope, not at all.

Who wrote your applications? Your teacher or your principal?

I'm not too sure, since I didn't open the envelope to check (it was sealed), but I think my teacher wrote it for me, and then the principal signed off it. It makes sense after all, because my teacher knows me better than my principal.


University related:

What is your opinion on the English language programs vs the Japanese language course? Is it riskier to apply to an English language course?

I'm in the Japanese course, so I'm obviously biased to that. I think, if you want to master the Japanese language by the time you graduate, you should go for the Japanese course. In the English course, there is less opportunity to intensively practice and study Japanese - there are Japanese classes, but things like reports do require lots of practice, I'm still learning about it!

As for the risk, I have no idea. I'm not MEXT and I didn't apply to any English course, so I can't help you there.

Are most Economics/Business related courses internationally recognised?

Probably. If you go to a public school, and especially if you go to an ex-imperial university, your degree will probably be recognised worldwide.

(By the way, Econs/Business people should consider Kyushu University (Kyuda) because we have QREC)

Does Japan have a double-degree program?

Sadly, no. But in Kyudai (at least), you can get an additional degree (actually, a diploma) with your bachelor's degree. Examples include the EUIJ program (stay tuned for more information), the 21st Century Challenge and the Japan-Korean college. I'm in the EUIJ program, so I can tell you that if you choose your modules carefully, you can graduate with an extra diploma without having to take extra courses. I'm not sure about other universities though, you'll have to check with them.

In your opinion, how academically rigorous is university in Japan (in reference to the Tofugu post about university being the spring break of life)?

So you saw Austin's post! Todai seems very very lax, but I study more than him (I think). Then again, Austin is also smarter than me so.... Personally, I think it depends on the major. For Kyudai Engineering students, they need a high GPA in order to be able to specialise in the area they want. But for Economics students, there's not GPA requirement (we do have to pass some modules). But I do believe some exchange programs require a minimum GPA.

Life in Japan:

How expensive is it to live in Japan? Is the scholarship money enough?

(This answer is the updated answer from the first FAQ)
The answer is: it depends. Tokyo is expensive, Fukuoka, not so much. While I was in a dorm in Tokyo, and in Fukuoka, the scholarship money is enough. Of course, if your rent takes up half your allowance, like in Tokyo, then it's probably not going to be enough :p

Are we allowed to do part-time work?

(Again, updated answer from the first FAQ)

The answer is "no" for TUFS and "yes" for university (after you apply for a permit for part-time work. It will limit the number of hours you can work per week - but be careful not to fall into the trap and work too much. Japanese students can afford to fail/retain, but I think we have to at least pass/graduate on time).

What is the weather there like? Is it dangerous to live in Japan? (Mudslides/Tsunamis/Earthquakes etc)

It depends on which part of Japan you're at. I haven't felt an earthquake since I moved to Fukuoka, and even the recent typhoon decided to avoid us. So I live in a safe area (with regards to natural disasters). I do remember experiencing more earthquakes in Tokyo though, although I hear that the recent typhoon was a non-event there too. (It was terrible in Okinawa though)

By the way, weather is... seasonal. I'm not sure how to describe it other than that. There's spring, summer, autumn and winter. If you're from a tropical climate, I guess it could take quite a lot of adjustment.

Is it tough living in Japan by yourself?

What a loaded question, I honestly think my answer will differ depending on my mood. But basically, it depends on the person. I'm fine, but there are people who find it tough. It depends on your lifestyle now and whether you feel homesick and all that.

(Also, I'm so tempted to do an in-depth post about it one day)

Personal questions: 

Why did you choose to study in Japan?

To cut a long story short (hmm... maybe I should blog about it one day?). I went to Kyushu for my ROCS3 program in school and fell in love with the place. Then in JC, I learnt about Kaizen, 5S systems, read Shusaku Endo and decided to come study here

And of course, I really wanted to learn Japanese, and for me, the most effective way is by immersion. So, uni in Japan it was! :D

Many thanks to Sagar, Seany, Keefe, Drew and others for the awesome questions! And thanks to everyone who wrote in with their experience and questions, I love hearing from all of you :D

Please check out the first FAQ, the second FAQ and the anti-FAQ as well. If you have any questions not covered by the FAQs or any past blog posts, or you want to read about a certain topic in-depth, let me know in the comments or through email.

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Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I love to hear your opinions and stories! (And if you want to guest post, do let me know too!)

If you have a question about the MEXT scholarship, please check the FAQs and anti-FAQs to see if it's been covered.