Daily Life & Schools

Daily Life & Schools
Ways to Study Abroad in Japan
January 19, 2024  |  By Nathan Reinholz

When people think of the term “study abroad,” what usually comes to mind is coming on a program sponsored by your current school. 

Especially if you have graduated from high school and have already finished university or are not enrolled, you may think that your opportunities to study abroad are behind you. 

Although sponsored programs are certainly one of the easier ways to do a study abroad program, there are many other ways to come to Japan as a student!

Exchange programs

This will be the easiest way to study if you’re already a student; many schools will partner with schools in Japan or could find suitable schools. The advantage is that everything will be taken care of for you. 

The school will handle the paperwork, housing, and setting you up. Going this route will also likely get credits for your home school. If you are interested in this, contact your school’s study abroad office or general affairs office if they don’t have a specialized one.

Language Schools

The easiest way to study in Japan is to join a language school, such as one arranged through GaijinPot Study. You’ll be eligible for a student visa if you study for at least six months, giving you full residency benefits. You can also study for a shorter duration through a visa waiver, assuming you are from a country that benefits from it, or you could apply for a tourist visa if you aren’t.

You will only study Japanese in a fast-paced environment at a language school, so your level will rise quickly. You can study for up to two years, and afterward, you can continue living in Japan by changing to a different type of visa or furthering your studies at a higher education level.

There are few restrictions to getting a student visa via the language school route. You’ll want 2.5 million yen in bank savings and annual income, but you can also use a family member as a sponsor if you don’t have the money. As long as you can clear that hurdle, you can easily study abroad in Japan, no matter your age or academic history.

Higher Education Programs in Japanese

If you have already studied Japanese in the past and have an N2 level, you can apply to universities or trade schools in your home country. Usually, international students have to take an entrance exam of sorts, but it will be much easier than the one for Japanese students. The EJU is what most students take, and some parts of it are offered in English. 

Be aware that if you have already taken some university courses, it is highly unlikely that they will transfer over to Japan; you’ll have to start from the beginning.

If you’re concerned about your Japanese level, some degree programs are offered partially or fully in English. In that case, you can apply to the university and complete everything in English! The downside of taking an English program is that the teachers are usually Japanese natives speaking in English, and the quality can vary widely. Your Japanese level will not improve in school, which may impact your options for staying here after graduation.

Suppose you’re interested in higher education here. In that case, JASSO’s school search website will be invaluable, as you can filter schools by degree program and level of Japanese needed, along with searching for potential scholarships. Once you find a suitable school, you can simply email their admissions office to get more information on how to enroll.

No matter how old you are or your current situation, there’s always a way to study abroad! Don’t let the opportunity pass you by, and feel free to contact GaijinPot Study if you have any questions.

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