In recent years, Japan has been making real efforts to attract more international students to the country. The government’s 300,000 foreign student plan is aimed at bringing in at least that many students by the year 2020. As such, there are plenty of incentives to study there. We look at some of the best reasons to consider Japan for your higher education...
Experience a world-class education system
Japan has a long history of pushing the boundaries of science and technology. It has some of the highest numbers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates, as well as some of the world’s best institutes in this field. Japan is home to 9 of the top 200 universities in the world, with the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology being among the best. Kyoto University in particular has produced a number of Nobel Laureates, including Dr Tasuku Honjo in 2018.
It’s clear that the higher education system has an excellent reputation. But it’s not just post-secondary environments that are highly respected. Japan’s school structure promotes togetherness, teamwork, respect, and hard work throughout a student’s life. This lays the foundations for an incredibly successful university system.
Japan wants you
The Japanese government recognises the importance of internationalisation. By 2020, they want to 10% of the country’s student population to be from foreign countries. To achieve this goal, there are many incentives to help you get there, including a variety of scholarships.
You can expect to receive a lot of attention and support throughout your study. Japan has created an environment where overseas students can come and thrive. Tuition fees also generally tend to be lower than the UK and US, and there are a number of government schemes to reduce those costs.
Learn a new language
With more and more programmes in Japan being offered in English, being able to speak Japanese isn’t necessarily essential. However, studying there does present a unique opportunity to learn the language. Even if you’ve taken Japanese before, nothing can compare to the immersion of spending time there. It’s the perfect chance to get fluent in a highly valuable language.
Japan has one of the largest economies in the world. Many businesses there recruit internationals graduates who can speak Japanese. If you can reach Level 2 in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), you have huge potential to stay and work there.
Get funding for your studies
In an effort to attract the top talent from around the world, Japan offers a variety of funding options for international students. Although living costs are comparatively high compared to many countries in Asia, tuition fees are quite a lot lower than in the US and UK. You can expect to pay roughly ¥500,000 to ¥1,000,000 per year. Although that sounds like a lot, it works out at around $ 4,400 - $8750 or £3350 - £6700.
Additionally, according to some research, half of the international students studying in Japan receive some form of scholarship. There is a variety of government-funded, private, and university scholarships on offer, which can significantly reduce the cost of your tuition fees. It’s also possible to work up to 28 hours per week when you study. In doing so, you’ll get to see a different side to Japan, work on your language skills, and build relationships with local people.
Explore a unique culture
Although Japan is often portrayed as a country of robotics and neon lights, there’s far more to it than many people expect. Tokyo is, of course, a vast megacity full of excitement, technology, and all things weird and wonderful. Osaka was also voted one of the most liveable cities in the world. In fact, across Japan’s many regions and islands, you can find an array of different climates, environments and cultures.
There are ancient temples and castles to be explored, lush rainforests to trek through, and pristine beaches to relax on. The food is fantastic, the alcohol is plentiful, and the local people are often more than willing to welcome you to enjoy both.
Japan has one of the most distinct cultures in the world, and many people are familiar with aspects. But it’s only when you visit this beautiful country that you can fully appreciate the historical and social elements that make it so unique.
This article was written with the help of the International Admissions Office of Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan. For questions about Ritsumeikan University’s degrees, email firstname.lastname@example.org