Yo guys! so here we are with the most demanding post. Apologies for the delay. This post will be long so get yourself a cup of tea and good amount time before reading. Without further ado let’s dive in.

This whole post is based on my personal experiences and opinions. No entity mentioned in this post or the platform it is posted in share the same views and perspective. Additionally, I’m not here to discourage or debate about Japan. If you do not like it just leave no need to fight over an internet post. Peace!

Since the post is long here’s the flow of the post:
  • 1 Japan intro
  • 2 Japanese Culture
  • 3 Language Barrier
  • 4 Student Life
  • 5 University life Year 1 to Year 4
  • 6 University teaching style
  • 7 Costs
  • 8 Prerequisites
  • 9 Scholarships
  • 10 Flow of arrival
  • 11 University Recommendations
  • 12 Part-time Jobs
  • 13 Tips
  • 14 Outro

    1 Japan intro
    Japan is one of the most renowned countries all over the world for its wacky take on life and ofcourse its anime culture as well.  Unfortunately, what is portrayed in anime is much further from how it is really to live in Japan. Necessarily, it doesn’t mean its bad, but it is definitely different. As this is all about student life in Japan; I will solely focus on that aspect here. So here are the pros and cons of studying in Japan
    - Unlike universities in Bangladesh the universities here are your biggest allies and your best friends
    - Education system is easier compared to schools in Bangladesh
    - Very easy to adapt to university life.
    - A lot of discounts and facilities for students all over Japan.
    - Access to many premium student features for free. (Ebsco & Ms Suite)
    - Good resources and support for any issues from the university.
    - The university expects you to be full time students so no consideration for your work life.
    - Too many assignments with absolute deadlines.
    - Many professors have minimal English language proficiency even if you study in English.
    - Most of the documentation and announcements will be in Japanese with no English translation available.
    - Only few people in university management have English skills so anything you do will take time to be processed.

    2 Japanese Culture
    Work Culture (Part-time)
    Japanese work culture is one of the worst out there. They expect you to have 100% dedication and effort all the time. They do not accept mistakes in any cases even if you are over performing 99% of the time. They won’t give you any free time even if there is 0 work to be done. They will make you do the same work for 3 hours even if it needs no changes or improvement. Bottomline, you have to keep doing something no matter what. On the other hand, you will never have to wait for your salary or anything, those are always on time. Furthermore, they will teach you everything from 0 so you do not need any prior experience for any of the jobs you do. Overtime is expected of you if you work in any place, and they are understaffed; denying overtime will negatively affect you later on. Of course, overtime is well paid for.
    Japanese Culture (Behavior)
    Japanese are one of the most morally sound people you will ever meet. You can leave your wallet on the road, and it will stay there for 2-3 days without anyone touching it or reporting it to police. They are honest and their moral compass is on the right place. On the other hand, Japanese are very reserved, and it is really hard to get in their inner circle. Hence, it will be normal if you don’t have many Japanese friend. Times are changing though, and many are much more open minded now. Just don’t take it personally if they act weird in front of foreigners; Japanese are weird afterall.
    Food Culture
    This is the worst part of Japan if you are Muslim and the best part if you are not. Almost 90% of the food they have are laced with pork derivatives. You want to have chewing? It has pork gelatin. You want potato chips? It has pork fat. You want fish sandwich? It has pork fat. Basically, you will have to avoid most food you can find in convenience stores. Always read the ingredient list before you buy anything to eat. They would put pork in water if they could. So, most of the Muslims rely on Halal restaurants when eating outside. Although they are not that common outside Tokyo and Saitama. As for buying groceries you’ll have to rely on vegetables if you don’t find any Halal markets near you. You can also order groceries from online but those will charge more. On the other hand, the products from Halal markets are cheaper compared to Japanese products. You can also find local Bangladeshi spice too but those cost more.
    You can check the products from one of the online sellers here: https://shinjukuhalalfood.com/

    3 Language Barrier
    One of the main problems with foreigners coming to Japan is the language barrier. You should expect 99.99% Japanese folks you meet outside your university to not speak a single word of English. All the official documents, bills, government letters, announcements, everything will be in Japanese. Japanese is a big must here, otherwise you’ll be dead by first week :V

    4 Student Life
    Student life is pretty chill on the side of studying but work and study balance is literally non-existent. Students are allowed to work for 28 hours/week normally and 40 hours/week on spring and winter vacations. You’ll have to work at least 25 hours minimum to afford a decent living standard. Add long university classes and commuting time and you’ll have less than 2 hours to yourself daily on average. So, most students work long hours on weekends and work the rest on weekdays after classes end.

