Choosing to study abroad in Japan could be a great way to learn about the country’s unique culture, push yourself, and make friends with people from all over the world. But beware! Many of the most common myths about studying abroad in Japan aren’t exactly true… Read on to get the information you need to make a good choice.
You need to be able to speak Japanese well.
Some universities in Japan offer courses taught entirely in English, as well as language classes to help international students learn Japanese. At Waseda University in Tokyo, for example, there are seven schools and 12 graduate schools that only offer degrees in English. The university’s Center for Japanese Language is also one of the best and largest places to learn Japanese in the country. This means you can start your studies right away while also improving your Japanese language skills.
Every day, you’ll eat sushi.
Unless you’re *cough* boring, you definitely won’t. Even though sushi is great, easy to find, and usually cheaper than food from other countries, there is so much more to Japanese food. There should be something for everyone, whether they like barbecue, ramen, shabu-shabu, or sweets. And for those special occasions, keep in mind that Tokyo has more than twice as many restaurants with Michelin stars as Paris…
It’s too expensive to study abroad in Japan.
Even at private universities, tuition fees in Japan are usually between US$12,000 and US$18,000 per year. This is a lot less than what countries like the US and UK usually charge for international students. Waseda University says that students in Tokyo spend about $15,000 a year on things like housing, food, utilities, books, cell phones, and other things. And more than half of Waseda’s international students get scholarships right now.
Studying abroad in Japan is also likely to be a good investment. The QS Best Student Cities 2016 list ranks Tokyo as the third best city in the world for international students. This is because Tokyo has a wide range of universities, good job prospects, and a high quality of life. Keihanshin, which includes the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, comes in at number 21.
If you don’t know how to act in Japan, you won’t be accepted.
This is probably one of the most common, but false, myths about foreigners living in Japan. People often think that the rules of behavior in Japan are so complicated that no matter how hard you try, you’re bound to upset someone.
According to the travel site TripAdvisor, Tokyo’s residents are the friendliest and most helpful people in the world, and they are happy to help foreigners. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to learn about local customs and traditions—doing so is part of the fun of traveling—but don’t worry too much if you do something wrong.
You’ll have to give up on getting a good education.
With 39 universities in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017, Japan is one of the best places in the world to study abroad. Waseda University is ranked 201st in the world, and it also does well in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016. Waseda is in the top 50 in the world for modern languages. It is also in the top 100 for sociology, politics, and international studies, and in the top 200 for 18 other subjects, such as business and management, law, economics, mechanical engineering, and chemistry.
If you go to school in Japan as a foreign student, you will feel alone.
Tokyo is the most populated city on the planet, and its global impact is similar to that of London, Paris, and New York City. It is home to professionals and students from all over the world. If you miss your home country or need help with things like visa renewals and work permits, your university in Japan will be there to help. Waseda University has more than 5,000 international students, so you won’t feel like the only one who just moved to the country.
You will see cute robots on your way to a class.
Actually, I should take that back. This one might be true. During your time in Japan, you are likely to see a few robots, either in stores or at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. If you’re interested in a career in robotics, you might be interested to know that Waseda University is known for its research in this field, having made the world’s first bipedal humanoid robot!