Your duration of study and the manner in which your expenses are paid squarely depend on the student category they belong to.
Last week we had discussed some aspects of higher education including the types of schools and the sources for authentic information in Japan. Let us look into the other aspects of studies for foreign students in that country.
Categories of students
Japanese government scholarship students
Privately financed foreign students
Foreign government sponsored students
Short-term student exchange programme students
The duration of study and the manner in which your expenses are paid depend on which category you fall among the four mentioned above.
Several thousands of students from various countries have enjoyed the benefit of the Japanese government (Monbukagakusho) scholarship programme. There are different types of government scholarships. You should meet one of the conditions listed below:
Recommended by a Japanese embassy
Recommended by the Japanese university which will accept you
Selected by the Japanese university in which you are currently studying as a privately-financed student
There are prescribed criteria for eligibility for the Japanese government scholarships, some of which are indicated below.
Research: Graduate under 35 years of age.
Teacher training: Graduate with five years of teaching experience. Age: under 35 years.
Undergraduate university student: Candidates should have completed 12 years of school. Age: 12 to 22 years.
Japanese studies students: Undergraduate student of Japanese language or culture in a university outside Japan at the time when they come to Japan. Age: 18 to 30 years.
College of technology students: Candidates should have completed at least 11 years of schooling. Age: 17 to 22 years.
Special training college students: Candidates should have completed at least 12 years of schooling. Age: 17 to 22 years.
Guidelines are available in the site www.studyjapan.go.jp/en .
Privately financed foreign students
There are two paths for admission. The student may apply directly to the institution. Alternately the student may first enroll at a private Japanese-language institute, complete a one-year preparatory course, and then apply for admission to a chosen institution.
In either case, the student may have to sit for an entrance examination. JASSO conducts the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).
It checks your Japanese language skills and basic academic abilities for admission to institutions in Japan. It would be held at various international centres including New Delhi.
There would be a 120-minute paper on Japanese as a foreign language, and three papers on science, Japan and the world, and mathematics, each of 80-minute duration.
You can select the subject tests depending on the university you wish to enter and the course of study you wish to pursue.
The Japanese language test would check your skills in writing, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension.
In the science paper, you can choose any two subjects from physics, chemistry and biology.
The subject tests can be taken in Japanese or English. All the questions use a multiple-choice format, except for the writing section in the language paper. For further details, visit www.jasso.go.jp/eju/
Foreign government sponsored students
This segment is mostly confined to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Uzbekistan. However there are opportunities for researchers for RONPAKU (dissertation Ph.D.) programme under the auspices of JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science).
Selection of candidates for the scheme is done by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The scheme covers basic and applied sciences / engineering (except social sciences/ humanities). The department selects candidates who are attached to a university or other research institution.
Short-term student Exchange programme
There are limited opportunities in this segment for Indian students. For example, JNU has signed MoU for student exchange with universities such as Otani University, Kyoto, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Daito Bunka University,Tokyo, Waseda University, Tokyo, and University of Kobe.
The Cusat has signed an MoU with the Japanese National University at Kochi, Japan. It may be noted that short-term study implies studying abroad while still enrolled at a university in one's home country.
This would be on the basis of inter-university exchange agreements. JASSO International Student Scholarships for short-term study in Japan are available to qualified foreign students, who are accepted by Japanese universities on the basis of student exchange agreements. The assistance would be for periods from three to 12 months.
Significant points in immigration
The entry procedures are governed by the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Act (‘Immigration-Control Act'). You have to follow the regulations with care. There are several categories of residential status.
Students would be interested in the categories shown below. The permitted activities are given against the names.
Researcher: Research activities based on a contract with a Japanese organisation college student Study at colleges (including junior colleges), special training colleges and colleges of technology.
Pre-college student: Study at high schools, special training schools (excluding post secondary courses) and miscellaneous schools.
Trainee: Learning and acquiring technology, skills or knowledge at public or private organisations.
Temporary visitor: This is required for entering Japan to take an entrance examination.
Students holding the college student residency status are permitted to reside in Japan for either one year or two years.
Those holding the pre-college student status of residence are allowed to stay in Japan for either six months or one year. You can get the term extended if necessary. For entering Japan as a foreign student, you have to secure admission in a higher educational institution, and get a passport as well as a visa.
You may carry sufficient number of copies of you ID photo, essential Japanese currency, and simple medicines you may need to ward off minor ailments that are likely to crop up because of a sudden change in weather.
Though the exchange rate may show that a thousand Indian rupees is nearly two thousand Japanese yen, the buying power in Japan for the equivalent amount of yen is far less. You will have to make the initial alien registration within 90 days of arrival in Japan at a municipal office in your area of residence.
You have to carry the registration card with you at all times. You should also subscribe to the National Health Insurance.
A full-time international student can normally work up to 28 hours per week, after obtaining the prescribed permit for ‘extra-status-of-residence activities'.
However, there may be special restrictions imposed by individual institutions in their interest of maintaining quality in education.
Further information can be obtained either from the Japanese embassy at New Delhi or the consulates at Chennai (Ph: 044-2432-3860), Bangalore (080-4064-9999), Mumbai (022-2351-7101), or Kolkata (0 33-2421-1970).