North Bay, Ontario ー Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog where I will be sharing updates throughout my time in Japan as an undergraduate student. After spending a year in Japan in high school as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, I had been searching for a way to get back to continue exploring this amazing country.
The Monbukagakusho (or MEXT) Scholarship is offered by the Japanese government in many countries around the world. As of April, I will be a recipient of the undergraduate scholarship; however, there are also scholarships for research and Japanese studies students. The scholarship includes round-trip airfare, academic fees, and a generous monthly living stipend and is valued at over $100,000 (USD).
In June 2016, I submitted my written application to the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto. This was the first step in the lengthy application process and sought to identify the applicants’ desires to study in Japan. After waiting anxiously for a few weeks, I received an e-mail from the consulate inviting me to sit the examinations and interview. I had passed the first step!
As a humanities/social sciences student, I had to write three exams: English, Japanese, and math. I searched the internet for tips and exam papers from previous years and was able to scrape together enough information to direct my studies. The English and Japanese exams went well, but, unfortunately, math was a bit of a disaster. Due to the broad-ranging curriculum, it was difficult to predict the types of questions that would be on the exam, and I ended up leaving a few questions completely blank. Nonetheless, I had to pull myself together for the interview that followed. I was interviewed by two women from the consulate who asked questions about my motivations for studying in Japan, my past experience there, and how I would adjust to living in new surroundings. I left the interview feeling content that I had articulated my intentions and experiences as best I could.
A few weeks later, I was notified by the consulate that they had forwarded my application on to the Embassy of Japan in Canada which would then recommend me to the Japanese government for the scholarship. Phase 2, complete. In the meantime, I had begun taking courses at the University of Ottawa.
On November 25, I received an e-mail saying that I had passed the final round and had been accepted to the program! Although it was difficult leaving Ottawa after only one semester, I knew that going to Japan was the right choice. By January, I received my university placement, Osaka University (more on that to come). Finally, in March, I completed the required placement tests and composition samples and went to the Japanese consulate for an orientation before my departure.
This coming April, I will take intensive Japanese language courses at the Osaka University Center for Japanese Language and Culture before enrolling in a four-year law program at another university in Japan.
I will be leaving on April 2nd, and although I haven’t started packing, I am ready to start a new adventure. I’m looking forward to reuniting with my friends from high school and getting to see my host families again. But, more than that, I am excited to study alongside people from all over the world and explore Japan as much as I can over the next 5 years.
For more information on the MEXT Scholarship, please visit The Consulate General of Japan in Toronto website.