What You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad in Japan

Japan is one of the most popular destinations that modern students choose as they aim for a Bachelor’s, Master or even a special Doctorate program. An important advantage of such a choice is the ability to study in English and practice basic Japanese language studies to improve your skills. Contrary to popular belief, studying abroad in Japan, fields like technology and engineering in Japan is not the only subject to consider since there are many business and humanitarian courses as well.

While choosing a suitable course is always important, future students must remember that there are many things like getting a student visa and booking student housing that won’t break the bank and will be close enough to a school of choice. Remember that the majority of schools in Japan will help you with your challenges as long as you get in touch in advance and explain your situation. Although every situation is different, there are still some things that you have to know before deciding to study in Japan.


What You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad in Japan

– Fluent Japanese Myth

Not many students know the fact, yet many universities in Japan are offering majors where the instruction is only in English along with all the study materials. For example, we have the famous Waseda University that follows all the country’s traditional norms, yet provides over fifteen courses where English is the only language. The truth is, you will only have to deal with the Japanese language when you are booking housing or looking for transportation options, which is why turning to your university for choice must be considered as well. When you are an exchange student majoring in a course that is done in English, you can also ask some other questions without feeling left behind! Japanese actually love people who ask questions and strive for clarity with due respect!

– Most Courses Are More Affordable Than the US Offerings

Depending on the university of choice, you will encounter prices that are much lower in comparison to the United States. Some Engineering or Data Science courses will be around $17,000 per year, which is affordable if we take a quick look at the European or American prices. Looking at the aforementioned Waseda University website, the amount an average student spends per year of studies and the other costs like phone, utilities, and housing is around $15,000. And don’t forget that we are talking about Tokyo! Still, you might encounter other costs like when you are paying for essay if your time is running out and you need urgent writing assistance. Such costs, however, won’t break the bank either if you ask for help early, thus saving some funds! 

– Consider Student Insurance

Always discuss this matter with your university as you are submitting your application. In addition to that, you will have to offer a personal statement with the official academic transcript from your high school or college. The graduation certificate (in original form) must be present as well, along with the valid and current standard test scores (it will differ, depending on each school). The majority of Japanese schools will also ask you for at least two recommendation letters and a photocopy of your identification documents. Speaking of insurance, it will depend on your student visa and the situation. Insurance will cover 70% of your health-related expenses, while your school may cover the rest. Make sure to discuss the options before you apply!

Applying Early is Everything

Once you find a school that suits you well, remember that Japanese schools ask you to apply at least six months early! It’s necessary to ensure that there are no delays with your student visa. Sometimes it takes time to check all the information and process data between schools. If you run into some trouble, your Japanese school should be able to help you, so do not be afraid to ask for help! The same relates to student housing and things like work permit processing. The latter is usually given at the airport as you arrive in the country based on a student visa. When you are abroad in Japan, it is only natural to go through the stage of culture shock, so be sure to keep your mind open and remember that good timing and preliminary exploring are everything! 

– Join Local Student Clubs 

You won’t feel lonely as an exchange student in Japan if you join the local clubs and explore the country’s culture. The locals are usually very friendly when they see international students or foreigners that are eager to learn. At the same time, many people will keep their distance until they get to know you better, so make sure to respect their privacy. It does not mean that you will encounter cold stares and ignorance – if you ask for help and remain polite, most locals will help you out! 

Studying The Cultural Points is Always Essential! 

Applying for your studies in Japan, you should take time to explore the country’s traditions and learn what things to avoid and how to communicate with college professors and even fellow Japanese students that you may encounter. This aspect is often ignored by the majority of exchange students as they learn things the hard way. Do not be like one of them but take your time to learn more about Japanese etiquette and always show respect for the elderly and the academic hierarchy. Some things will naturally surprise you as this Eastern country is not the same as the culture in the West, yet it is exactly what makes studying in Japan so special as we are learning so much! 



Olivia Evans is an avid explorer who loves to travel the world and discover helpful ideas for learners all over the world. As an educator and technology specialist, she strives for innovative learning methods and cultural exchange. Follow Olivia to take your skills to another level and make your creative skills unfold. 


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