    5 University life Year 1 to Year 4
    Year 1
    This will be the hardest year for new students coming to Japan. Adjusting to the environment and routine is really difficult when you come first to this country. It can be really overwhelming to deal with everything and maintain your own life. Furthermore, learning all the ways to live in Japan and understanding how their system works takes a lot of effort and time.
    Year 2
    By this time, you have the general idea on how everything works and have learnt the basics of living in Japan. You have also acclimated to the country and are comfortable with the day-to-day life here.
    Year 3
    You will have fewer classes and study pressure from this year on if had done your first two year properly. Now is the time to explore and go on long trips and explore Japan.
    Year 4
    If you had studied properly the earlier years you will have maximum of 2 days of classes each week. This is the time where you can truly relax and enjoy Japan in all its glory. You are also almost done with university and will also be looking for permanent jobs or master’s program during this time. This will be the best year in Japan if you had maintained the earlier years.

    6 University teaching style
    Almost all of the university in Japan follow an interactive learning system. Basically, you won’t have exams and test in most of your courses but will instead have to do presentations, reports and group work. Also, class performance is a huge deal in Japanese universities and is of highest priority to many professors. Classes last anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. Classes also follow structures and syllabus without any abrupt changes. Most of the time lectures will last 50% of the class time and the rest of the class will be group discussions and reflection. Universities also follow semester system and not credit based terms. So, you can take maximum number of credits allowed by the university on any semester. Universities also charge for semesters only and not credits. So, it is wise to take as much as you can handle. All in all, it is a very easy way to pass university when compared to teaching system in Bangladesh

    -==From here on the post will focus on technical stuff a bit more.==-

    7 Costs
    House rent: 30,000-70,000 Yen
    Electricity: 5,000-7,000 Yen
    Water/Utilities: 4,000-6000 Yen *Every 2 months
    Gas: 4,000-6000 Yen
    Health Insurance: 900-1500 Yen
    Transportation: 5,000-20,000 Yen *Depending on your work and university location
    Groceries: 8,000-15,000 Yen
    Miscellaneous Expense: 10,000-20,000 Yen *Depends on how you live

    8 Prerequisites
  • IELTS: 5.5-9 *Higher the better for scholarship chances.
  • Japanese level N5 recommended *Most English based universities won’t ask for it, but it will help a lot.
  • Initial: 250,000-350,000 BDT *Covers flight costs and living costs for 1-2 months.
  • Bengali Curriculum: JSC, SSC & HSC
  • English Medium: O-Levels & A-Levels
  • TIN Certificate
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • NID
  • Educational Certificates
  • Documents proving family income
  • Bank Statement proving financial capabilities
  • COE *Given by the university once enrolled and accepted. Used for visa application.
    Note: Check in with the university and Japan embassy beforehand about the document requirements.

    9 Scholarships
    University Based (Tuition Reduction): 25-100% *Most universities have tuition reduction systems if you can maintain GPA.
    University Based (Miscellaneous): Universities have a lot of different scholarships. Check with the university you applied to beforehand
    JASSO: 48,000 Yen/Month *Awarded to students with GPA 2.8 and above. Check official website for other scholarships and information. https://www.jasso.go.jp/en/index.html

    MEXT: Provides monthly grants and supports. Check official website for other scholarships and information. https://www.mext.go.jp/en/index.htm

    10 Flow of arrival
    {September Session} University application and document submission (Feb-March)-->Certificate of Eligibility COE (May-June)-->Visa Application (June-July)-->Flight (August-September)-->Arrival
    {April Session} Same monthly difference as September session. Only application starts at August-September.

    11 University Recommendations
    Check the link here for the list of universities. https://www.jpss.jp/en/univ/english/
    Go through the official website for information regarding university scholarships, application dates, programs and course requirements. You can email the universities regarding any questions you have no matter how small; they will happily help you out.

    12 Part-time Jobs
    Pay rate: 980-1,600 Yen/ Hour
    You can start working on many jobs if you have good Japanese language skills. If not, then you’ll have to work in harder conditions which might be difficult for many, as those are physically demanding. Night shifts usually pay 200-400 Yen/Hour more compared to day shifts.
    Job recommendation (Japanese required)
  • Kombini (Convenience stores)
  • Gap & GU (Apparel Shop)
  • Restaurants (Cooking and Serving)
    Job Recommendation (Japanese not required)
  • Kuro Neko Yamato Transport (Sorting and packaging)
  • Bento Factory (Making of Bento)
  • Uber Eats (Food Delivery)
  • Timee https://timee.co.jp/
  • Greff https://greff.co.jp/

    13 Tips
  • For the bank statement you can just put the money from somewhere else and later remove it after everything’s done. Unethical yes, but who cares.
  • Try to apply for Universities in Tokyo and close to Saitama. Lots of Bengali here and also access to Halal goodies. Finding part-time is also easier in these areas.
  • Google Translate is your friend. Use it to scan and translate documents you can’t read.
  • Build connections with university friends and classmates. It will help a lot.
  • For semester payments use EBL Student account. They are good with these transactions.

    14 Outro
    Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or suggestions, you want added just reply below and I’ll look into it. That’s all folks. Cheers!
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