A growing number of international students continue to embark on their journey to pursue higher education in Japan. Renowned for the high quality of their education, Japanese universities currently offer around 1000 programs taught entirely in English (around 150 at the undergraduate level and around 850 at the postgraduate level).
The ability to earn a degree without being a native Japanese speaker has made Japan a popular study destination for students drawn to its exotic culture, safety, and, surprisingly, affordable living expenses. Here are the real voices of Tanzanians, Mr. Elias G. Balimponya and Ms. Neema Y. Yona, who are PhD students at Hokkaido University, one of the National Universities of Japan.
Mr. Elias received the MEXT from the Japanese government
Embassy recommendation of scholarships, the application of which will open in April for Tanzanians, administered by the Japanese Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Two years after he arrived in Japan to pursue a doctorate in agriculture, his wife, Ms. Neema, who had been looking for the opportunities for her next academic career, applied for a course and traveled to Japan to pursue a doctorate in agroecosystems. . Their story below would let you realize how much the Tanzanian could expand his world by studying in Japan.
*The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-Japan.
Message from Mr. Elias (E) and Ms. Neema (N)
The reason why I chose Japan for my studies
(E) i) High and advanced technology in research: I wanted to train and do research using high technology in Japan.
ii) Friendly Japanese society: A friend of mine who studied in Japan told me that Japanese people are so friendly, so I considered Japan as a good place to stay for about 4 years of my PhD course.
iii) Rice production: Japan has more than 100% sufficient rice production. Since my area of interest was rice breeding, I thought I would get more knowledge in the field from a country that has passed a sufficient level of rice production. Researching my university was a bit of an interesting journey.
I looked for a lab that had the best rice breeding activities in Japan and found Hokkaido University. I sent the e-mail to the professors of the plant breeding laboratory, but I received no response.
I checked their website again and found students in this lab and luckily I had students who had Facebook accounts.
Elias Balimponya is pursuing a PhD at Hokkaido University, Japan.
(N) Most Japanese universities offer free Japanese lessons to their registered students. I became interested in Japanese for communication once I introduced myself and enrolled in Hokkaido University.
Then I took Japanese lessons on campus, which helped me a lot to be able to communicate with Japanese people inside and outside the campus. Before coming to Japan, you can take an introductory Japanese language course just to gain awareness and little communication of some common words like greetings in some institutions or universities in Tanzania. You can also learn through online courses which are provided for free.
* Several recommendations for learning Japanese online are presented here. www.studyinja-pan-africa.com/learn-japanese/
(E) The Japanese language is mainly required in the off-campus environment and therefore living well in Japan would require at least a basic understanding of Japanese. Within the campus, Japanese is of little importance as postgraduate courses are taught in English.
One of the memories that I never forget is the loss of 200,000 yen (almost TZS 4 million), which was a 2-child allowance for families who had been affected by COV-ID-19. In order to get this money, you had to apply by filling out a certain form.
The notification in Japanese arrived in my mailbox, however, I didn’t notice it and ended up losing the allowance. So it would be better NOT to ignore the Japanese language.
Job opportunities while studying in Japan
(N) I have a part time job in one of the food processing companies. Most students in Japan hold part-time jobs while studying at universities.
Thus, it is possible to support yourself or pay tuition for these self-funded students while continuing their studies. It is enough for him to balance the time to ensure that enough time is devoted to studies as a main objective and to part-time jobs as an accessory.
The other important thing is to get a permit from Japanese immigration allowing you to do other activities that you were not allowed to do when you entered Japan. Working without a permit would result in expulsion without any chance of reasoning.
(E) I worked as a sorter in a transport company assigning parcels to their designations and in the food processing plant, producing food for one of the famous convenience stores. I also got a temporary job as an English teacher for a few weekends at local high schools. Part-time jobs are available but this should not interfere with the student’s research/academic activities and so I have been forced to find part-time jobs that are done on weekends.
Elias and Neema do their best to provide information about studying in Japan.
What’s good about Japan?
(E) I had the image that going as a family as a student was difficult in Japan. But fortunately, Japan has a kindergarten system where all children from 48 days must attend and be taken care of so that their parents can continue working or studying.
The Japanese government has a financial support system for children under 18, which covers all families, including foreigners. Therefore, in my second year, I decided to have my family with me in Japan.
(N) Before coming to Japan, I thought Japanese people might not be cooperative with foreigners or international students. After arriving here, however, I realized that Japanese people are very nice people to everyone and so cooperative even with foreigners. I stay with my family about 10 kilometers from campus in a typical Japanese society, where you never feel alone and where you have fun.
Dear fellow Tanzanians
(N) I would like to encourage my fellow Tanzanians who wish to study abroad to choose Japan. Because the academic environment in Japan is wonderful with supportive supervisors and well-equipped labs with modified devices and machines. Choosing Japan would ensure that you complete your studies on time.
You can see vivid examples of our former scholars graduating from Hokkaido University. There are opportunities to obtain a scholarship before and after your arrival in Japan through the Japanese Embassy in Tanzania, universities and private donors in Japan respectively. The Japanese are so friendly to everyone, including foreigners, that Tanzanian youth will have a good learning environment.
(E) I am in my second year of a doctorate but I feel like I have enough to do something in my society. I encourage you to enjoy studying in Japan. It is a country that offers education but also opportunities to practice what you have learned or researched. For those under 35, there are many scholarships, including MEXT, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), and inter-university cooperations.
For those over 35; there are many scholarships offered by different universities, organizations and institutions in Japan.
The main challenges that the 35+ must overcome are having an admission letter from a university and preparing transportation costs and payments for at least the first semester tuition. It is easier to get a scholarship for the rest of the apprenticeship period. It is also very important to communicate with the future professor of a Japanese university for any scholarship opportunity before joining the university.
We recently launched “The Association of Tanzanian Students in Japan -TSJ”, I invite you to visit our social account pages, especially Facebook (www.facebook.com/TzStudentsinJapan) and ask as many questions as you may have . Overall, studying in Japan is much better!
Japanese Government MEXT Scholarship Embassy Recommendation Information
Through the Japanese Embassy in Tanzania, Tanzanians may have the opportunity to apply for the fully sponsored government scholarship.
The application window opens once a year at the end of April. Visit the website of the Embassy of Japan in Tanzania (www.tz.emb-japan.go.jp) and check its eligibility.
End of May: Deadline for submitting applications
Beginning of June: preliminary pre-selection of pre-selected students
Mid-June: written exam and oral interviews at the Embassy
Note: The sister scholarship of this one is the recommendation of the Japanese Government MEXT Scholarship University. The selection process within this framework is conducted 100% by the universities. Prospective students must therefore respect the admission procedures of the respective universities.
Japanese university search
For help in identifying different study options in Japan, MEXT contracted the regional office of the Study in Japan Global Network Project in Sub-Saharan Africa to provide essential information such as which universities to apply for.
This office has a data portal that allows users to search for their ideal program based on the major and degree they want to study. Visit our University Research Data Portal: stud-yinjapan-africa-portal.com
The Study in Japan online fair will be held on February 26, 2022
Study in Japan The Sub-Saharan Africa Global Network Project Regional Office is pleased to announce that the online Study in Japan Fair “JPN Opportunities: Graduate Studies in Japan for Africa Feb. 2022” will be held soon. If you plan to go abroad for your higher education, all you have to do is register and meet directly with university staff in Japan on the same day. We are doing our best to make this Saturday memorable for your future career.