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What you need to know before going to study… in Japan

Often cited as an example for the excellence of its advanced technology training, Japan welcomes around 300,000 foreign students each year. Practical details, operation and cost of studies… L’Etudiant takes stock of what you need to know.

Best known for its culture mixing centuries-old traditions and high-tech exuberance, its cuisine listed as a UNESCO heritage site and its breathtaking landscapes, thejapan is also the 8th country to welcome the most international students. In France, they are a little more than 1,000 to fly to the archipelago each year (according to figures from Campus France). If, like them, you dream of studying in the Land of the Rising Sun, here is the information you need to know before packing your bags.

A university model close to French

Predominantly academic, Japanese higher education has nearly 800 establishments, public and private. Studies generally last 4 years (6 years for studies in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine), with a bachelor’s degree as the key. It is possible to pursue a master’s degree (+2 years) then a doctorate (+3 years) in Graduate Schools. A model that remains quite close to our operation.

Among the most famous universities: that of Kyoto, closely followed by that of Tokyo, the capital of Japan. Then come the faculties of Tôhoku, Hokkaidô, Nagoya, Osaka, Tsukuba and Akita.

Spread over the entire territory, the few 3,000 special training colleges are constantly gaining ground with students who, in 2 or 4 years, graduate with a professional degree in the pocket in the agricultural, paramedical, social, commercial fields…

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Registration, visa, health… what can you expect?

Do not enter the university who wants! If an agreement with Japan allows graduates to integrate directly to the undergraduate universityregistration is frequently conditional on a entrance exam, called EJU (Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students). The goal? Assess your knowledge of the Japanese language (not imperative if you opt for a course in English), and, possibly, your level in science and math. This test is held twice a year (June and November), only on site.

Particularity of the Japanese university model: the academic year runs between April and March of the following year (with summer and winter breaks). For registration, you usually have until January. Check the Japan study support site for a more precise idea of ​​all the establishments that offer international courses.

Who says studies in Japan, says student visa. But before making the request, you will need to have choose your establishment, whose endorsement is necessary to obtain the precious sesame. An advice, arm yourself with patience because the process often takes 2 or 3 months!

Another thing to think about before you go: Japanese social security registration. It is mandatory. The latter covers 80% of medical costs. No need, therefore, to request an extension to your insurance in France.

Finally, the currency being the yencontact your bank to find out what they can offer you to ease exchange rates.

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Budget: the cost of studies, the main source of expenses

If you are not one of the lucky ones in the exchange program, you will have to pay registration and tuition fees which, in some establishments, can reach heights. Count between 6,900 and 7,800 € for public universitiesand up to €11,300 for vocational training institutes.

Apart from this big item of expenditure, life is a little cheaper in Japan (on average, –12%), especially for housing. To give you an idea of ​​the prices charged, here is a comparative table where the yen is converted into euros (source: the cost of the Expat).

Cost in Paris Cost in Tokyo Percentage difference
Monthly rent for a room in the city center €1,185.96 €1,048.78 – 11.6%
Monthly pass for public transport 75 € 81,81 € +9.1%
Modest restaurant for one person 15 € €6.55 – 56.3%
fast food menu 9 € €5.73 – 36.3%
Water bottle (1.5L) €1.01 €1.05 + 4%
Local draft beer (0.50 L) 7 € 4,09 € – 41.6%
Rice (1 kg) €1.94 5,28 € +172.2%
Potatoes (1 kg) €1.99 €3.10 +55.8%

Only a few scholarships are offered to French students wishing to continue their studies in Japan, and, more often than not, they are reserved for holders of a bac +4, such as the Monbusho scholarship funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education, or a bac +5, like the Lavoisier excellence scholarship in France. Visit the Jasso website to find out more.

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Housing: it’s less expensive with several people!

Accommodation with a host family, shared flats, university residences… If there is no shortage of student accommodation, their prices are not within the reach of all budgets. The most economical solution? Share a dormitory located in a structure dependent on the university, for 350 € per month on average.

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A student job, yes, but…

Student status authorized to work part-time, within the limit of 28 hours per week. For this you will need apply for a work permit at the regional immigration office. Here are some names of specialized sites to help you in your search: expat.com, the site of the CCI in Japan and, the best known, GaijinPotJobs.

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